Browns' Running Backs Set to Feast Again in Week 7

No Nick Chubb? No problem.

Cleveland Browns running backs Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford are set up to feast again with the Indianapolis Colts on tap in Week 7.
Cleveland Browns running backs Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford are set up to feast again with the Indianapolis Colts on tap in Week 7. / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns earned a hard-fought win in Week 6 over the San Francisco 49ers. While the backfield's been quieter since Nick Chubb went down, it woke up in a huge way this past Sunday to help carry the Browns to victory.

It was a welcomed sight as Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt both made an impact on the contest, especially with backup P.J. Walker starting.

Don't look for the duo's production to slow down in Week 7, either, with the Indianapolis Colts on tap.

The Colts' defense has been below average to begin the 2023 season. Over their first six games, they rank No. 17 in defensive DVOA and have given up the seventh-most yards per game to opponents. Their run defense is nothing more than average, allowing a healthy 113.5 YPG (No. 14).

That doesn't even cover recent performances and developments, either. In Week 4, this defense was carved up by Los Angeles Rams running back Kyren Williams, who popped off for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns.

In Week 5 they did hold Derrick Henry to just 43 yards, but the longtime divisional familiarity with the star rusher certainly helped them. Then this past Sunday, Travis Etienne racked up another 2 rushing TDs for the Jacksonville Jaguars against this same unit, while they also allowed old Browns friend D'Ernest Johnson to take his only carry of the game for 19 yards.

It's clear that Indianapolis struggles to contain dynamic playmakers out of the backfield, which is great news for Ford and Hunt. The former has home run potential on any attempt he takes, as evidenced by the 69-yard scamper he had when filling in for Chubb in Week 2. Ford's also coming off of a great showing against a stout 49ers defense where he averaged a very solid 4.9 yards per carry and totaled 84 yards on the ground.

Following two duds to begin his return, Hunt finally broke out against San Francisco last week. He more than stepped up with Cleveland missing Deshaun Watson, as his 16-yard touchdown run was the team's only touchdown of the day. His serious nose for the end zone (24 touchdowns over 52 appearances with the Browns) is a major asset, especially against a Colts defense that's given up plenty of rushing scores lately.

Kevin Stefanski's RB room appears to be in even better position after Tuesday's news that Indianapolis defensive tackle Grover Stewart will be suspended for the next six games due to a violation of the league's PED policy. He's been one of the lone bright spots when it comes to the Colts' run-stopping abilities.

Losing any starter on your D-line hurts, especially when it's your best pure run defender. His absence will create a major hole on the interior, and Cleveland's front five may enjoy even more success opening up running lanes for its running backs.

The stars are truly aligning for a huge outing from Ford and Hunt. Hopefully they're able to take advantage of it and carry the Browns to another win.

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