The Giants have earned it.
The next time they step onto the court will be in December, and this Week 13 game against the Commanders will be brimming with importance and implications. There will be no more the manufactured motivation of years past: to play for pride, or a better draft pick, or to save the head coach’s job, or to achieve a statistical feat.
The Giants are still playing to get into the playoffs. They’re squarely in the NFC playoff mix, despite currently being the owners of their first two-game losing streak in 2022. Being dominated by the Lions in Week 11, then overwhelmed in the second half by the Cowboys at Thanksgiving are body shots that jabbed and stunned the Giants, but didn’t knock them out. Right now there is cause for concern. But all that good work and endgame execution in September and October hasn’t been erased because November was a failure.
It’s a rare weekend for the Giants. For the past few years, the onset of winter and holidays has ushered in the ‘It’s the season for more craziness’ air, with all the lousy football that has turned the stretch into four-quarter trials that have had to be undertaken, as the timetable does not allow for early withdrawals.
Yes, the Giants went from 7-2 to 7-4, and that downward tilt needs to be straightened out. The record doesn’t look as garish as it once did, but while the Giants sat out the weekend as Week 12 continued with the full slate of games, there were just three teams in their conference with better records: the Eagles (9-1), Vikings (9-2) and Cowboys (8-3). There are worse places than the Giants.
“I mean, definitely, the whole season is obviously ahead of you right now,” head coach Brian Daboll said. “We have a long way to go. Obviously the rest of December here and the beginning of January. So we have to focus on preparing to play against Washington, but you’re sitting at 7-4. You’re getting into position to play meaningful matches in December, which is important.
Daboll pointed out that last season, when he was the offensive coordinator at Buffalo, the Bills were 7-6 after 13 games.
“Listen, anything can happen in this league,” he said. “I’ve said it before, it’s a humiliating league. You can be on top of the mountain one week and fall the next.”
The Bills in 2021 struggled on a two-game losing streak before winning their final four regular season games, upset the Patriots in a wild card game and found themselves with the Chiefs in a round-robin matchup. division that turned into an instant classic. Buffalo lost 42-36 in overtime in a game that featured a combined 25 points in the final two minutes of regulation. The end-of-season surge has unquestionably made Daboll a more attractive head coach.
The Giants hired Joe Schoen to lead the franchise as general manager. Schoen, having seen Daboll’s approach and handiwork in Buffalo, summoned Daboll to lead the Giants’ ship. Daboll is definitely in the discussion for NFL Coach of the Year. He coaxed seven wins in the first nine games on a roster that most observers believed was incapable of achieving seven wins all season.
That was then. It is now. What comes next is Daboll’s biggest challenge: two games against the Commanders, two against the Eagles, one against the Vikings on Christmas Eve in Minneapolis and one at home against the Colts, the only opponent remaining barely on the sidelines. playoff positioning.
The Giants are 0-2 in the NFC East, with the Cowboys showing their superiority in late September and late November encounters. Training is important, especially within the division in the two-season playoffs. Obviously, Giants cannot be swept away by Commanders. Ideally, they don’t want to get swept away by the Eagles.
Daboll has done more with less. Now he has to do more with what he has. At least his injury-riddled squad is healthier.
“We have confidence in the players we have in our roster,” Daboll said. “It’s our job to try to put them in the best possible positions. Certainly we can do a better job of that. And trust the players we have.
“We’ve all been in this league for a long time. There are no excuses. Everyone suffers injury or loss, things like that. You come back, you stay strong mentally. You look at the things you need to fix. You stay consistent with your approach, with improvement in mind. You own what you didn’t do well, and you move on to the next week.’
New York Post