On Tuesday, NFL owners announced that a 17th regular-season game is being added for the 2021 season for all teams and going forward. That could shake up a lot of regular-season records across the league … which leads us to two-time NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry of the Titans. He joined the 2,000-yard club in 2020 and with that additional game has a realistic shot of becoming the first player with two 2,000-yard seasons or even to break Eric Dickerson's single-season record. SportsLine offers NFL odds on Henry.
Henry won the 2019 rushing title with 1,540 yards; the former Heisman Trophy winner did that in 15 games, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He was even better last year in rushing for 2,027 yards on 378 carries in 16 games, an average of 5.4 yards per carry and 126.7 yards per game.
Through 13 games last season, Henry had 1,532 yards and was given odds of +250 to reach 2,000 with no at -425. He blew past that magic number with 250 yards rushing in Week 17 in Houston. Perhaps don't bet against Henry in a Week 17 game in Houston, because he won the 2019 rushing title by grinding up the host Texans for 211 yards rushing in that finale.
Henry's 2020 campaign was the eighth 2,000-yard rushing season, joining: Eric Dickerson (league-record 2,105 yards in 1984); Adrian Peterson (2,097 in 2012; last running back to win NFL MVP); Jamal Lewis (2,066 in 2003); Barry Sanders (2,053 in 1997); Terrell Davis (2,008 in 1998); former Titan Chris Johnson (2,006 in 2009); and OJ Simpson (2,003 in 1973).
In every season of Henry's career, he has rushed for more yards than the last, but the average rushing-yardage total for a player after his 2,000-yard season is a scant 1,099. The most ever following such a season: 1,491 by Sanders 1998. Henry will be around a +450 favorite to lead the league in rushing for a third straight season in 2021, and he's +3000 at William Hill Sportsbook to win NFL MVP – shortest odds of any running back.
If Henry averaged his 126.7 yards per game from last year in a 17-game schedule, that would put him at 2,154 yards rushing. The 27-year-old has been very durable, missing just two regular-season games since he was the No. 45 overall pick in the 2016 draft from Alabama. Dickerson, meanwhile, had 379 carries in his record-breaking season, which was an average of 5.6 yards per carry and 131.5 yards per game.
On thing working against Henry perhaps this season is that the Titans lost two of their three top receivers in Corey Davis and Adam Humphries as well as No. 1 tight end Jonnu Smith. Those three combined for 129 catches (Humphries was limited to seven games), 1,660 yards and 15 touchdowns. Thus, it could be easier for team to try and stack the box to stop Henry.
Here are the 2021 Titans opponents with the Saints in Nashville as the 17th game. The full schedule will be out in early May.
Home -- Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints
Away -- Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Over/Under Derrick Henry 2021 rushing yardage total
- Over 1,570.5 yards -115
- Under 1,570.5 yards -115
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Will Derrick Henry rush for 2,000 yards in 2021?
- No -1500
- Yes +1000
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