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Fact or Fiction: Career year for Rashad Jennings?



RB Jennings will set a career high in rushing yards.**

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -If Rashad Jennings stays healthy, he should eclipse the 733 yards he had for Oakland in 2013. Even though Jennings will be splitting carries with Shane Vereen and Andre Williams, I believe he'll get the bulk of the looks and will be an effective runner.

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With the dynamic Giants passing attack, there should be few safeties in the box, giving the Giants' running game a chance to thrive.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -The Giants know they have to run the ball better than last year, and they've taken steps toward doing so in 2015. The only thing that has held back Jennings is his health, having never played all 16 games in a season. But with Andre Williams and now Shane Vereen, the running game should improve on the 3.6 yards per rush it averaged in 2014.


LANCE MEDOW: Fact -If you do the math, this is more than doable for Rashad Jennings. He set a career high in rushing yards as a Raider in 2013 with 733. That season he missed just one game.

Assuming he's healthy for all 16 games, in order to tally 734 yards on the ground, Jennings needs to average about 46 yards a contest. Even though he'll likely be splitting carries with Andre Williams and Shane Vereen, Jennings is expected to lead the charge, meaning averaging 46 yards a game is a mark that can easily be reached.

Dwayne Harris' first Giants TD will be on a return.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -Dwayne Harris' first score for the Giants will come on a punt return. Even though Harris' last return touchdown came in 2013, he is still dynamic returning punts and should help the Giants get excellent field position all year.

With Victor Cruz looking to be on track coming back from his knee injury, and Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham likely getting most of the other repetitions at wide receiver, Harris' best chance for a score will come on punt return.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -He does have two in his career, but predicting one this year is a reach, especially given that the Giants haven't returned a punt or kickoff for a touchdown since David Wilson in 2012. Additionally, Harris came to the Giants for a bigger role on offense. That's not to say that he won't have an impact on the "big four" special teams units -- Tom Quinn said this week that his coverage skills are just as good as his return ability -- but I think he will be a nice addition to the passing game.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -It's very tempting to say "Fact" on this one, but if you look closer at his career numbers and the stats of the complementary wide receivers in Ben McAdoo's offense last season, I think Harris will reach the endzone for the first time as a Giant thanks to Eli Manning's arm. In four seasons with the Cowboys, Harris had three receiving touchdowns and two punt returns for scores. In the latter category, one came in 2012 and the other in 2013. That goes to show you even if you're one of the most dynamic special teams players in the NFL, it's very difficult to reach the end zone consistently because so many things have to go right.

Despite having a small role as a receiver in Dallas, Harris managed to collect three touchdowns. With the Giants, his reps at that position should increase and if you look at what Preston Parker did last season (36 rec, 418 yds, 2 TDs), I think Harris has a better chance to score his first touchdown as a Giant lined up as a receiver. Parker did benefit from Victor Cruz's injury, but even if you cut those numbers in half and notice that eight different players caught a touchdown pass from Manning in 2014, the opportunity is there for Harris.

The new extra point rule will have a dramatic effect.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -This statement depends on how you define dramatic.

Will a couple games be won or lost because a field goal kicker missed a 33-yard extra point? Yes. Will it make teams go for a two-point conversion more often? Maybe slightly, but I don't think either situation will come up more than a couple dozen or so times over the course of the season. Is that dramatic? Maybe. I'll be fascinated to find out.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -What had become a "ceremonial" play, in the words of Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara, is no longer routine. Picture a close game, which most are in the NFL, and the offense commits a penalty. Now you're staring at a 40-plus yarder, which is no gimme. Add in weather and a pressure situation and you have a big play that was otherwise automatic. I like the rule. It's a subtle touch that will make things even more interesting.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -To answer Schmeelk's question, I define dramatic as exciting or theatrical (was concerned he wouldn't sleep well until I gave my take). Is this rule change going to shake things up in close games or games impacted by weather? Absolutely. It makes no difference how often this happens over the course of the upcoming season. We haven't even played one game and there has already been plenty of debate over the rule change. It's going to impact strategy because extra points will no longer be automatic. Kickers will feel a little more pressure, coaches will think about going for two more often and reporters and fans will have more plays to question and critique. The dialogue and chatter surrounding the game is going to change. There's your dramatic effect, Schmeelk. It is better to advance to a championship round and lose than not make it at all.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact,a million times over: For some reason, there has been some type of shame associated with losing in a championship game or series. There shouldn't be.

Simply getting to the championship round should be celebrated because it isn't easy. It means you have an excellent team capable of winning a championship.

It provides great experience for the next year's run at a title. It gives you answers about your team that maybe you didn't have before seeing them in such a high pressure situation. FACT, FACT, FACT!

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -Arguing the other side has never made sense to me. By that logic, the Bills winning four-straight conference titles (but no Super Bowl rings) is the same as a team not even making the playoffs. And that's absurd. I don't think those people appreciate just how difficult it is to get to the final round of anything.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -I never understand the logic behind statements like "I'd rather not make the playoffs than suffer a loss in a championship game." Using the NFL as an example, in the salary cap era, it's very difficult to build dynasties given the parity of the league. Therefore, reaching a championship game is an accomplishment because you never know when you'll get back. The experience the team gains, even in a loss, is invaluable and sometimes the taste of defeat can fuel a championship run the next season.

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