1. The Giants can continue a playoff push without a consistent rushing attackEisen: (FACT) - The Giants have rode Eli Manning's arm this far, there's no reason to think they can't continue to do so. But the point may be moot, because the Giants have run the ball better in their last two games. Hopefully, that will continue.
Schmeelk:(FACT) - If the Giants can run the ball the way they did the last two weeks, they'll be fine. With the offensive line's current configuration we've seen semblances of a power rushing attack that Head Coach Tom Coughlin can rely on to control the clock. I wouldn't spend much time worrying about the Giants offense.
Salomone: (FACT) - They're doing it. Other teams are doing it. Other teams have done it. Everyone is tired of hearing it – and I'm tired of fighting it – but it's the era of the quarterback. And if you look at the list of things to clean up for the final push, you would not necessarily start with the offense. Despite a last-place ranking in rushing yards, the passing game moves the ball well enough to let the backs punch it in when they need to. The Giants have 13 rushing touchdowns, good for sixth in the NFL. It's also worth noting that the Giants have only lost one fumble rushing the ball this year (and that was rookie Da'Rel Scott). So anything more than serviceable will just be a bonus.
2. RB Brandon Jacobs should be the starting running back after his performance versus the Packers and CowboysEisen:(FICTION) - Too much emphasis is placed on who starts a game. D.J. Ware started in Dallas and carried the ball twice. The Giants' rushing attack is most productive when Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw split the carries. My guess is they'll continue to do that down the stretch. Which one of them starts is irrelevant.
Schmeelk: (FICTION) - While Jacobs has looked good the last two weeks, I see little reason to upset the apple cart and start changing roles. Once the game gets going and either Jacobs or Bradshaw is running better that day, the coaches can decide who will get more carries. Who starts doesn't really matter.
Salomone: (FICTION) - But it doesn't really matter. Starts don't matter at a position like this; it's all about carries. There's no denying Jacobs has been running tough these past two weeks with his counterpart back there. A healthy dose of both Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw is the answer while the staff rides the hot hand in any given game.
3. DJ Ware should continue to be the third down running backEisen: (FICTION) - Not because of Ware, but because the concept of having one third-down back doesn't fit with this team. Jacobs, for example, has run the ball five times on third-and-one and picked up four first downs. Bradshaw is four-for-six in the same circumstance. We should use the best back according to the specific third-down situation – which is what we've done.
Schmeelk: (FACT) - With Jacobs and Bradshaw both still a little banged up, having DJ Ware there to spell them both is a good idea. He protects the passer well, and has proven he can catch the ball out of the backfield. I would like to see him be a little more explosive with the ball in his hands. His spacing with the linemen in front of him on screens could improve as well.
Salomone: (FACT) - The interception that was intended for him on third down in Dallas has drawn some criticism, but he's provided his fair share to where the Giants are today – in control of the division. There must be a reason he's stuck around this long despite being lower on the depth chart. He knows how the system and knows how to block. He also averages 6.5 yards on his 24 catches this season, six of which went for first downs. It would be refreshing to see him break one for a sizable gain, though.
4. The Giants will rush for over 100 yards for the third consecutive week against the RedskinsEisen: (FACT) - Two 100-yard games in a row, a big NFC East home game in December … tradition and necessity dictate that the Giants have a big game running the ball on Sunday.
Schmeelk:(FACT) - But I wouldn't expect much more than a 100. The Redskins are a very sound fundamental defense, with Barry Cofield in the middle, Brian Orakpo outside, and London Fletcher at linebacker. It will be tough sledding for the Giants offense all day, but with some persistence and help from all three running backs, they should be able to get over 100 yards.
Salomone: (FICTION) - The Redskins are out of contention, but as head coach Mike Shanahan put it on Monday, "Everybody's playing for jobs and coaching jobs." There are players with a lot of pride on that defense, which gave up 75 yards to the Giants in the opener. The trend is definitely pointing up for the Giants, and I wouldn't be surprised one bit if they did break the century mark. However, I'll have to see it first.
5. The current configuration of the offensive line is the best combination this seasonEisen: (FICTION) - Not because I don't think the current is playing well, but I think it's wrong to blithely dismiss David Baas from the mix. If your starting center is healthy enough to play – and we don't know if he will be – then it seems your strongest line configuration might well include him. He does have much more experience than Mitch Petrus, the player he would obstensibly replace.
Schmeelk:(FACT) - You can't argue with results, can you? There has been more room to run the past two weeks than there has for most of the season. Most encouraging is that the backs seems to have the most success in power straight ahead run plays. Petrus and Boothe are providing some serious strength and size in the middle of the line. Stick with it until is stops working.
Salomone:(FACT) - Just talking to Mitch Petrus when he wasn't even dressing got me amped up. But talking to him after his start against Green Bay was beyond words. He has brought energy to that line, and Kevin Boothe's versatility can never be overstated while David Diehl is back at his Pro Bowl position. Aside from the improved run game, Manning has only been sacked once in the last two games. Keep at it.
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