The Pats and the Giants don’t particularly feature strong rushing attacks. During the regular season, the Giants ranked last in the league in rushing (89.2 YPG) while the Patriots were not much better, coming in at 20th in the league (110.3 YPG). Both teams are also middle of the pack in defending the run, as the Giants rank 19th in the league (121.3 YPG) while the Patriots are slightly better at 17th (117.1 YPG)
Both teams run the ball by committee with the Giants trotting out Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to move the chains while the Patriots can turn to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and even rookie Stevan Ridley.
In three playoff games, the Giants are averaging 117.3 rushing yards a game (no doubt buoyed by the 172 yards they gained against the Falcons) whereas the Patriots are averaging 121 rushing yards a game.
So, while the Pats have the statistical edge, the Giants have the better one-two punch, since their backs are more incorporated into the game plan. Green-Ellis has been maddeningly inconsistent all season and Woodhead and Ridley have basically been change of pace backs.
If Bradshaw is healthy, and by all accounts he should be fine despite not practicing all that much, then he could be a real difference maker in the Super Bowl.
As for Jacobs, he could be playing his last game as a Giant, but that won’t deter him from trying to go out on top. Jacobs said he and Bradshaw should have more of a role in this matchup.
“I definitely think we are going to have to play a bigger role,” Jacobs said. “As long as we stick with the run, be patient, hang with it, something is going to pop at one point or another.”
After missing four games in the middle of the season, Bradshaw is back to his usual shifty self and with Jacobs offering the perfect complement, the running game is finally hitting its stride.
“Well, our running game has gotten better because our guys have been together throughout the course of the season,” Jacobs said. “This is the end of the season, so guys know how each other works. We can pick up slack in certain areas.”
All quotes courtesy of Giants Communication Department
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