Originally posted on Big Giants Boom  |  Last updated 11/4/11
Jim Mancari BGB Assistant Editor
When reports broke Thursday that Ahmad Bradshaw would be out indefinitely with a broken bone in his foot, the entire New York Giants fanbase let out a groan.

Our dynamic running back, who is a major part of the offense, would be missing time, starting with the most important game of the most important stretch of the season.

However, when looking at the numbers, the Giants running game has not been the strength that it has been in recent seasons.

Not that the running game is lacking, but Eli Manning and the wide receiving core has shined this season.

Normally, Manning’s passing attack is set up by the Giants ground-and-pound attack. Bradshaw makes a few cuts for a big gain, or maybe Brandon Jacobs bulldozes would-be tacklers.

When the opposing defense reads run, Manning does a nice job of calling a play action, which can set up a big play downfield.

But Manning has been so in-tune this season, that the new strength of the Giants offense is their passing attack.

Hakeem Nicks is showing he can be a big playmaker in just his third NFL season. He’s become a favorite target of Manning, especially with Steve Smith suiting up for the enemy.

The rest of the Giants receivers are really all still unproven players, but Manning’s ability has turned them all into budding stars. Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham and even tight end Jake Ballard have made big plays all season.

So taking a step back, does Bradshaw’s injury really hurt the Giants?

Of course it does.

But now Jacobs has his chance to prove his worth. We’re not saying Jacobs has to rush for over 100 yards and catch screen passes left and right like Bradshaw does. Jacobs needs to play his game, which is wearing down the defense so that Manning can then lead the passing charge.

New England’s defense has been surprisingly flawed all season, so before any conclusions can be made, keep that in mind. Manning is playing at “Peyton-levels” right now, so we could be primed for a slugfest in Foxboro.

As for Bradshaw, that Giants haven’t ruled him completely out, and some reports even said that it is likely he will play Sunday. Either way, his role will be limited, and it will give the young receiving core a chance to keep showing what they’re made of.

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