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Giants must win in Washington to make playoffs as Lions increase NFC rankings – The Denver Post

Sunday night’s road game against the Washington Commanders will either save the Giants’ season or send them into a tailspin.

It’s basically a win scenario and you’re in, lose and you’re out. The winner will likely go to the playoffs. The loser will need a miracle.

“We’ve got to win everybody,” rookie rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux said after Sunday night’s 48-22 loss to the Eagles. “We’re at the point in the season where if you lose, you’re out.”

They definitely can’t lose this one.

The Giants (7-5-1) are one of four teams battling for the final two NFC Wild Card spots along with the Commanders (7-5-1), Seattle Seahawks (7-6) and Lions of Detroit (6-7) .

The Seahawks and Lions already own the tiebreaker over the Giants due to head-to-head wins. The Giants and Washington tied their first meeting, 20-20, in Week 13.

And the Giants have the toughest remaining schedule of the four, while the Searing Lions have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the entire NFL.

The Giants have the second toughest remaining schedule by opponent’s winning percentage, according to Tankathon.com: at the Commanders, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts and Eagles.

The Commanders have the fourth-toughest remaining schedule: against the Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and against the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys.

The Seahawks have the seventh toughest remaining schedule: against the 49ers, at the Kansas City Chiefs and against the Los Angeles Jets and Rams.

And the Lions, who have won five of their last six games, have the fourth-easiest schedule in the league: at the Jets, at the Panthers, against the Chicago Bears and against the Green Packers.

Many dominoes will fall over the next four weeks to determine who comes in and who doesn’t, but the Giants can’t rely on anyone else.

As vanguard veteran Jihad Ward said on Sunday, it’s time for veterans to galvanize a young and restless squad and underscore the urgency of the moment.

“Veterans need to put them on it and let them know that shit ain’t no game here,” Ward said. “It’s a bunch of grown men. We don’t treat these recruits like young bulls. They’ve gone crazy for men here. So I no longer see any recruits in my mother’s eyes.

“So it’s like, you have to come with it or you’re going to bed,” Ward continued. “What [are] you will do? Are you gonna sit here and sit and wait for next year? I want it now. So that’s the kind of mindset that I have and expect from everyone in this organization.

And if a speech like that doesn’t work, Brian Daboll and Ward could just show the team the numbers.

The Giants currently have a 45% chance of making the playoffs, according to playoff predictions from FiveThirtyEight.com. They follow the Commanders (73%) and the Seahawks (55%) and are ahead of the Lions (20%).

If the Giants beat the Commanders, the Seahawks lost to the 49ers, and the Lions beat the Jets, the Giants’ playoff odds would skyrocket from 45% to 87%.

But if the Giants lose to Washington in the same scenario, the Giants’ playoff odds would drop from 45% to 26%, while the Commanders’ odds would hit 90%.

Daboll’s team also just have to feel what it’s like to win again.

The Giants are 0-3-1 in their last four games, 1-4-1 in their last six and 0-3-1 in their division. Daboll’s review of his NFC East experience was grim on Monday.

“I haven’t won any games,” he said on Zoom. And all three losses were losses to the Cowboys (twice) and the Eagles.

The Giants have never been winless in a division in a single season, according to Elias Sports Bureau. It could happen this year.

“You want people to expect you to win and we’re working towards that,” Daboll said of his program’s overall aspirations.

It’s hard to expect that right now, but the Giants have no choice but to believe it. Their season depends on it.

REMARKS

Commanders activated quarterback Carson Wentz (broken right ring finger) from injured reserve to be Taylor Heinicke’s backup starting Sunday night against the Giants. Coach Ron Rivera reaffirmed Heinicke as the starter during the team’s bye week. “I feel comfortable with Taylor,” he said. Wentz broke his finger in an Oct. 13 win over the Chicago Bears. Washington is 5-1-1 with Heinicke starting… Daboll said he “hopes” Saquon Barkley’s neck injury will improve heading into Sunday night’s game. But Barkley insisted “I wasn’t restricted” by the neck after being limited to just 20 snaps in Sunday’s demolition by the Eagles. It’s also unclear how to decipher Daboll’s update, after the way he handled it last week. The coach was asked if Barkley had suffered an injury in training, and Daboll said the neck injury was purely from wear and tear. But then Barkley revealed he was actually injured in practice on Wednesday. It’s not clear yet why Daboll swerved to answer that question directly… Daboll said Richie James (concussion) is in protocol and tight end Daniel Bellinger (ribs) and linebacker Micah McFadden (neck, ankle ) are both “painful”. The coach did not provide any updates on the availability of key injured starting corner Adoree Jackson (right knee), lineman D Leonard Williams (neck), left guard Ben Bredeson (knee) and safety Xavier McKinney (left hand). Bredeson appears to be the only one of the four players who is more likely to return than not. It’s believed he can be activated from injured reserve until Dec. 19, the Monday following that game against Washington. But he was in rotation in practice last week, and the Giants need a boost inside. Meanwhile, if Jackson’s original schedule of 4-6 weeks holds, this will be the fourth game since spraining the right MCL against the Lions. Williams didn’t practice all last week, so that’s a concern for one of the league’s most enduring players. And McKinney still seems far away despite the pins being removed from his hand.

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