It’s hard to pick against Alabama these days and feel good about it, but Clemson is the truth.

This doesn’t mean we think the Tigers will beat the Crimson Tide on Monday night. But they absolutely can. Here are five reasons why.

Their run defense is better

Let’s take a look at the statistical breakdown between Alabama and Clemson:

Alabama STAT/LEADER Clemson
14-0 (8-0 SEC West) Record (Conference) 14-0 (8-0 ACC Atlantic)
No. 1 CFP ranking No. 2
47.7 Points per game 44.3
16.2 Points allowed 12.9
527.6 Yards per game 530.4
325.6 Passing ypg 274.1
202.0 Rushing ypg 256.3
310.5 Yards allowed per game 274.6
190.2 Passing yards allowed 182.1
120.3 Rushing yards allowed 92.6

Alabama’s rush defense is still elite by just about any metric. But it’s not Clemson’s, and even though the Tigers are missing Dexter Lawrence, they have plenty of bodies up front. They didn’t miss a beat against Notre Dame, only allowing the Fighting Irish to gain 88 yards on 35 rushing attempts. Clemson doesn’t get pushed off its spot and it has excellent gap discipline.

MORE: Full statistical breakdown of Alabama vs. Clemson

The Tigers are going to need to win the time of possession battle in order to win the game. Perhaps handily. That’s a lot to ask, but looking at the two teams’ statistical profiles going into the game, it’s doable. The other half of that equation is also key…

Their rushing attack is better

Trevor Lawrence and the defense get most of the publicity for Clemson, but Travis Etienne is a boss. He’s run for 1,572 yards and 22 touchdowns this season on a whopping 8.3 yards per carry. It’s not going to be easy to run on Alabama, but if anyone can do it, it’s Clemson. The Tigers also have an outstanding offensive line.