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Giants' Earth, Wind and Fire lead the way

12/31/2008

More Postseason Rankings

Check out where the other nine rushing games ranked. InsiderInsider

Every team ranked by position

The 2008 playoffs are loaded with running back duos, but the Giants' trio gets the nod as the No. 1 team. Minnesota's Adrian Peterson led the league in regular-season rushing yards, but the Vikings barely broke into the top five of our rankings of the playoff teams' running back groups.

1. New York Giants

There is no question that the three-pronged rushing attack is the most formidable in the league. Brandon Jacobs is arguably the most powerful running back in the NFL, while Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw can also dominate a game. Ward and Bradshaw collectively average 5.45 yards per carry, and are very capable blockers as well as good receivers out of the backfield.

2. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers' running back duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart has been the most impressive ground attack in the second half of the season. Williams and Stewart have more rushing touchdowns (28) than any other backfield in the league. Both players have power, speed and instincts with the ball in their hands. Devising a game plan to defend against Williams' explosive burst and elusiveness and Stewart's bruising running is particularly tough to do.

3. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons' offense has dramatically improved from a season ago, primarily due to the acquisitions of RB Michael Turner and rookie QB Matt Ryan. Atlanta's running game has gone from No. 26 in 2007 to No. 5 in 2008 and averaged 145 yards per contest. The Falcons have an excellent one-two punch with Turner and Jerious Norwood and their contrasting styles have kept defenses off-balance with the power of Turner and the speed and burst of Norwood.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.