Merry Christmas, New York Giants fans! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, happy holidays and best wish to you. With two games remaining in the 2015 season, let's make a Christmas wish list for the Giants.
This will not be a "what we'd like to see happen in 2016" wish list. This will be a "hey, the season isn't over yet so what do the Giants need now" wish list. Plenty of time to spin forward to next season down the road. So, Giants fans, let's make some wishes.
The Washington Redskins lose on Saturday night
I could make that sound less Grinch-like by wishing the Philadelphia Eagles win on Saturday night. But, hey, why be nice about it? If the Redskins lose to the Eagles on Saturday, the Giants remain alive in the race for the NFC East title. If the Redskins win, the division crown is theirs.
The playoff scenario for the Giants is this: Two Washington losses and two Giants victories gives Big Blue the division title. Anything less and a fourth straight playoff-less season is the result.
Two Giants' victories
No one is happy that the best the Giants can do is 8-8. Seriously, though, 8-8 with an NFC East title is a whole lot better than 8-8, 7-9 or 6-10 without one.
If you are one of those fans who obsesses about draft position, I completely fail to understand why. There is absolutely nothing that says you get a better player at No. 9 than at, say, No. 14. Did 11 teams get better players than Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014? Did nine teams get better players than 10th overall pick Todd Gurley a year ago? Did 32 teams select a better player than Landon Collins? There were six offensive linemen selected before Justin Pugh in 2013. He is a better player than most of them. Point is, draft position doesn't matter unless you are talking about picking first or second overall. There are always good players available. What matters is picking the right ones when it is your turn.
There is another point here. The Giants have a core of talented young players, most of them collected from 2013 forward. Those players have lost more than they have won, and both winning and losing are habit-forming. A pair of victories in meaningful games might just go a long way toward helping this team learn to win, learn to finish when it counts. It is an important lesson to learn, an important habit to develop.
Odell Beckham learns from his suspension
Odell Beckham Jr. is an incredible talent -- the best Giants player since Lawrence Taylor. He is also, however, a young, emotional man who had unbelievable fame and a national spotlight thrust on him in the blink of an eye. Or maybe in the Spiderman-like reach of three gloved fingers in front of a national TV audience. There is no manual for how to deal with all of that, not to mention the jealousy and resultant outside the lines physicality from opposing players.
Beckham's suspension for last Sunday's emotional meltdown against the Carolina Panthers is a tipping point. Beckham was clearly out of line against Carolina and clearly deserved his suspension. He struck all the right notes in his formal apology on Wednesday, after his appeal was denied.
Beckham wrote, in part:
"This isn't about anything that was said or done to me. This is about my behavior, and I am responsible for my behavior. People expect better from me, and I expect better from myself."
He also wrote that his behavior was "embarrassing to me."
Let's hope that Beckham never crosses this line again. No one wants to take away the edge he plays with, or the passion he has. Those are part of what makes his special. Let's hope, though, that he learns to channel all of that emotion into using his talent to defeat opponents, not his fists or his helmet.