HOW THEY RUN
When asked in January by former teammate Michael Strahan if he preferred that both Derrick Ward and Brandon Jacobs return in 2009, Ahmad Bradshaw responded with a simple "No." Considering that Bradshaw was a bystander for much of '08 behind the league's best ground duo in Jacobs and Ward, you can't blame him. But with Ward now in Tampa Bay, the team's new two-back rotation will be Bradshaw and Jacobs, and it should again be among the NFL's best. The hulking 6' 4", 264-pound Jacobs will get plenty of touches each week (particularly at the goal line), while the 5' 9", 198-pound Bradshaw offers a nice change of pace. Given the Giants' preference to use three backs, keep an eye on whether Danny Ware or rookie Andre Brown earns the third spot on the depth chart.
HOW THEY PASS
Eli Manning played solidly until December but was erratic down the stretch, which coincided with the loss of star wideout Plaxico Burress. The receiver position still lacks a proven go-to guy, but don't count out Steve Smith, an undersized second-round pick in 2007. Domenik Hixon showed flashes of great play last season, and rookie Hakeem Nicks will be given every chance to be the third receiver but could quickly climb the depth chart thanks to his combination of size (6' 1" and 212 pounds) and talent. Tight end Kevin Boss proved to be a popular target of Manning's, especially in the red zone, catching six scores in '08.
Jacobs is an absolute fantasy stud, considering how much the team loves to run, how bruising the offensive line can be and how unproven the receiving corps is. The latter situation should also help Boss emerge as a top-tier tight end.