Patriots have been very 'giving' to receiving running backs this season - The Buffalo News

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Patriots have been very 'giving' to receiving running backs this season

Last week, the Bills went into their game against the Chiefs facing a defense that was one of the stingiest in the league in terms of receiving production from opposing running backs.

On average, opposing ball-carries were catching 3.8 passes for 23.5 yards per game against Kansas City.

Buffalo's duo of LeSean McCoy and Travaris Cadet amassed 51 receiving yards on seven catches, which came on seven targets. In essence, the Bills' running backs were twice as productive as receivers against the Chiefs than the average.

McCoy and Cadet face a much more enticing matchup against New England.

The Patriots have allowed 63 receptions to running backs heading into Week 13, which is tied for the 10th-highest in football. Beyond that, the 584 receiving yards they've surrendered to running backs is the second-most in the NFL behind the 49ers, and the four touchdowns they've given up are tied for the second-most as well.

The Bills love throwing to their running backs, as 20.8 percent of the team's receiving yardage, 26.2 percent of the team's targets, and 34.2 percent of the team's receptions have come from running backs or full backs.

McCoy leads Buffalo with 46 catches. He's second in targets (57) and receiving yards (295). His 57 targets are the ninth-most among all running backs and his 46 grabs are the seventh-most. His receiving yardage is the 11th-most in football.

In his first two games with the Bills, Travaris Cadet has asserted himself as a reliable pass-catching option. He's caught all nine of his targets for 60 yards.

Together, McCoy and Cadet (who has a small sample size) have combined for 8.7 catches and 56.8 yards per game during the 2017 season.

New England has allowed 5.7 catches and 53.0 receiving yards to opposing running backs so far this year.

The Bills have an opportunity to exploit the Patriots defense by frequently throwing to McCoy and Cadet on Sunday.

(Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.)

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