The New York Giants started 2-2 last year and their "running back of the future" and "Tiki Barber successor" Brandon Jacobs had taken only six hand-offs.
He had been injured in Week One and sidelined for the next three weeks. Since then, the Giants have gone an astounding 19-4, including the playoffs, when Jacobs gets at least one carry.
Last week, in the convincing win over the Dallas Cowboys, Jacobs rushed for 117 yards on 6.9 yards per carry and a touchdown. Just last night in the close victory over rival Philadelphia, he racked up 126 yards and two touchdowns.
On the season he's averaging 5.3 yards per carry with nine rushing touchdowns. He had seven touchdowns all of last season, including the playoffs.
With a consistent running game, Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been able to open up the passing game with a solid receiving corps that was allowed to blossom with the help of a strong offensive line.
Add possibly the best defensive line when Osi Umenyiora is back and healthy and you have yourself a Super Bowl-caliber team. As long as all these cylinders are firing, don't think Manning won't play this year like the Manning that was Super Bowl MVP last year.
Last season Jacobs was one the Giants' big question marks. Running back Tiki Barber retired and New York was left with a fourth-round pick out of Southern Illinois. He had been good in the red zone, but could he be an every down back?
The answer turned out to be a resounding yes. At 6-foot-4, 264-pounds, the 26-year-old is one of the toughest runners in the league. If he continues his pace, the Giants will remain one of the toughest teams to bring down.
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