Super Showdown: The Running Backs
Jan 31 2008 4:51PM
Beckett's Super Bowl XLII Coverage
New York's Brandon Jacobs is the behemoth bruiser, bigger than most linebackers and right at home playing for a team called the "Giants." His understudies, upstart rookie Ahmad Bradshaw and veteran utility man Reuben Droughns, have given Big Blue a deep, clock-grinding ground game all season long. In order to keep New England's potent offense off the field on Super Sunday, they'll have to provide more of the same.
New England's Laurence Maroney is shifty, speedy and stronger than he looks (and he looks pretty strong). After taking a backseat to the Pats' air show for most of 2007, he's been improving his production with every passing playoff game. Spelling him are veteran Kevin Faulk -- Brady's lifeline out of the backfield who's caught 13 passes this postseason -- and bruising, opportunistic fullback Heath Evans.
In terms of pure real estate covered on the ground in 2007, the Giants finished fourth in the NFL with 2,148 yards; the Patriots finished 13th with 1,849 yards. But New England scored more rushing touchdowns than New York (17 to 15).
So, what's going to give when Super Bowl XLII kicks off Sunday evening at about 5:18 CST? Hey, if we knew that we'd be in Vegas right now. What we can tell you, though, is that when it comes to the cards, the Patriots' running backs hold a marked advantage over their "Giant" opponents.
We combed and queried our massive database to produce a series of comparisons -- Maroney vs. Jacobs, Faulk vs. Bradshaw and Evans vs. Droughns -- and then used all those numbers to run an overall comparison.
Are the results scientific? Not at all. Do they seem to indicate a Sunday slaughter? Of course not. But they do suggest that New England's running backs are more collectible than the Giants' -- a lot more collectible:
-- Database research compiled by Tim Trout. Check back tomorrow for additional analysis.