The New York Giants might not want to hear the ‘p word,’ but their 6-1 record through seven weeks is the second-best in the NFL and they are now expected — yes, expected — by analytical models to make the playoffs.
- FiveThirtyEight has the Giants finishing 11-6 and gives them an 86 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- Team Rankings gives the Giants an 88.1 percent chance of making the playoffs. Its model projects 11.1 victories.
- ESPN’s Football Power Index also projects 11.1 victories and puts the Giants’ chance of making the playoffs at 91.7 percent.
- Football Outsiders has the Giants with a 77.7 percent chance of making the playoffs. FO is projecting 10.5 wins.
- The New York Times playoff predictor gives the Giants an 86 percent chance of reaching the postseason.
You get the point. A week ago, only 28 percent of ‘SB Nation Reacts’ voters said the Giants had to make the playoffs for the season to be a success. Maybe you thought it was too early when BBV’s Tony DelGenio raised the playoff possibility a couple of weeks ago. Maybe you still think it’s too early. Maybe — no, probably — it is too early. There are, after all, 10 games to play. The Giants’ final seven games — Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders twice, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts — will tell us a great deal about how good this team really is.
Still, the playoff discussion and expectation for the Giants is now out there.
The Giants are doing their best to tune it out.
“We’re just trying to get better each week, day by day,” cornerback Adoree’ Jackson said on Monday. “Even though we do win, there are a lot of corrections that need to be made. For us, we understand that it’s a long season, and we’re just trying to be 1-0.”
A lesson from defensive tackle Justin Ellis resonates.
“I think it’s pretty easy not to look too far ahead,” Jackson said. “I remember talking to Jelly, [Justin Ellis] about when he was in Baltimore and they started off 8-2 [actually 8-3], and they didn’t make the playoffs. To have that in perspective and understand that it doesn’t really matter how you start; it’s really about how you finish.”
Jackson was part of a Tennessee Titans team in 2019 that started the season 2-4 and still reached the AFC title game.
“You just never know how this league may go,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to get wins. It’s hard to collect them. We’re just trying to keep stacking those wins and keep coming into work each day and trying to get better.”
Head coach Brian Daboll has preached a one day at a time message all season. He repeated it on Monday.
“Focus on the process. Again, I know I sound like a broken record, but this league humbles you very quickly,” Daboll said. “As soon as you’re done with this game and as soon as Mondays are over, you put it to bed, and you get focused on your next opponent. Which, they’re all good in this league. Every game is hard, you’re going to get everybody’s best each week regardless of what your record is. You continue to prepare the way you know how to prepare to try to put yourself in the best position you can. That’s really all it is.
“Focusing on things that happened in the past don’t do you any good, you’ve got to learn from them. Thinking about things that could happen in the future do you no good because you better stay right in the present and focus on the things that you can control. That’s something that I’ve preached to our players, to our staff, to myself. I think that takes discipline and it takes a consistent approach to do that each day.”
Still, the ‘p word’ is now part of the discussion for the 2022 Giants. Nobody saw that coming.