Steven Jackson planning to play Week 8

Steven Jackson planning to return to action this week

10/23/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Part of what had the NFL community buzzing about the Atlanta Falcons at the beginning of the 2013 season was the addition of three-time Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson. With a Pro Bowl quarterback and a plethora of receiving weapons, Jackson seemed like the final puzzle piece to create arguably the best collection of skill position players in the NFL. Jackson, however, has fallen into the stereotype of a typical 30-year-old running back - he injured his hamstring in Week 2 and has been sidelined ever since.

Blog Photo - Steven Jackson planning to play Week 8This week, however, the veteran bruiser says he expects to take the field for his struggling team. Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter tweeted Wednesday that Jackson "plans on playing Sunday" against the Arizona Cardinals. There have not been any overly optimistic reports regarding Jackson since he suffered his injury, so you can probably trust Jackson's expectations here.

Jackson will step back into the lead back role as the primary between-the-tackles runner. He got only 14 carries before injuring himself in his second game of the season, but he was effective with those totes, racking up 77 yards (5.5 yards per carry). Jacquizz Rodgers will continue to factor into the backfield as the passing-down back, giving him some value in deeper PPR leagues. Rodgers may also sustain a bigger role in Week 8, as Jackson may be eased into the lead back role.

The Falcons have completely failed to run the ball effectively without Jackson. They had 36 rushing yards in the game during which Jackson suffered his injury, and they have topped 64 yards on the ground just one time in four games since Jackson last played. Part of those low numbers are due to the Falcons ranking 32nd in rushing attempts, but they still average only 3.6 yards per carry - 25th in the league.

Jackson should provide a boost to the Falcons' ground attack and give the offense some much needed balance, but it will probably be too little too late. The Falcons are already three games behind the New Orleans Saints for the lead in the NFC South, and their offensive line and receiving core have both been decimated by injuries. Jackson may not help lead the Falcons to the playoffs, but he should be able to help those of you who drafted him in fantasy leagues.
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