NY Giants playoff chances: Where do things stand heading into ‘must win’ at Washington?

EAST RUTHERFORD – The New York Giants certainly did not resemble a playoff team Sunday.

They looked more like a team chasing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, not the franchise’s first trip to the postseason in six years.

But while the Giants’ 48-22 blowout loss to the Eagles reminded everyone watching that they are not, as Daniel Jones admitted, “where we need to be yet,” 60 minutes of overmatched, and for the most part, bad football does not change the reality of the probability within the playoff picture.

The Giants (7-5-1) will head to Washington for “Sunday Night Football” this week with the postseason in front of them, and what essentially will count as a continuation of the 20-20 tie between the NFC East rivals from Dec. 4.

“You’re going to have your ups and downs, but it’s who you are in those moments [that matters], and what better opportunity after a game getting embarrassed on TV in front of everyone,” Giants running back Saquon Barkley said. “Everyone outside of us is, ‘The sky is falling, the sky’s falling’ — what better opportunity to come in and go against a divisional opponent, go to their home and try to come out with a win.”

The math

For the Giants, Sunday’s game against the Eagles was somewhat inconsequential, because when it comes to their fight for the playoffs, a win over Washington this week trumps anything that could’ve happened vs. Philly.

According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the Commanders are coming off their bye at 73% to make the playoffs, while the Giants are at 44%.

If the Giants win this Sunday night, their chances to make the playoffs jump to 85%, while Washington would fall to 34%.

If Washington wins, the Commanders’ chances of reaching the playoffs jump to 89% and the Giants would fall to 25%.

And yes, just for a matter of record, if the Giants and Washington tie again: Big Blue would fall to 38%, the Commanders would be at 63%.

“We know what’s on the line,” Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas said.

The emotion

Giants veteran linebacker Jihad Ward plays with an edge, and he’s not afraid to express what’s on his mind. His expletive-filled answer to a question about the message to a team that has won just one game since its bye week boiled down to this sentiment.

“You have to do more,” he said. “How bad do you want it? … Are you going to sit back and wait until next year? I want it now. So, that’s the type of mindset that I have and I expect every single person in this organization to have.”

The scoreboard screamed the Giants did not belong on the field against the Eagles, and that’s fair.

But one result does not a season make.

The 1990 Giants were destroyed by the Eagles in Philadelphia, 31-13.

The 2000 Giants lost to the Rams at home, 38-24.

The 2007 Giants were blown out 41-17 at home by the Vikings when Eli Manning threw four interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.

The 2011 Giants were completely outclassed by the Saints in New Orleans, 49-24.

All four of those teams reached the Super Bowl, including three Vince Lombardi winners.

Now, that’s not to predict this Giants team is going to make a run; they’re in a different place in Brian Daboll’s first year as head coach.

But for those saying the Giants don’t belong in the playoffs because of Sunday’s result, that’s just a poor read of the circumstances.

“This is an emotional game. You work your ass off. You put your heart out there, and sometimes a result isn’t what you want,” defensive back Julian Love said. “That’s life, and it’s a good depiction in the game of football. For us, we prepared hard all week, and we fell very much short [Sunday]. But that’s the life of an NFL player; that’s the life of an NFL team. So, for next week, you got to pick yourself up, fill the tank back up and go at it again.”

The Giants have spent the entire season focused on the process, following Daboll’s lead of consistency over the roller coaster of perception and reality. This is the stage on which you want to play in the NFL, however, and leaning into the emotions of the moment has its benefits, even for a team that has spent much of the year downplaying it.

“If it’s channeled the right way,” Giants defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence said. “If you channel your emotions the right way, it’ll lead to good things.”

This content was originally published here.

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