It’s evident that head coach Tom Coughlin knows how to utilize quarterback Eli Manning in the best possible way, getting as much as he can from the starter without forcing him into situations where he tends to make mistakes. The younger Manning is fine as long as he’s not called upon too many times to make big plays and as long as the pressure is kept off him. Coughlin’s solution has been to rely upon the Giants’ formidable ground attack, keeping the stress off of his quarterback.
Led by Brandon Jacobs, who’s gained over 1,000 yards this season and averaged 5.0 yards per carry, the New York ground game has allowed the team to burn up minutes, grind out yards and control both the ball and the clock. Jacobs is backed up by another fine rusher—Derrick Ward. Going into the final week of the regular season, Ward has gained 948 yards. He too should end the season at 1,000-plus yards. Wards’ average yards per carry stands at an impressive 5.7.
It isn’t that Manning is bad. He has improved over the years, but he stands in the second-tier of NFL quarterbacks. He’s not a top-ten signal caller like brother Peyton or like Drew Brees or Tony Romo. Eli Manning is ranked somewhere between 12 and 16. That’s not bad, but it does not make him one of the elite players.
Jacobs has been injured as of late and that should be a worry for fans. Ward is a dynamo but together Ward and Jacobs are one of the most dominant running tandems in the league. They constantly keep defenses off kilter. Jacobs is the touchdown guy and also offers fine pass-catching skills. Ward always seems to have the potential to break a big run.
If the running game is working for the New York Giants and the defense plays tough, as it has done this season, the club could repeat as champs.