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New York Giants’ news, 1/4: Eli Manning — playoffs are “special”

Quarterback appreciates the chance more now, and other Giants headlines

NFL: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time when Eli Manning took the playoffs for granted. After all, the New York Giants made the postseason in each of Manning’s first four seasons as a full-time starter, with a Super Bowl title in 2007.

Then came a stretch of seven seasons from 2009-2015 that saw the Giants make the playoffs only once, albeit winning the Super Bowl in 2011 when they did qualify. Manning, who turned 36 on Tuesday, doesn’t take the postseason as a given any longer.

“You know how these last couple years have been a great reminder of how difficult it is to make the playoffs and you want to take advantage of every opportunity that you get to make them because you don’t know if, when you get another chance,” Manning said. “I guess early on in your career you think you kind of know that, but until you get into your later years and you just don’t know if you will get that opportunity again, so you want to give it your all, give it your best like you always do, but just understand that it is special to get here and you want to try and make a run when you can.”

Manning isn’t so sure there is such a thing as “Playoff Eli.”

“I think I am the same quarterback. You get opportunities and you make plays and I took advantage of the opportunities and the timing of the plays, so I have to go out there and just do my job,” he said. “I always expect to go out there and play well and play at a high level and make plays and run an efficient offense.”

Janoris Jenkins won’t say Giants have best “D”

Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins wouldn’t bite Tuesday when asked if the Giants had the league’s best defense.

“I don’t know. You tell me. When you tell me, then I’ll go with that. Until then, we still have room for improvement, and to get better,” Jackrabbit said. “Like coach tells us every day, we’re still not where we want to be. We will go from there.”

Jenkins, of course, missed the Week 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a bruised back and left Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins after only 23 snaps. He said Tuesday that his health was “great.”

Jonathan Casillas: Giants ready for the road

The Giants will be on the road Sunday and, should they advance, almost certainly throughout the playoffs. Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas believes the Giants are ready for that.

“It was a good game for us against Washington to go out there and play a team like that, fighting for their whole season that's on the line and their playoff destiny,” Casillas said. “We got their shot. It was a little one-sided in the beginning, and then it came up to be a game like everybody would have thought it would have been. It ended up being a one or two possession game at the end of it, and that right there is going to help us and give us some momentum and prepare us for what we're going to face.

“You can't replicate 10 degrees, you can't do that, you can't replicate playing against a guy like Aaron Rodgers as well. Good thing that we've played up there before this year and we've had some experience against them. It's going to a road, it's going to be a long journey to get to where we want to get to and it's going to be away from MetLife, away from New Jersey, but I think we're ready for it.”