NFL | NCAA Football

NFL Super Bowl XLV Preview: The Running Backs

Rashard Mendenhall ran for 1,273 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular seasonThe best online sportsbook makers know that a good running game is one of the keys to winning the Super Bowl. During this round of Super Bowl 45 betting, the running backs are playing a pivotal role in the many NFL predictions that are coming out. Let’s take a look at the sportsbook promo coverage of the running backs that should play a big part in the outcome of this years NFL championship game.

James Starks – Green Bay Packers
As the Green Bay Packers prepared to play the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round of this year’s playoffs, rookie running back James Starks was not even part of the main game plan. Ryan Grant was supposed to be the feature back for the Packers this season, but he got hurt early in game one and was out for the season. Brandon Jackson was the workhorse for the season, but after 13 starts Jackson had amassed only 703 rushing yards. The running game looked to be non-existent for the Packers.

By the time the Eagles game was over, the Packers began to wonder how they ever lived without rookie running back James Starks. Against the Eagles, Starks ran for 123 yards, which was more than he had all season. He now has 263 rushing yards in the playoffs and a touchdown. His ability to spread out an offense will be critical in trying to contain the hard-hitting Steelers linebackers.

Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers try to use all three of their running backs in their offense, but when they really need to move the ball they give it to Mendenhall. Rashard Mendenhall ran for 1,273 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season. He is fast and powerful, and he has an ability to get to the hole quickly. The only knock against Mendenhall is that he lost two fumbles during the regular season and he has lost on so far in the playoffs. But the Steelers learn to forgive Mendenhall and they keep giving him the ball.

Because of his speed, Mendenhall is also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. Against the Jets, Mendenhall caught two passes for a total of 32 receiving yards. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger does not throw the ball to Mendenhall often, but when he does Mendenhall is usually good for 10 or more yards each time. That is why Mendenhall is such a valuable decoy out of the backfield on short passing plays, and that is just one more thing that makes Rashard Mendenhall an important part of the Steelers offense.

Mewelde Moore – Pittsburgh Steelers
It is so easy to forget that Mewelde Moore plays for the Steelers because he rarely gets the ball. Moore is brought in more as a blocker and pass receiver than anything else. He had 99 rushing yards in the 2010 regular season, but he also had 26 receptions for 205 yards as well. Moore gets critical first downs for the Steelers. He won’t get all of the glory that Mendenhall or running back Isaac Redman may get for rushing yards and touchdowns, but Moore keeps critical drives alive and that will be important in Super Bowl XLV.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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