The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Atlanta's Turner-round


It may not be the popular pick, but I think I want Michael Turner. Sure, his name doesn't yet have the headline status that Adrian Peterson's does. But Turner doesn't fumble the ball as much, he's scored 15 touchdowns this year after signing a contract already guaranteeing him over $15 million. Turner has something to prove. Long the really good backup to LaDainian Tomlinson that you wanted as a fantasy football insurance policy, Turner has emerged as a top RB in the NFL. He's only 26 and he remains a virtually unknown to the greater public. The guy maintains a quiet profile off the field and runs low and hard on it. Statistically, he has seven games with over 100 yards rushing. In the first game of his new career in Atlanta, he ran for 220 yards and two TD's. He is smaller, but stronger than Peterson and that can pay dividends in shorter goal line situations. And you can be sure Turner is eager to make a statement on Peterson's home turf this weekend -- especially with huge playoff implications involved.

Don't get me wrong, I would take Peterson a heartbeat. But, in his short career I'm already worried the injuries are beginning to pile up. I feel like Peterson has less to prove to the league. He's already known as an elite RB whereas Turner is still trying to establish himself, even with the numbers he's put up. Yes, Peterson is a couple years younger which can be significant in this sport. But I think the emergence of Matt Ryan in Atlanta will really open up some great opportunities that Turner is capable of taking advantage of.

Given what I've said, I wouldn't be surprised to see Peterson run for 160 yards and three TD's Sunday vs. the Falcons -- just as a reminder that he is elite. It would be hard to argue against the Vikings prince. But I like the slightly more mature, no-nonsense, less injury-prone guys who have paid their dues and are taking advantage of the opportunities as they arise.

You can't lose either way, so since it's a game of inches here, I'll go with Turner to cross the goal line first.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  December 18, 2008; 9:08 AM ET  | Category:  Adrian Peterson , Atlanta Falcons , Michael Turner , Minnesota Vikings , Zach Leibowitz Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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