Good morning, New York Giants fans!
Per FiveThirtyEight, the 8-5-1 Giants’ odds of reaching the playoffs increased from 52 percent to 87 percent with their thrilling victory. ESPN Analytics put the Giants’ chance of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2016 at 90 percent.
The Giants can, in fact, clinch a playoff spot next weekend. If the Giants beat the Vikings and Washington, Seattle, and Detroit all lose, the Giants would clinch a playoff spot. Washington faces the San Francisco 49ers, the Seahawks meet the Kansas City Chiefs and the Lions face the Carolina Panthers.
From Big Blue View
- Giants-Vikings odds: New York slight underdogs once again
- Giants’ coach Brian Daboll goes for the goatee, and now we’re stuck with it
- What can we learn from Giants’ PFF grades, snap counts vs. Commanders?
- Giants-Commanders ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’: Lots of credit to go around after key victory
- 4 Downs: Takeaways from Giants at Commanders
- Giants-Commanders ‘things I think’: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Daniel Jones, more
- Giants at Commanders: Stats and analytics from the Giants’ win over Washington
- Giants-Commanders: 5 plays that led to the Giants’ victory
Other Giant observations
“We needed our big-time players to make big plays, and you see a lot of those guys stepped up,” running back Saquon Barkley said. “You see (quarterback) Daniel (Jones), (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), (defensive tackle) Dex (Lawrence), (defensive tackle) Leo (Williams). All those guys stepped up and made big plays.”
Former Giants wide receiver says RB Saquon Barkley deserves that bag
It wasn’t hard to imagine this team being eliminated from the playoffs by December, trading Saquon Barkley at the trade deadline, and letting Daniel Jones leave this offseason. And yet the Giants’ surprising success means the team may have hit a tipping point on Sunday night. Not only have the Giants found their brain trust in Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen, but Jones seems more likely than ever to return as the team’s starting quarterback, and Saquon seems like a no-brainer to return on the franchise tag. The Giants aren’t just on the verge of securing a playoff spot, they have an identity forming around the core players on this team.
Despite the relatively sluggish start to Jones’ career and Barkley’s extensive injury history, the idea of keeping them both for at least one more season seemed prudent. However, the path next year seems murkier today than it did during the first half of the season.
Daboll and new general manager Joe Schoen have done the best possible job they could do with the roster they inherited. They should find out over the next few weeks whether the current construction is capable of becoming a consistent competitor or worthy of deconstruction. The most likely path forward is one of a slight teardown and a quick rebuild after paying for the sins of general managers past.
Winner: Daniel Jones. The Giants quarterback didn’t necessarily play a huge role in New York’s 20-12 win on Sunday, but he did get a huge monkey off his back by finally winning his FIRST primetime game. Going into Week 15, Jones was a brutal 0-9 in night games. He should probably make sure to send a few Christmas gifts to the Giants defense for making sure his winless streak came to an end. The defense forced two turnovers and even scored a TD in the win over Washington.
The Giants ended their 11-game losing streak in prime-time games. They had last won a night game at San Francisco (27-23) on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, and had not won a Sunday night game since Oct. 15, 2017, a 23-10 triumph in Denver. The Giants improved to 23-31-1 on Sunday night, including 12-18-1 on the road, 4-3-1 vs. Washington and 3-1-1 in Washington.
“The most dominant player on the field all day yesterday”
.@Giants @kayvont with his best game of his young career. Yo, Giant fans…it’s only a game…but kinda reminded you of another Bolt of Destruction off the edge in another lifetime #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/Vy2pAHsVbS— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) December 19, 2022
Using ESPN's traditional IDP scoring system, Kayvon Thibodeaux scored 39.75 fantasy points last night, the most by any IDP in a game all season. It's also the most by any rookie IDP in a game since DeMeco Ryans scored 43.25 in Week 13 of the 2006 season.
For the first time since the Week 8 loss in Seattle, Collins got a uniform on game day and he helped the Giants beat the Commanders 20-12 Sunday at FedEx Field. He ran down on special teams on the opening kickoff and filled a role on defense, used as a hybrid safety/linebacker against his former team. He also was used as an inside linebacker in the base defense in the second half. In the second quarter, Collins stopped Brian Robinson for no gain.
“It was frustrating, knowing I can help,’’ Collins said of remaining on the practice squad for so many weeks. “Just glad I got the opportunity, I would have liked it to be earlier.’’
Giants head coach Brian Daboll spoke to reporters via Zoom on Monday following the team’s 20-12 win over the Washington Commanders on Sunday night, and noted that the team will discuss veteran Landon Collins’ spot on the roster going forward at some point during the week.
