A healthy Ahmad Bradshaw is a great player; shifty and strong, with the ability to make big runs inside and outside the tackles, and he has solid hands as a receiver. Brandon Jacobs is hit or miss. That is to say, when he decides to hit the defender head on, he is not only effective, he's downright scary. But when the big fella decides that he wants to make the defender miss, he forfeits his greatest strength...his strength. A player of his size should be an absolute monster, but this is only the case about half the time.
DJ Ware has been used as a third down back, but a healthy Bradshaw has limited Ware's role almost exclusively to draws on two-point conversion attempts. Fullback Henry Hynoski has the potential to be a great fullback, but right now he is merely solid, although he has been mildly impressive with his recent contributions as a receiver.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis is solid, if unspectacular; he'll never wow you with his speed or athleticisim, but he won't stick out as someone who doesn't belong in the NFL. Most importantly, he does the one thing that running backs in the Patriots' system must do: he holds on to the ball. It's always impressive to finish a season without losing a fumble, and even more so if you don't fumble the ball period. But Green-Ellis, four years into his NFL career, has yet to fumble. Once.
Rookie Stevan Ridley has talent, but is not yet fully trusted by his coach; he had only 87 carries on the season. Danny Woodhead could be an x-factor, with the ability to make an impact as a runner and a receiver. Wily veteran Kevin Faulk has not been much of a factor this season, but he always seems to make a couple important plays when he's on the field.
While Green-Ellis is a solid all-around running back and someone that any team would like to have, he does not have the potential of both Giants runners. Although Bradshaw and Jacobs have had down seasons, when healthy, they are both superior players to Green-Ellis and any of the Patriots' other backs. If the freakishly powerful and hungry version of Brandon Jacobs shows up, and if Ahmad Bradshaw is fully healthy come Super Bowl Sunday, the Giants have a clear advantage in the backfield.
I give the Giants the clear win in the running back unit by a score of 8.4 to 7.5.