One of Ben McAdoo’s primary tasks the past few days, in addition to fielding a plethora of Odell Beckham questions, has been to remind his players that he believes the New York Giants are a good team despite back-to-back losses.
“I think it’s important that they know I have confidence in the locker room and in the players. It was a tough game the other night against a good opponent (the Minnesota Vikings, who beat the Giants, 24-10),” McAdoo told Giants.com. “We’re a good team. I like where this team is going. We need to rally the troops, so to speak. Get everyone pulling in the same direction and move on to the next one.”
What we find out beginning Sunday night at Lambeau Field vs. the Green Bay Packers is whether or not the players in that locker room truly believe the coach, truly believe that they are a good team.
We mentioned earlier in the week that is has been nearly four years — Nov. 25, 2012 when the Giants beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers — since the Giants defeated a good team with a top-flight quarterback. Rodgers, a certain Hall of Famer, will be behind center for Green Bay on Sunday.
Further, most of the core players on the current Giants roster have experienced little in the way of NFL success. Most Giants weren’t on the team that won the Super Bowl in 2011, the last Giants team to make the playoffs. Much of the core of this group is the same one that has had three successive losing seasons.
For a good chunk of this roster, what that means is that when things have begun to go sour — like they did the past two weeks for the Giants — they have stayed that way. The Giants had a six-game losing streak to open the 2013 season, a seven-game losing streak in 2014 and lost six of seven to end last season.
That means a signature victory on Sunday, if the 7.5-point underdog Giants can pull it off, could be a critical turning point for the Giants. Or, a loss could lead them further down the road to one of those all-too-familiar lengthy losing streaks.
Of course, McAdoo isn’t biting when it comes to attaching any special significance to Sunday night’s game.
“This is one of 16. We’re going to treat it the same. We have the same focus and same intensity going into each and every game. This is one of 16,” he said. “It just so happens we’re coming off two games that we’d like to have back. We ran out of time in a couple games. We need to put our best foot forward this week.”
Can the Giants defeat the Packers on Sunday night? Perhaps. As we have discussed throughout the week the Giants have yet to play up to their potential offensively. They have yet to really find a consistent pass rush defensively, or the ability to create turnovers. They have been committing too many penalties and turning the ball over too many times themselves.
In short, they have yet to play a truly complete, consistent game.
That could happen on Sunday. Nearly four full years of history, though, tell us it probably won’t. In terms of predicting whether or not the Giants can win a game like the one they face Sunday night in Green Bay, it is really impossible to pick the Giants to win until they actually prove that they can. The Giants have had a number of opportunities in recent years in similar situations, coming up short every time.
More than likely, they come up short again Sunday night.
Prediction: Packers 37, Giants 30