To many casual American Football fans, football is a sport that has a crazy amount of interruptions and a lot of stoppages. But, when you stop to think about it, most players, particularly receivers and those helping shield them from the opponents defenders cover a lot of ground in every single game. Even if a pass isn’t collected by the receiver, players are still covering a lot of yards just to attempt the catch. So while one might initially think that football is mostly a physical contact sport with not a lot of running involved, statistics show otherwise.

In this article, we will be taking a look at which NFL teams and players have put in the most miles throughout the last 12 weeks while also drawing comparisons against the teams and players with the lowest amount of miles covered. When it comes to ranking individual players I’ll only be looking at players that have played more than half the games they were in, because determining a player’s performance based on just one appearance wouldn’t be a fair comparison.

While a stat like this is quite hard to truly nail down, even with all the technology available to athletes today, because of the number of different players that will go in and out of every game, we can, however, look at offensive rushing and receiving stats to get a baseline. Therefore, the first step will be looking at the top 5 teams for rushing yards, followed by the top 5 teams for receiving yards. It might surprise you that both these top five teams are different. 

So, starting with the rushing yards, the top 5 teams for offensive rushing in the NFL are;

  1. Chicago Bears: 2304 Yards
  2. Atlanta Falcons: 1920 Yards
  3. Baltimore Ravens: 1790 Yards
  4. Philadelphia Eagles: 1788 Yards
  5. Cleveland Browns 1698 Yards

Then the top 5 teams for offensive receiving yards in the NFL are;

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: 3585 Yards
  2. Miami Dolphins 3364 Yards
  3. Cincinnati Bengals: 3205 Yards
  4. Buffalo Buffalo Bills: 3191 Yards
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3051 Yards

While it’s true these statistics don’t tell the whole story, it’s enough to give us an idea. What’s more interesting is that when expanding these lists to include the top 10 teams in each category, only two teams feature in both lists; 

  1. The Buffalo Bills are in the top five 5 for Receiving Yards and 8th for Offensive Rushing with 1504 yards.
  2. The Green Bay Packers placed 10th for Receiving with 2868 yards and 9th for Rushing with 1455 yards. 

There are a few standout teams in this list above, first the Chicago Bears. Although they’re currently 3-9 for the season, Justin Fields has been absolutely hammering the rushing stats, earlier this season he set a new record for rushing yards in a regular-season game by a quarterback with 178 yards in their game against the Miami Dolphins, he’s up to 834 yards in total now. After the game where he set this record, the Bears had recorded 1759 rushing yards, they currently sit on 2304 with many thinking they’re on pace to beat or at least challenge the 17 game season record of 3323 rushing yards!

Next I want to look at the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles, specifically Nick Chubb from the Browns and Miles Sanders for the Eagles. These 2 players account for a huge majority of their teams rushing yards, as we said the Browns have 1698 rushing yards, but Nick Chubb accounts for 1039 of those and for the Eagles with their 1788 rushing yards, Miles Sanders accounts for 900 of them! 

There are 2 standout players in the receiving category also, for 2 of the teams we have mentioned above. For the Miami Dolphins, wide receiver Tyreek Hill currently has 1233 yards with 87 receptions through 11 games and for the Buffalo Bills, their wide receiver Stefon diggs has put down 1100 yards with 84 receptions, he has also played 11 games. The difference however is Diggs has made more count with 9 touchdowns versus 4 for Tyreek Hill.

Now we have looked into some of these teams, it’s time to look at some of their upcoming fixtures. Starting with the Chicago Bears (3-9) who host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday December 4th, the Bears find themselves as +135 underdogs returning $11.75 from a $5 stake while the Packers are -155 favourites returning $8.22 from the same stake, quite a tight game to call for 2 underperforming teams. 

The next teams we looked at were the Cleveland Browns (4-7) and the Philadelphia Eagles (10-1). Checking out Caesars’ Ohio Sportsbook for the best odds as the Browns host the Texans (1-9-1), a game between two teams that certainly need a win here, the Browns are -320 favorites returning $6.56 from $5 with the Browns +260 underdogs returning $18 from the same stake. The Falcons on the other hand host the struggling Steelers (4-7) on Sunday, understandably the Falcons are favorites at-125, returning $9 from a $5 stake with the Steelers being underdogs at +105 returning $10.25. 

Finally, we also looked into the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills, for the Miami Dolphins (8-3) they travel to San Francisco as they look to take on the 49ers (7-4), both teams looking to cement themselves in the playoff places, the Dolphins are the underdogs here at +170, returning $13.50 from $5 with the 49ers edging it out as favorites with odds of -200 returning $7.50. For the Bills (8-3), they also travel this weekend as they are on the road in New England against the Patriots (6-5) on Friday night. The Bills are favorites at -225 returning $7.22 and the Patriots are +185 underdogs returning $14.25 from the same $5 stake as before.

So, football fans. Of all the teams and players mentioned in this piece today, was there anything that caught your attention in particular? Any players you didn’t realize had put in so much work? OR maybe one of the players who hadn’t quite put in as many miles as you thought he had? We all have those players we watch mid-game and it feels like they’re everywhere, then when you see the stats they’ve actually not done all that much. But then the opposite is also true, you see people who seemingly stand still and time grinds to a halt, but then you look back and they’ve done a marathon mid-game!

While it’s true that American Football is a sport for people of all builds and sizes, it’s worth noting that certain positions will benefit WAY more from increased levels of stamina than others. Let’s face it, someone who is performing a snap and then blocking the opposing defenders, doesn’t need to be able to run 50 to 90 meters in a respectable time, multiple times a game, do they? But being a little more agile will certainly help them, but for other positions, it’s their ability to show explosive pace while also showing they can run for longer distances/periods of time. It really is a crazy game really. The sport for everybody.