Jennings holds key to Giants' playoff hopes

Rashad Jennings leadership in the locker room has been sorely missed along with his production on the field and the Giants will need him to retrun to the lineup sooner rather than later if they have any hope of making a playoff push.

As the Giants have been on a rollercoaster of a season, we’ve seen the club go on multiple losing streaks as well as a stellar 3 game winning streak. When looking at what has been the dependent variable of the Giants’ success, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who has had the same impact that Rashad Jennings has had on this football team, for better or worse. It’s becoming extremely clear that the running game is an integral part of Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system, and Jennings is controlling this ride, as the team has lost consecutive games now with Jennings out of the lineup.

The lack of a running game has been detrimental to the success of the G-Men, as it has forced the Giants to lean too heavily on Eli Manning. With opponents realizing that the Giants are forced to pass with Jennings out of the lineup, defenses are playing the pass and it’s becoming evident that there is no ground game to keep the defenses off balance. Without a ground game, it’s extremely difficult to set up the play action pass as well as take risks in the vertical passing game.

When looking at the statistics this season, the proof is in the pudding. The Giants began the season at 0-2, with Jennings rushing for a combined 110 yards with 34 attempts over the first two games. That’s good for a pedestrian 3.1 yards per carry. However, after the rough start to the season, the ground game began to pick up, and the wins began to correlate with the rushing attack. Over the next three games where the Giants pulled off a three-game winning streak Jennings broke out rushing for 286 yards over 57 carries, good for a 5.0 yard per carry clip. Now, with Jennings out of the lineup the past 2 weeks, the Giants have struggled to maintain any type of running game, with the incumbent rookie Andre Williams averaging a porous 3.1 yards per carry over the past 2 weeks. Of course, looking at the trend, the Giants have gone 0-2 during this time.

With the Giants currently on a bye, looking ahead at their schedule, the Giants have the Lions and their No. 1 ranked defense on the horizon. If they expect to gain any type of momentum offensively, it must start with No. 23 as the centerpiece of this offense, especially with the loss of Victor Cruz. Giant fans must hope for the return of Rashad Jennings, as he may hold their teams faith in his hands.

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