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Why Christian McCaffrey should go under his rushing yards total in 2020

Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey signed a huge deal this offseason and has another great season ahead of him in 2020. However, we don’t think he’ll match his impressive rushing numbers from last season.

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey reacts before an NFL International Series game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had a phenomenal 2019. He ran for 1,387 yards and 15 scores while also catching 116 passes for 1,005 yards and four scores. He was one of the most productive players in football and appears to be on track to be among the cream of the crop in 2020 as well. It was enough to make him the highest paid running back in the league this offseason.

McCaffrey thrived when misfortune struck, but will different circumstances yield different results? DraftKings Sportsbook has his over/under for total rushing yards set at 1,350.5. We break down what we expect from him in his fourth NFL season.

Prediction: Under 1,350.5

McCaffrey was electrifying last season and should continue to be in 2020. But it’ll be hard for him to match his gaudy rushing totals with a new quarterback under center. Cam Newton played all of two games in 2019 before being shut down for the year, and inconsistent quarterback play from Kyle Allen and Will Grier followed. That led to McCaffrey tallying 287 rushing attempts. Only Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, and Nick Chubb ran the ball more.

The Panthers are bringing a new signal caller aboard though. Teddy Bridgewater should provide some stability under center for the Panthers. He has experience playing alongside a versatile back like McCaffrey. Carolina shouldn’t feel the need to force feed McCaffrey the ball as much with a more accurate quarterback, but you should still expect the star to be active in the passing game out of the backfield. McCaffrey had to put the team on his back last season, but he shouldn’t have to do that again.

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