Potent playmakers flying under the radar for soaring Giants

The Giants offense was clicking on all cylinders in Houston last Sunday

After a tumultuous Week 5 in the NFL where few things seemed to go as planned, some key players for the Giants have flown under the radar while leading the league in some telling statistics.

You may not realize it, but Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks have hooked up for more scores more than any other QB-WR duo. Nicks leads all wide receivers with six touchdown catches. The funny thing is, had Nicks caught Manning’s 50-yard pass that hit him right in the numbers he would have recorded his second hat trick of the season and he’d be tied for the lead in total touchdowns.

It’s hard to imagine, but if teams keep allowing Manning and Nicks to connect at will, then Eli may finally have his shot to match his brother in terms of yards, touchdowns, and overall efficiency. At that point, pundits are really going to have a hard time saying Eli is forever playing in Peyton’s shadow. Due to the different offensive systems in Indianapolis and New York, that comparison may never be apples to apples. But Eli sure is looking more and more confident in his receivers and with Nicks’ early success this season, it’s not totally out of the question that he have a 1,000-plus-yard season with 10-plus touchdowns, cementing him among the game’s elite receivers.

Ahmad Bradshaw is quietly having a great year as well.

Bradshaw leads all RBs with the most 20-plus-yard gains from scrimmage with seven. And although Bradshaw is averaging 90 yards per game, it’s reasonable to assume that with a few more carries each game to his average of 5 yards per carry, he’ll get to the coveted 100-yard mark.

And if the Giants offensive line continues to get healthier and improve their run blocking continues to improve while defenses begin to look at Manning-to-Nicks as a significant threat, then Bradshaw could really elevate the Giants running game back to where it was in 2008. His elusive abilities have routinely turned busted plays into significant gains — none more vivid than last week’s 29-yard gain on an improvised cutback to avoid running into a wall of Texans. Statistically he’s a better asset running the football than LaDainian Tomlinson, who’s gotten all the positive media attention when it comes to New York running backs this season.

Part of me wants to say “these players deserve a lot more credit than they’re getting” especially when the perception two weeks ago the Giants had no running game, no cohesion on offense, no leadership and no chance to win meaningful games in the NFL. Then another part of me remembers 2007 and how the Giants flew under the radar all season to a beautiful championship-winning ending and I smile and think “pundits that can’t remember the past are more than welcome to help the Giants repeat it.”


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