Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Playing the Rams and Lions can do wonders for an NFL running back.
Three of the NFL's five leading rushers have played one of those teams.
The Falcons' Michael Turner rushed for 220 yards against the Lions in the opener. The Seahawks' Julius Jones rushed for 140 of his team's 245 rushing yards against the Rams in Week 3. The 49ers' Frank Gore rushed for 130 yards against the Lions, also in Week 3.
Jones didn't even start the regular-season opener. He rushed for 45 yards in that Week 1 game against Buffalo. But with Maurice Morris suffering a knee injury, Jones has rushed for 127 and 140 yards in two subsequent games. Morris could return after Seattle's upcoming bye week, but it's tough to make a case for reducing Jones' carries.
Jones was adamant all offseason that he could be an elite every-down back. He claimed the Cowboys made a mistake in letting him go. His former Dallas teammate, Marion Barber, ranks sixth among NFL rushers, right behind Gore. Barber hadn't gotten into a rhythm before carrying 28 times for 142 yards against the Packers on Sunday night.
Gore has a chance to pad his rushing stats in Week 4 as long as the 49ers don't fall behind against the Saints. New Orleans is allowing 5.3 yards per carry and 133 yards rushing per game.