The Chiefs' defense has yet another challenge ahead of them this Sunday in Jacksonville Jaguars' running back Travis Etienne, an emerging star who has been particularly effective in recent weeks.
The former first-round pick, who is essentially a rookie after missing all of last season due to an injury, is ranked 11th in scrimmage yards this season with a total of 854. He has been able to attain over 100 yards from scrimmage in five straight games, and during that span, he has racked up 629 yards from scrimmage – the third-most in the NFL behind only the Miami Dolphins' Tyreek Hill and New Orleans Saints' Alvin Kamara.
Etienne has displayed signs of a great running back in the making this season, displaying the patience to let his offensive line create the holes that he then attacks. He also possesses tremendous vision, often turning what seems to be a busted play into a five-yard gain.
Additionally, Etienne has proven elusive in the open field. In fact, his 38 forced missed tackles this season are the fifth-most among all running backs. His quickness and speed are something that the Chiefs' defense will need be aware of when trying to limit his influence in this week's game.
Etienne has utilized his unique abilities especially well of late, prompting the Jaguars to trade fellow tailback James Robinson – their former starter at the position – ahead of the NFL trade deadline. He has certainly made the most of that opportunity, too, accounting for 25 percent of the Jaguars' offensive scrimmage yards all by himself.
That's all to say that for any opponent facing Jacksonville – and in this case, the Chiefs – Etienne is likely at the center of the defensive game plan.
Kansas City's defense has played well this season, however, and is consistently proving to the league that they are capable of making the plays that are needed to win games. The Chiefs stood their ground against a great running back last week in the Titans' Derrick Henry – holding him to just 23 rushing yards in the second half – and they'll look to do the same this Sunday by bringing Etienne's impressive stretch to an end.