NY Giants in position to make strong playoff push. Just don’t expect them to talk about it

EAST RUTHERFORD – The optimism (and hype) was starting to rise for the New York Giants last month when Darius Slayton made it clear that, from a players’ perspective, the standings and playoff picture were not going to be a distraction.

His promise: this locker room would have zero problem paying no attention to the Giants’ fortuitous positioning – especially now with a 6-2 start – and Slayton’s reasoning was as sound as anything Brian Daboll’s team has done on the field this season, and that’s far more than anticipated.

“We have experience of ignoring our record for bad reasons,” Slayton said, eliciting laughter from reporters during an Oct. 17 conference call. “That experience is probably going to pay off if we continue this trend later on in the season of just ignoring and keep playing ball. Keep playing good ball and the results take care of themselves.”

Asked if it was easier to ignore a bad record or a good one, Slayton replied with a chuckle: “Much better to ignore a good one, I can attest.”

The Giants return from their bye week with a good one, for certain. They’re squarely in the mix in the NFC playoff race as a wild card, and facing a pair of home games against opponents with losing records, beginning Sunday against the Texans (1-6-1) followed by the Lions (2-6).

Conveniently, on Election Day, FiveThirtyEight – yes, the analytics site known more for its political predictions – says its model projects the Giants’ chances to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016 currently sit at 78% – a staggering number considering Daboll and Co. have been underdogs in all but one of their first eight games.

The Giants were one of the NFL’s biggest surprises en route to their best start since 2008. Now comes an even greater challenge: a playoff push with expectations.

“Focus on the process,” Daboll said. “Again, I know I sound like a broken record, but this league humbles you very quickly. As soon as you’re done with a game and as soon as Mondays are over, you put it to bed, and you get focused on your next opponent.”

The Ravens raced out to an 8-2 record last season, only to lose their final seven games and go from the No. 1 seed in the AFC to out of the playoffs. Veteran defensive lineman Justin Ellis and members of the defensive coaching staff were there last season, including defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, so if the Giants need a point of reference to that week-to-week humility Daboll talked about, they don’t have to look too far.

The Giants have defied the odds not just with the games they have won, but how they are getting to the finish line.

“Focusing on things that happened in the past don’t do you any good, you’ve got to learn from them,” Daboll said. “Thinking about things that could happen in the future do you no good because you better stay right in the present and focus on the things that you can control. That’s something that I’ve preached to our players, to our staff, to myself. I think that takes discipline and it takes a consistent approach to do that each day.”

This content was originally published here.

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