There is a media and fan narrative that the New York Giants are ‘playing with house money’ as they enter the 2023 NFC playoffs. That the season has already been a success and that they don’t need a playoff victory to validate what has been a good season regardless of what happens in the playoffs.
The Giants don’t want to hear that.
“No, obviously when you get in the playoffs it’s a new season. Anything can happen when you get in, and we’re in, so we don’t look at it as that. We see it as another game that we have to go in there and be 1-0,” said safety Xavier McKinney. “You’ve got to be 1-0 to get to the next round and if you don’t then you’re eliminated. We don’t care about house money, I don’t even know what that really is, but we’re just going out there and playing and trying to get a win.”
Safety Julian Love echoed McKinney.
“That’s an outside of the building type of phrase or topic,” Love said. “I feel like early on we had so much confidence in who we were. Dabs said it from day one – we’re going to be humble about it and we’re going to go about our work while everybody sleeps on us. We take it one week at a time. We know it’s never going to be perfect. We’re going to continue to be who we are.”
Quarterback Daniel Jones said the Giants want more.
“I think we’re definitely not satisfied just to have made the playoffs. That’s not how we see it as a group,” Jones said. “We were confident in our team dating back to training camp and knew what we were able to accomplish. We’re by no means satisfied just to be in the playoffs. We expect to play well and to win. And that’s our expectation every week; that doesn’t change this week.”
Offensive lineman Nick Gates was another Giant not having the ‘house money’ theory.
“I don’t think anybody thinks of it that way, actually,” Gates said. “We’ve still got another ball game — try to win it. You still want to win ball games, no matter when it is. Now it’s just a little sweeter if you do. If you don’t win, you go home.”
Head coach Brian Daboll, of course, is also not entertaining the ‘house money’ theory.
“I’d say we’re 0-0,” Daboll said. “It’s a new season, so we got to do a good job of preparing and practicing the right way to play our best on Sunday.”
Long time coming
For many Giants drafted by the organization or with the team for several years now, being in the playoffs is a gratifying experience after a number of down year.
“It’s a great feeling,” Gates said. “I’ve never been before. It’s been five years. I was starting to think I might not make it.”
“Everybody is excited. I’ve been at home at this point in the season so it’s exciting to be here,” said Love, in his fourth season. “A lot more of you guys, media, walked out to practice but other than that, it’s the same. We’re just practicing, our same routine, our same schedule and we’re going at it in the same way we’ve always done.”
Oshane Ximines is another fourth-year player experiencing the playoffs for the first time.
“I’m super-excited,” he said. “Coming in in 2019, it’s been a long journey. Finally reap some rewards and get into postseason play. It’s a big deal.”
Yes, it is. Just don’t tell the Giants their work is already done.