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David Johnson total rushing yards and rushing touchdowns during 2017-18 NFL regular season

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Many experts think David Johnson hit his ceiling last year while others think the third-year pro can put up even better numbers in 2017. Depending on who you trust will have you leaning one way or the other on these prop bets. It wasn’t the season the Arizona Cardinals were expecting in 2016, but Johnson emerged as one of the best backs in the league with over 1,200 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns.

David Johnson total rushing yards during 2017-18 NFL regular season

Over 1,250 ( +100 )

Under 1,250 ( -130 )

David Johnson total rushing touchdowns during 2017-18 NFL regular season

Over 15 ( -110 )

Under 15 ( -120 )

Johnson took over in the Cardinals backfield last season and had one of the most productive campaigns in NFL history. He ran for 1,239 yards and placed second behind LaGarrette Blount with 16 rushing scores. He totaled 20 touchdowns for the year and amassed 2,118 yards from scrimmage. His work was needed for an offense that stumbled off its pace from the 2015 season.

The Cards led the NFL in total offense with over 408 yards per game and they were the second highest scoring team in 2015. Carson Palmer wasn’t as efficient in the passing game last season and as a whole the offense dropped to 366.8 yards per contest. It could’ve been worse if not for Johnson. Bruce Arians wants Johnson to touch the ball 30 times a game this year, but many of those will be in the passing game, which will limit his rushing yard total.

Key Factor

The Cards had to patch an offensive line together after injuries took a toll on the group. That was partly responsible for the dip in yardage. The line is solid if the starters remain healthy and that will open up the passing game once again. The Cards would like numbers similar to what we saw in 2015 when they averaged nearly 290 yards per game through the air.

Johnson is young and recovered from the injury sustained at the end of last season. He’s also an every down back with his ability to catch the football. And there lies another problem with him reaching the 1,250 mark in rushing yards. He just won’t get enough attempts to pile up the yardage. Johnson was targeted 120 times on pass attempts, by far the most of any back in the league, outdistancing Le’Veon Bell by 26

Johnson converted 80 of those targets into receptions to rank 20th in the NFL. He amassed 879 yards and four scores through the air, putting him up there with Bell as the most versatile back. He piled up his rushing yards without much help from the passing game last season. Palmer is looking for a rebound year with his clock ticking and success through the air could benefit the ground attack.

NFL Free Picks

Johnson is the man in the backfield now that the Cards let the other Johnson – Chris – walk this offseason. It was in injury to Chris in 2015 that opened the door for David and he walked right through it and hasn’t looked back.

A disappointing 2016 season for the Cards nearly turned disastrous when Johnson was carted off the field with a knee injury in the season finale. The injury looked more serious than it turned out to be. Johnson suffered a sprained ligament and didn’t require surgery during the offseason. He’s back and according to Palmer he can improve on his numbers from 2016.

That’s not a bad endorsement from the starting quarterback. But for Johnson to improve on his rushing yard total and surpass the 1,250 barrier, he will have to average more yards per carry. He ran the ball nearly 300 times but gained just 4.2 yards per attempt. He also failed to break off the big play with only six carries that went for 20 or more yards. It’s likely Johnson could top the 1,250 mark in rushing yards with Arians feeding him the ball 30 times a game. However, a good amount of those will come through the air.

Johnson is a bull in the red zone and he’ll get his chances to score. But duplicating his effort from last season when he scored 16 times on the ground will be difficult. The Cards should be better equipped offensively to pile up the yards and Johnson will get past 1,250 if he remains healthy. But 16 scores on the ground is a lot to ask.

NFL Prediction: David Johnson OVER 1,250 rushing yards
NFL Prediction: David Johnson UNDER 15 rushing touchdowns

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