Does Eli Manning Miss Plaxico Burress or Brandon Jacobs More?

Chad HensleyCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2008

In the last two games, Eli's offense has scored 13 points—and seven were in garbage time.

They averaged only 214.5 yards in those two games, well off their 348.5 ypg average.

Is the loss of Plaxico Burress that great? Or do the struggles come from missing Brandon Jacobs? (Note: Jacobs ran the ball 10 times before being injured in the Philadelphia Eagles game.)

Brandon Jacobs is sorely missed on first down and second downs. The thousand yard rusher averages five yards per carry.

He is also missed in short yardage situations, when his 265-pound frame is impossible to stop. He is the human drive extender.

Some Giants fans will point to the excellent record and high points per game average that they earned without Plaxico earlier in the season.

It is a fair argument.

But one thing that many fans don't realize is what effect a big, physical, receiver has on their opponent's defensive scheme.

When a defensive coordinator doesn't have to worry about a big receiver like Burress, he can play more man coverage on smaller receivers. This allows the coordinator to bring extra blitzers on rushing and passing downs.

Plaxico allowed Eli to throw it quickly on the blitz, and more times than not the receiver won the battle.

Without Burress, Eli has to hold it an extra second or two longer and that is when the pass rush gets to him. The result? Eight sacks by the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night.

Yes, the offensive line played horribly. But they may not have played as badly if they didn't have to hold their blocks an extra second or two.

That said, I'd probably have to say Jacobs is a bigger loss. The Giants haven't been able to get anything going on the ground, which keeps them from controlling the clock. It also eliminates the play-action pass.

In the end, the Giants will be a better football team when Brandon Jacobs comes back, but don't think they don't miss Plaxico Burress.