In recent months they have engaged in a good-natured debate through the media about who is the NFL’s best running back.
Now Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson get to go head-to-head to determine who’s better in the eyes of the public.
They are two of the three backs nominated for this week’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week. They are joined by Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall.
The winner will be determined by fan voting at NFL.com/FedEx. Voting will remain open through 11 a.m. Friday.
Johnson rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants. The bulk of his yards and his second touchdown came in the fourth quarter.
“My hat’s off to the coaches to never get away from the running game when it’s not working in the beginning,” Johnson said following the game Sunday. “…We’ve been getting better week after week and making plays out there. I think it’s just going to be tough for defenses to contain us.”
Peterson rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings’ 24-10 victory over Detroit. Mendenhall had 143 rushing yards and one touchdown as the Steelers defeated Tampa Bay.
The nomination is Johnson’s second of the season.
He also was eligible for the award for his play in the opener, 142 yards and two touchdowns against Oakland. In between he was held to 34 yards by Pittsburgh.
With a total of 301 yards through the first three games, he is well off the pace for his preseason goal of 2,500 yards. In fact, he’s not even currently on pace another 2,000.
Peterson has rushed for 392 yards, including 305 in the last two weeks. He is on pace for 2,090 yards.
“We’ve played three games now and all three teams have loaded the line of scrimmage but they’ve done it different – people take different approaches to it,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “We didn’t know what to anticipate out of the Giants, we knew we were going to get them heavy on the line of scrimmage but we had a different type of defense. It took us a little time to adjust because once we recognized what they were doing, we adjusted and we got it going.
“The defense is going to try and stop CJ. … Keep handing the ball to him and he’ll make the plays.”