Who Will Rush for More Yards: Jacobs or Jones?

Here’s a look at new Green Bay Packers running back Josh Jacobs and former Packers running back Aaron Jones through their betting outlooks.
Packers running back Josh Jacobs (8) carries during minicamp.
Packers running back Josh Jacobs (8) carries during minicamp. / Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a stunning turn of events on Day 1 of NFL free agency, the Green Bay Packers signed running back Josh Jacobs and released the explosive and popular Aaron Jones.

While totally different players stylistically, the Packers swapped one productive “heartbeat” player for another.

Did the Super Bowl-hopeful Packers make the right decision? The proof will be in the statistical pudding.

Last season, by the raw numbers, the advantage was to Jacobs. In 13 games, Jacobs had 805 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, 37 receptions for 296 yards through the air and 1,101 total yards and six total touchdowns. In 11 games, Jones had 656 yards and two touchdowns rushing, 30 receptions for 233 yards and one touchdown through the air and 889 total yards and three total touchdowns.

However, Jones had significant advantages in:

Yards per carry: Jones, 4.62 (14th out of 53 players with at least 100 rushes); Jacobs, 3.45 (48th).

Yards after contact per carry, according to Pro Football Focus: Jones, 3.16; Jacobs, 2.35.

Missed tackles, according to PFF: Jones, 26 in 143 rushes; Jacobs, 28 in 233 rushes.

10-yard runs: Jones, 15; Jacobs, 9 (even with Jones having 90 more carries).

That’s all past tense, of course. Who will have the edge in 2024? The 26-year-old Jacobs or the 29-year-old Jones?

At FanDuel Sportsbook, Jacobs’ over/under for rushing yards is 925.5. That’s down from the opening over/under of 1,000.5 yards. Jones’ total is 725.5 yards.

“I think the biggest thing with him is he’s an explosive player,” running backs coach Ben Sirmans said before the start of OTAs. “Obviously, he’s big, he’s physical, he’ll be able to break tackles. He’ll be able to give us a lot of production in different ways than you can say Aaron did but, at the end of the day, it’s going to be productive.

“I think that he’s also coming in with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder because we always have something to prove and I think for him – not speaking for him – but you just get the sense that he wants to prove that we made the right decision investing in him and he’s ready to assimilate to this team and help us get over the top and get to the next level.”

Jacobs believes playing alongside Packers quarterback Jordan Love rather than the Raiders’ Jimmy Garoppolo and Aidan O’Connell will work in his favor.

“I’m going to bring me,” Jacobs said during OTAs. “I think I’m going to bring the run-style that I play with, bring that toughness to the team, and hopefully be a leader to this group of young guys.”

Joining a winning team also has Jacobs fired up for his goal of tasting playoff success.

“Never really played playoff football. So, for me, especially as the back, I feel like you prove yourself in the games that really matter. I haven’t really gotten that opportunity. …

“Being a guy that has a lot of history and especially with the Raiders program, in the top three in almost every category since I’ve been there, it doesn’t really mean nothing because we didn’t win. Being able to leave a legacy is something that I think about now, being older. Playing playoff football and obviously trying to get a ring is the only thing that’s really on my mind.”

Jones, meanwhile, believes playing alongside the Vikings’ skilled trio of Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson will create more opportunities.

“It really excites me,” Jones said. “I’ve played with a number one receiver and now being here with a number one receiver, two number ones if you ask me. Three number ones if you throw in TJ [Hockenson] there it’s like, who are you going to guard? You want to double this guy, you’ve got three or four more guys. The matchups we can get against the defense are pretty much always going to be in our favor.”

More Green Bay Packers News

Two Packers in NFL’s To 100 | Sign this cornerback? | Could Keisean Nixon challenge record? | PFF doesn’t love Packers’ receivers | PFF loves Packers’ running backs | The staggering Jordan Love contract | Down to two kickers | Updated report card: Injuries | Updated report card: Coaching | Updated report card: Draft | Updated report card: Free agency

Bill Huber


Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: packwriter2002@yahoo.com History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: https://twitter.com/BillHuberNFL Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and PackerReport.com. In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.