“That’s something Joe (Schoen) and I will talk about, not just about Landon, but with all the individuals we do each week. We haven’t had the chance to sit down and discuss those things. But certainly that topic, amongst probably a bunch of other ones like they do each week come up, we’ll talk about it.”
A team has to hang its hat on something and the Giants do not do much exceedingly well. Here is something that looks like a keeper: Their ability to apply pressure on defense up front, when needed.
The Giants would not have won if Dexter Lawrence and Azeez Ojulari had not met at the quarterback — wrong place at the wrong time Taylor Heinicke — midway through the fourth quarter. The Giants were clinging to a 17-12 lead and it was not going to stay that way much longer, not with the Commanders on the Giants’ 5-yard line. Lawrence and Ojulari both put a hit on Heinicke and it was Lawrence who separated Heinicke from the football. Leonard Williams fell on the ball and the Commanders were thwarted.
Kayvon Thibodeaux couldn’t believe his stat line either
Was it pass interference? Well, nobody could’ve argued if the officials threw a flag — and maybe they should’ve thrown it. But they didn’t. And so Holmes grabbed the ball, ran toward the Giants’ sideline, and never looked back.
“I’m the type of guy who loves to be on an island — and that’s just what that was,” Holmes said afterward. “I feel like those things are destined for me. Every time I hit that field, I tell myself I’m a closer and I’m an eraser. I wasn’t thinking about: ‘Don’t foul him.’ It was: ‘Make a play on the ball.’”
The Giants needed a win in the worst kind of way on Sunday night and the defense made sure that it happened. The defense put together one of its most impressive performances of the season. The unit put constant pressure on Taylor Heinicke, who was sacked three times in the game. Kayvon Thibodeaux came up with arguably the biggest play of the night when he strip-sacked Heinicke in the second quarter and returned it for a TD. Whenever the Giants needed a big play, the defense came through with it. The offense wasn’t overly impressive, but Saquon Barkley did do a good job of chewing up the clock on a night where he average 4.83 yards per carry. The Giants defense looks playoff ready and thanks to this win, New York took one GIANT step closer to getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2016.
This week’s opponent
Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson has absorbed three illegal hits this month, including two in Saturday’s historic comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts, and the team is growing increasingly suspicious about it.
Coach Kevin O’Connell has brought it up, unprompted, twice in the past three days. Speaking Monday to reporters, O’Connell said sarcastically that Jefferson had “surprisingly” taken several shots from Colts players.
He added: “Clearly there is an emphasis on the teams we’re playing. Some of those hits, they don’t just seem to be by accident at times.”
The Vikings currently sit in the #2 spot in the NFC, but the San Francisco 49ers are hot on their heels, just one game back. If the Vikings and 49ers were to end up tied at the end of the season, the Niners would get a higher seed based on a superior conference record. That means the Vikings just need to keep on winning.
For those of you that are attending the game, the Vikings are going for what they’re calling a “whiteout,” which means that they want as many people wearing white in the stands as possible.
When the Vikings went into their locker room, they needed some form of inspiration. Enter cornerback Patrick Peterson.
"I'll never forget it as long as I live," Head Coach Kevin O'Connell said. "I addressed the team before we went back out there. I overheard [Patrick] walk over towards the offense, 'We're going to get stops, you just need five touchdowns. That's nothing.' It was a nice little moment for me to lead right from. I said, 'Pat, you're exactly right.' That's what we needed at the time."
Around the league
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has a sprained right shoulder, but John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that X-rays were negative and an MRI confirmed it was only a sprain. Hurts’ availability for Saturday’s game against the Cowboys is in doubt, and coach Mike McCarthy said the team is preparing for Hurts and Gardner Minshew.
The Eagles need only one win in their final three games to clinch the division and the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
It comes as rookie receiver Romeo Doubs is set to return from his ankle injury, putting the Packers receiver group back at full strength. The Packers want to see what Doubs and fellow rookie Christian Watson can do together. As a tandem, they've been on the field together for only 52 snaps this season. Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard also are healthy.
Head coach Robert Saleh said as much Monday, telling reporters he isn't prepared to say who will start under center if White, who is still getting tests done for his rib injury, is cleared to participate.
"I don't really have a timeframe for this one," Saleh said. "The good thing is that's all walk-through and just like last week, he is cleared to practice, walk through and do everything. So he's going to participate as he normally would.
The Jaguars are trying to win the AFC South and their bid will have to unfold without the assistance of left tackle Cam Robinson. Head coach Doug Pederson said at his Monday press conference that Robinson is probably going to miss the rest of the season after hurting his knee in Sunday’s win over the Cowboys. Robinson suffered a torn meniscus.
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