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Friday, December 16, 2011
Breakfast links: Brandon Jacobs' revival

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

The Friday links require no introduction.

New York Giants

The Giants do not know what has gotten into Brandon Jacobs the past two games, and they do not care as long as he keeps it up. The Giants have the worst rush offense in the league this year, but it has looked revitalized the past two weeks as Jacobs has been running like the punishing back he was when he was younger and the beaten-up offensive line has been blocking better than the healthy one was. Sometimes, these things are tough to explain.

Regarding that offensive line, backup Kevin Boothe has been "outstanding" filling in at center for David Baas, according to offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. But the team is concerned about one aspect of his game that's pretty important for a center to have down -- snapping the ball. Some of Boothe's snaps are now drawing comparisons to former Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch, and in case you don't remember what was going on in Yankee baseball 10 years ago: That's not good.

Dallas Cowboys

The folks who covered the Cowboys when Sam Hurd was on the team didn't recognize the guy they were reading about Thursday in a government affidavit. Hurd, who played five seasons for the Cowboys before signing with the Bears prior to this year, is facing serious federal drug trafficking charges, and it was apparently a hot topic Thursday around his former team.

The Cowboys' offense came to life earlier this season when rookie running back DeMarco Murray became its focal point. But quarterback Tony Romo says he's not feeling any additional pressure to carry the offense now that Murray is out for the season with an ankle injury. The Cowboys likely can still run the ball with Felix Jones for a few games, but Murray helped them put away late leads -- something with which they've struggled this season -- and it's going to be on Romo and the defense to figure out how to do that now.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jeff McLane writes that these final three games of the season are important for DeSean Jackson, who will still want a new contract when this terribly disappointing season is over and can use this time as an audition to convince the Eagles or some other team that he's worth the money he seeks. Teams will pay for talent in this league, and Jackson just turned 25 years old.

The Eagles' playoff hopes took an expected hit Thursday when the Falcons won, leaving only one wild-card spot even potentially available to them. If the Lions win Sunday, the Eagles will be unable to claim a wild-card spot even if they win out. And if the Cowboys win Saturday and the Giants win Sunday, the Eagles are eliminated from the division race no matter what they do. But there remains a slim chance so they'll still need to win Sunday's game, and Les Bowen says to do that they'll need to solve an old problem -- their red zone defense.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins' 2011 plan on defense hinged, in large part, on the idea that they would have one of the best safety pairings in the league in LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe. But plans don't always work out, as we know, and injuries have kept those two off the field way too much. Landry's season ended Thursday when the team announced he needed surgery on his ankle and put him on injured reserve.

Santana Moss says he would "love to ruin" the Giants' season with a win Sunday. The Redskins started off this season by beating the Giants in Washington, and the Giants were extremely angry about that loss. This isn't the same Redskins team they trotted out in Week 1, but it does seem to be a proud bunch capable of more than people expect. I don't believe they'll make it easy on the Giants. Of course, predictions come out in a few hours.