Joe Mixon will likely get more carries in the playoffs than Akers, as the Rams’ defense puts pressure on running backs. The Bengals’ offense will also be looking to establish the run more often. While Akers averages about 20 yards per game in the regular season, he’ll likely get far less work in the postseason. It’s possible that Akers doesn’t get enough touches to get to 20 yards per game against the Bengals’ defense, which could hurt his production.
Mixon’s inefficiency could be due to inconsistent run-blocking by the Bengals. While he can shoulder a significant amount of workload, he can’t hit the rushing yards line consistently. Fortunately, this run-blocking has improved dramatically since the bye week. Mixon has run for at least 14 yards six times in the last 10 games, including a season-high 23 carries against the Chiefs.
In 2019, Mixon was the Bengals’ second-round pick in 2017. He started six games and rushed for 428 yards on 119 carries. He also caught 21 passes for 138 yards. He became the fifth Bengals player to reach the 1,000-yard mark in 2019. The Bengals’ runback is likely to lead them to a Super Bowl victory this year. A strong second half of the season paved the way for Mixon to reach a record-breaking 1,205 yards in his rookie year.
After a disappointing season with the Sooners, Mixon forewent his final two years of college eligibility to enter the 2017 NFL draft. He was chosen by the Bengals in the second round, ahead of Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, James Conner, and Aaron Jones. He is a top RB and is expected to be back in the RB1 conversation by 2022.
Mixon should be able find many opportunities to run the ball against the Rams and score points. The Rams pass defense has been a major concern, but it has been improving this season. The Rams have allowed just 162 rushing yards per game in three playoff games and averaged 3.4 yards per carry. Mixon’s fantasy playoff rushing goals will be very close if Mixon’s run defense is weak.
Mixon’s rushing yards per games have remained high, but his cumulative yardage during the regular season is below the top-ranked run defense of the NFL. Mixon rushed 21 times for 114 yards in the AFC playoffs against the Chiefs. While Mixon isn’t expected to be at his apex in the postseason, his ability to break out big chunk plays will be important. A stout offensive line against a defense with a bad rushing defense will allow Mixon to run for more than 100 yards and put the Rams’ pass rush on its heels.