4 toughest running backs on Bengals 2023 schedule

These running backs may give the Bengals' defense some trouble this season....
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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While the run game has taken a step back in offenses across the league over the past couple of decades, there are still a few workhorses who carry the weight of their offense, or at the very least add another dynamic to their offensive attack that opposing defensive coordinators have to scheme against. That would be running backs who challenge the defense to keep up with them and bring them down. They may not be as plentiful as they once were, but elite running backs still exist and this year, the Bengals will have to face a couple of them.

Of course, it helps to have guys like D.J. Reader-- a prolific run-stopper for Cincy-- on the line ready to accept that challenge and completely shut down the other side's rushing attack, but these four running backs will still *likely* prove to be a difficult adversary for Cincinnati during the 2023 NFL season.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

Nick Chubb - Weeks 1 and 18

Nick Chubb is arguably the best running back in the entire NFL, there are only two or three others that you can make a case is on his level. I discussed it more in my article ranking the AFC North's running back units, but Chubb not only puts up big numbers, but he does so efficiently, averaging a stellar 5.2 yards per attempt (or Y/A) for his career, while never finishing a season with less than 20 broken tackles. For comparison, Saquon Barkley (another highly-touted running back) had 12 this past season.

It's a shame he plays in the same division as Cincy, especially because he tends to have good performances when the Browns square off against their in-state rivals, averaging 88.6 yards per game in his nine career match-ups against the Bengals with 5.1 Y/A and breaking the 100+ yard mark in five of those games. Even this past season, in that Monday night blowout, he put up 101 yards on 23 carries and two scores.

That's not to say the Bengals' defense hasn't had success against the former Georgia Bulldog. In their second game against one another last year-- this time at Paycor-- the defense held Chubb to just 34 yards on 14 attempts, which was his second-worst performance during the 2022 regular season.

Still, Nick Chubb is likely going to be the toughest running back the Bengals face in 2023, but there are some other names worth mentioning...