EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — For most of the season, there has been talk about the New York Giants getting back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
The postseason picture was bright when the franchise got off to a 6-1 start under rookie coach Brian Daboll. It's a lot dimmer now with the Giants going 1-4-1 in their last six games.
With four games left in the regular season, it's uncertain whether New York (7-5-1) will make the postseason. One thing is certain: The Giants will participate in a playoff-type game Sunday night when they travel to Washington to face the Commanders (7-5-1).
The teams tied 20-all at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 4. This game will be their tiebreaker in the event they finish the season with the same record.
That makes it a playoff game.
“We know what’s on the line,” Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas said. “So we know the mentality that comes with that. Washington is a great team and our division is great this year. So we know what this game means and we’re doing our best to prepare for that.”
Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence said the key to playing in a big game is to try not to be too hyped, too emotional or perfect.
“You just have to play with better technique,” he said. “You’re going to lose some reps, they’re going to win some reps, but it’s all about not letting that linger and just keep playing." Lawrence said Monday, a day after the Eagles ripped New York 48-22 while rushing for 253 yards.
It was a blowout.
Daboll is looking for a little more consistency from players and coaches.
“We’ve had some tough games here these last few weeks,” he said. “Make no excuses about them. Every game we go into, we prepare, we plan, we practice with the right mindset. All the other things, (there’s) not much we can control about that. What we can control is the things we do today and this week and get ready.”
To be honest, very little has been working the past month. The offense isn't controlling the ball or generating much of a running game or points. The defense is having trouble getting off the field on third down. Special teams is having breakdowns. One win in the last six sums it up.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
See above. Everything.
The best thing that can happen to the Giants is cornerback Adoree Jackson (knee), DL Leonard Williams (neck) and S Xavier McKinney (hand) get back on the field. The offense doesn't have enough tools to make a difference. A healthy defense does.
Azeez Ojulari. In his second game back from a calf injury, the outside linebacker had two sacks of MVP contender Jalen Hurts. He now has three sacks in the last two games and four for the year in four games.
Special Teams. While Elerson Smith's punt block set up the Giants' first touchdown, there were three major breakdowns. Punter Jamie Gillan's fumble and illegal kick set up a one-play, 33-yard Eagles touchdown. A 66-yard kickoff return after the Giants' first TD set up a field goal for Philadelphia before halftime. A 35-yard kickoff return set up a TD run by Hurts.
Daboll had no updates on his injured players. Williams was inactive, and TE Daniel Bellinger (ribs), LB Micah McFadden (ankle, neck) and WR Richie James (concussion) were hurt Sunday. RB Saquon Barkley (neck) was limited to 20 plays. Jackson, McKinney and G Josh Ezeudu (neck) will be evaluated this week.
53 — The point deficit in the Giants' last six games (1-4-1). That's almost nine points a game in a league where close games have been the norm.
Show up from the opening kickoff because Sunday night's game is a must-win. The Giants are battling Seattle (7-6), Washington (7-5-1) and Detroit (6-7) for the last two wild-card spots. Detroit and Seattle have the head-to-head tiebreaker with New York. The Giants need a win to get the tiebreaker with Washington and possibly get headed in the right direction again.
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