When Rashad Jennings went down with a knee injury five games into the season, he led the Giants with 396 rushing yards. Now set to return for Week 11, that total still leads the team.
While rookie Andre Williams has provided flashes in Jennings’ absence, he has been unable to fill the shoes left behind. The Giants haven’t won a game, and have cracked 100 yards rushing exactly once without Jennings. Luckily for Big Blue, Jennings is back this week for Sunday’s showdown with the San Francisco 49ers, listed as probable on the injury report.
Williams, who proved to be a capable spell back, will slide back into that role as Jennings figures to pick up a significant number of carries. This return also comes at an opportune time for the Giants, as Peyton Hillis is out with a concussion and Michael Cox has been placed on Injured Reserve with a broken leg. Cox is the 12th Giant to be placed on IR this season.
The 49ers (5-4), despite their struggles at times this season should pose a tough challenge for Jennings right out of the gate. The Niners have a rushing defense ranked 13th with a -15.2% DVOA according to Football Outsiders. They are allowing 91.2 yards per game on the ground, and opposing backs are averaging fewer than four yards per carry.
But if the Giants are going to win, they have to do so through the ground game, because the Niners are even better against the pass than they are the run. The 1-2 punch of Jennings and Williams might just be enough to have that happen.
Joe Vasile | Featured Columnist