W2W4: New England Patriots vs New York Giants

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When the Giants Run the Ball:

Mandatory Credit: Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Rashad Jennings has a season high of just 63 yards rushing in 2015, that coming in week six in a loss to Philadelphia (all stats from Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise noted). Back-up Andre Williams from Boston College continues to share carries despite Jennings clearly being the top back. Shane Vereen is the third down back and does most of his work in the passing game rather than running the ball.

The Giants have had between 80 to 99 yards rushing as a team in 7 of 9 games in 2015 and have topped 100 yards as a team just twice. They are 24th in the league in total rushing yards and average just 3.8 yards per rush. Jennings and Williams are average to below-average backs and are wasting some solid offensive line work in front of them.

When the Giants run effectively, it is dependent upon guards Geoff Schwartz, Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg to make space for Jennings and the plodding Williams. Pugh and Richberg are both excellent pass blockers and are mobile enough to move to the second level and get to the linebackers.   

Rookie Ereck Flowers has had to fill in at left tackle and has struggled at times, particularly in creating space in the running game. He will have his hands full trying to seal the edge against Chandler Jones. Right tackle Marshall Newhouse is in to pass block and will be overmatched trying to stop Rob Ninkovich, who is one of the best defensive ends in the league at stopping the run. Dont’a Hightower’s size and athleticism make him a very good run defender and if Jamie Collins is recovered from his illness that held him out of the Washington game it will be an intriguing match-up to see if the Giants interior line can get to him in the running game.

Must-read: Patriots-Giants BOLD PREDICTIONS

New England has turned around their porous run defense that allowed 100 or more yards in 4 of their first 5 games. They held the Jets potent rushing attack to just 89 yards and then shut down the Dolphins (15 yards) and Redskins (37 yards) almost completely. Interior defensive linemen Alan Branch, Sealver Siliga, rookie Malcom Brown, and Dominique Easley have stepped up their game of late and been playing with excellent technique and power the past three games.


Next: When the Giants Pass the Ball