In 2022, rookie Kenneth Walker had a slow start to the season. It wasn’t really his fault, as he was second-string behind Rashaad Penny. It wasn’t until Week 6 that he really took the forefront, took the league by storm, and never looked back. He turned in three 100-yard games in a four-week span and had 6 rushing TD.
A year later, Walker has had a decent start to the season, but it’s been nothing spectacular. Yet. He’s got a healthy amount of touchdowns (5 already) and a good average with over 5 yards per carry in three games.
But the total yardage has been low, and he’s not truly taken over a game yet.
That may be about to change this week. The Seattle Seahawks have maintained their identity, even though it took a minute to find their stride minus two starting tackles. A dynamic run game and a pass attack that consistently targets six or more receivers is quite sustainable. Walker and Zach Charbonnet are a stellar pairing, whether they alternate drives or use Walker as the feature back.
A returned Charles Cross would do wonders for what has still been a top-half of the NFL run game. Additionally, the Cincinnati Bengals are bad against the run.
Like, really bad.
I think people are overhyping how “not close” their game was against the Arizona Cardinals. James Connor had 7.7 YPC and was absolutely gashing the Bengals before exiting with an injury when it was a 3-point game.
Further evaluation reveals that Ken Walker is very much on his game to open the season, and is as hard to tackle as ever.
2023 RB Leaders by Missed Tackles Forced per Touch— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) October 10, 2023
1. De'Von Achane (0.57)
2. Jaylen Warren (0.51)
3. Khalil Herbert (0.41)
4. Bijan Robinson (0.41)
5. Kenneth Walker (0.40)
36. Dalvin Cook (0.16)
37. Tony Pollard (0.13)
Last / 38. Ezekiel Elliott (0.09)
I think this is going to be a higher scoring game. I think it’s going to remain close enough, or Seattle maintaining a small lead, that they won’t have to go extreme pass-happy.
The stage is set for Walker to have his first monster game of the season. It’s as good a chance as any this year for him to get 20 carries, but even if he’s around his 17-mark usual, expect a YPC average of well over 5.0 to get him over 100 yards.