Monday: Defensive Line/Linebackers
Tuesday: Special Teams
Wednesday: Defensive Backs
TODAY: Running Backs/ Offensive Line
Friday: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Sunday: Game Predictions
New York Giants:
RB's: Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Henry Hynoski (FB)
This year, the Giants had the worst, yep, the worst rushing attack in the entire league. In total, the Giants rushed for 1,427 yards. that comes out to 89.2 yds/game. This unusually low total can mostly be attributed to the injury to Ahmad Bradshaw, which caused him to miss the entire month of November. Brandon Jacobs was asked to carry the load to which he put up relatively weak numbers, such as a 21 yard performance in a loss to the Eagles on 11/20. Having the 32nd worst rushing attack in the NFL is a deceiving statistic though. The Giants have 17 rushing touchdowns, which is 6th in the league. Proving that when in close to the goal line, the Giants aren't afraid to push their way into the endzone. This offseason, the Giants have the most rushing yards(352), and the most rushing attempts (84). These numbers can be attributed to having played in 3 games this postseason already, but averaging over 100 yards a game (117.3) is a feat teams strive to accomplish in the post season. Look for the Giants to try and move the ball on the ground and establish a running game early. Like the Atlanta game, when the Giants' running backs get rolling, they are a very difficult bunch to stop. The unsung hero of the Giants backfield is rookie full back, Henry Hynoski (Pitt). Despite not registering a single rushing attempt this year, he has been used in I-formation sets to provide excellent blocking for Eli Manning as well as catch a few passes as the drop off receiver out of the backfield.
The Offensive line has had its fair share of struggles this year, yet it still allowed Manning to throw for nearly 5000 yards, while getting sacked 28 times. Most of those sacks can also be attributed to Manning's lack of mobility, but when it comes down to it, the Giants offensive line has not been very good. Coach Kevin Gilbride was quoted on NBC's Pro Football talk as saying:
“It’s been a . . . process,” Gilbride said, searching for the right words. “It’s been a transitional process. We lost two our two starters that were kind of the heart and sou of our team in Richie Seubert and Shaun O’Hara. We lost William Beatty, our starting left tackle. We’ve been shuffling guys around, trying to get (center) David Bass up to speed. We haven’t been together as long. Baas has been a missed a bunch of games. It’s been a growth process, there’s no question.”
The Giants line has a tough test Sunday when going up against the front seven of the Patriots. The Giants offensive line has been getting little attention due to the incredible season by Eli Manning, and being overshadowed by their stellar defensive line.
RB's: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Stevan Ridley
The Patriots enter Sunday's game with a considerably better rushing attack (statistically). The Pats racked up 1764 rushing yards this season which translates to 110.3 yards a game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been a consistent work horse yet again this year. The "Law Firm" has never been one for putting up highlight reel runs, breaking the 100 yard mark only once this season, 136 yards against the Jets week 5. Look for Green-Ellis to get the majority of his touches after the Pats have made their way into the red zone. Also getting touches is Danny Woodhead. The 5'8" 195lbs running back is a nice compliment to the hard nose running of Green Ellis. Woodhead has tremendous speed and agility and is always a player defenses notice when he enters the backfield. The Patriots accumulated 18 rushing touchdowns this season, 11 of them coming from Green-Ellis. The Patriots have the better rushing game on paper, but with a healthy Ahmad Bradshaw with doses of the bruiser back Brandon Jacobs, the Giants have the upper hand when it comes down to it.
The Patriots' Offensive Line are a bunch that pride themselves in their work. Tom Brady had another phenomenal year, throwing for over 5000 yards with the league's 2nd best passing attack. They do have their holes, in the first meeting's loss with the Giants in week 9, the Patriots' last loss this season, Brady was sacked twice and knocked down three times. The week before against the Steelers, Brady was sacked 3 times and knocked down 4 and had arguably the worst game of the season. Against good defenses, the O Line has showed their vulnerability. Showing up on Sunday is going to be key. The Patriots line is certainly up to a huge task when going up against the likes of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyora, and new star, Jason Pierre-Paul. In Super Bowl XLII, Tom Brady was sacked 5 times and was constantly under pressure. If the Patriots want to win this time around, controlling the pass rush of the Giants is going to be of the utmost importance for this core of gutsy veterans light Matt Light, Logan Mankins, and Dan Connolly.
Running Backs- Giants
Offensive Line- Patriots
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