5 bold predictions for Packers, the NFC North in 2019
3. Lions’ Kerryon Johnson will lead the division in rushing
Kerryon Johnson quietly had an impressive rookie season for the Detroit Lions, and this could be his breakout year. It was clear quite early on that Johnson was the Lions’ best running back, but the team continued to split carries between Johnson and LeGarrette Blount.
Let’s look at a couple of examples. In a Week 3 win against the Patriots, both Johnson and Blount had 16 carries each, but Johnson rushed for 101 yards compared to 48 for Blount. A week later in a two-point loss to the Cowboys, Johnson had nine carries for 55 yards and a touchdown compared to Blount’s seven carries for 12 yards.
But still, the Lions continued to split the carries until later in the season.
Johnson missed six games due to injury, but in 10 games with seven starts, he rushed for 641 yards and three touchdowns. His 5.4 yards per carry was good for second in the NFL behind only the Packers’ Aaron Jones. Johnson also contributed as a receiver with 32 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown.
If Johnson stays healthy in 2019, he should have no trouble rushing for over 1,000 yards. If the Lions don’t make the same mistake as last year by rotating the carries, Johnson can lead the NFC North in rushing.