In this edition of the Superbowl positional breakdown, I am going to take a look at both teams running games. Both teams have QB’s that can air it out, but it is the running game for both teams that keeps opposing defenses off balance. Let’s take a look at what where are working with here.
Patriots – The Patriots running attack was ranked 20th this season, averaging a respectable 110 yards per game. The running attack is lead by ‘The Law Firm’ Ben Jarvis Green Ellis, who is a tough as nails down hill runner. The undrafted free agent hasn’t fumbled in over 550 carries. That is amazing, and a major reason Coach Bill trusts the law firm as his lead back. Belichick HATES when his running backs fumble. Steven Ridley fumbled twice at the end of the season, and was subsequently benched for the AFC Championship game. After the Law Firm, Danny Woodhead is the Pats third down back. Although diminutive in size, Woodhead gets the job done. He is great at quickly finding the hole and squeezing through the smallest of creases. This is a very solid 1-2 punch. I’d like to see Tommy use these guys in the passing game more like they did with Kevin Faulk. They haven’t used the RB out of the backfield much this year. It could be a good wrinkle to keep the Giants off balanced.
Ben Jarvis Green Ellis (181 attempts – 667 yards – 3.7 YPA – 11 TD)
Danny Woodhead (77 attempts – 351 yards – 4.6 YPA – 1 TD
The Patriots are really going to need to run the ball effectively to neutralize the Giants top notch pass rush. Hopefully Sebastian Volmer’s presence will help that cause.
Giants – The Giants have a dangerous 1-2 punch of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Neither guy had an overly impressive regular season, as the Giants rushing attack was dead last in the league this year, averaging a mere 89.2 yards per game. Bradshaw is a mix of speed, agility, and some power. He is the perfect compliment to Brandon Jacobs punishing style of run. I like the match-up against Jacobs, as the Pats front is great against bigger contact type running backs. Bradshaw could be the one that really gives us trouble. His ability to get to the edges, could expose the Patriots outside linebackers. Bradshaw didn’t play in the regular season match-up against the Patriots. I really wish our D could have seen his running style up close and personal. Look for Bradshaw to have a solid superbowl.
Ahmad Bradshaw (171 attempts – 659 yards – 3.9 YPA – 9 TD)
Brandon Jacobs (152 attempts – 571 yards – 3.8 YPA – 7 TD)
Advantage – I’m going to give the Giants a slight edge in this department because of how well both running backs have performed in the post season. They have combined for 330 yards in three playoff games. However, the Patriots backs are more important in this game. If they can run the ball in between the tackles effectively, they will help neutralize the Giants aggressive pass rush, and hopefully set up the play action pass.