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The Giants Need to Find Some Balance

It can't be all about Eli Manning this Sunday

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011  |  Updated 2:38 PM EDT
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It would be nice if Jacobs provided more than comic relief.

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Brandon Jacobs spent another day running his mouth on Tuesday, although he thankfully shelved the references to his "fast-ass" car and went with a well-worn assault on fans who voiced their frustration with his continued lack of proportion between his words and his productivity.

It would be lovely to just ignore Jacobs and focus on the Giants worthy of coverage this season, but the Giants could actually use something from Mr. Sunshine on the field.

That's the reason that the spotlight keeps giving him a chance to make a fool of himself and it doesn't figure to stop this weekend against the Patriots. 

The Steelers made the blueprint for beating the Patriots pretty clear in Pittsburgh last weekend. Get a lead, control the ball and then let the pass rush loose on Tom Brady all day long.

We know the Giants are capable of doing the last of those things, although there's some reason to doubt the Patriots will keep coming with the same exact offensive philosophy this week.

They've seen diminishing results for several weeks in a row now and it wouldn't be surprising to see them come with the more balanced offensive approach they showed against the Jets last month.

Balance brings us back to the first two bullet points from the Steelers game plan, because they are very much intertwined. The Giants have skirted disaster while playing from behind so far this season, but it could be fatal to their chances this weekend because of the potency of the Patriots offense.

Eli Manning is certainly up to a shootout, but how much do you trust Perry Fewell's defense in such a situation? They gave up 24 points to Kevin Kolb and 28 to Tarvaris Jackson/Charlie Whitehurst, so it is clear that pass rush alone isn't enough to stop opposing offenses.

The second half of playing with a lead is that the Giants need to grind down the clock when they have the ball to limit the chances that the Patriots have to erase it. And that leads us back to Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and the underwhelming run offense that we've seen from them through the first seven games of this season.

We're not advocating some Bo Schembechler "three yards and a cloud of dust" offense from the Giants this weekend. That would be inane, because Manning is the best player on the team and Ben Roethlisberger proved last week that you can throw 50 times and hold onto the ball for nearly 40 minutes against the Pats.

But the Steelers also ran the ball 23 times for 98 yards, more than enough to keep the Patriots defense honest and enough to give them the balance they needed.

They also ran 32 passing plays, including sacks, against eight rushes on their first four drives (they led 17-7 at that point), which shows you that they were really balanced while eating clock and keeping the Patriots off the field in the second half. 

The Giants have shown no sign of having that kind of effort in them, right down to throwing three passes while leading 20-17 against a Dolphins team with just one timeout late in the fourth quarter last week.

Matt Moore couldn't move Miami into position to extend or win the game, but, again, do you really want to bet that Tom Brady won't be able to do the same thing?

Like it or not, the Giants are going to have to run the ball at some point. This weekend would be the perfect time to start.

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