Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Wes Welker and Ahmad Bradshaw are the typical names to come up in conversation when discussing Super Bowl XLVI and the vast amount of play makers involved in today's game.
The Law Firm had just 12 carries for 52 yards against the Giants in Week 9
I, however, think New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who is flying under the radar as he should be, will be a difference maker against the Giants.
The Patriots didn't use the Law Firm much in 2011 and there are reports circulating the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent won't be a member of the Patriots for long. This game, however, is a perfect time for the Pats to receive a return on their investment.
Green-Ellis only carried the ball 181 times for 667 yards (3.7 yards and 11 touchdowns during the regular season. During the NFL playoffs this year, he rushed 28 times for 96 yards (3.4 yards and one rushing touchdown in two games. None of these are numbers that would point to him being a true difference maker.
If the Patriots want to keep the New York Giants talented defensive line at bay today and keep Brady upright, it's crucial they develop a ground game early. This will force the defense to play honest and not allow the likes of Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka to freely tee off against Brady. A solid ground game early will also allow the Patriots to set up play-action passing, buying valuable time for the receivers and tight ends to separate from defensive coverage. Additionally, a ball-control offense can be a best friend to a weak defense. The Pats defense has struggled most of the year, so controlling
the clock, keeping the Giants' offense off the field and allowing your defense time to rest will be crucial.
Through three games in the playoffs, the Giants allowed an average of 18.3 rushing attempts, 79 rushing yards and no touchdowns to opposing running backs on the ground. They've also allowed seven receptions, 42 receiving yards and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game to the position.
When the Patriots were most successful against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game two weeks ago, they focused on a balanced attack on the drives using Green-Ellis and running back Danny Woodhead. They need to take a page from their own playbook against the Giants early while not trying to make today's game all about Brady and the passing game.
If they do, the New England Patriots win another Super Bowl.
About Ryan R. Bonini
Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA
TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer
of the Year by the FSWA,
received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.
His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo!
Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured
on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA,
FSWA and FSTA.
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