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NFC playoff picture: Don’t tell Saquon Barkley Giants aren’t in the race

Barkley knows the math, but says he still believes

NFL: New York Jets at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t tell Saquon Barkley that projections from places like ESPN’s Football Power Index and Team Rankings give the 4-8 New York Giants less than a 1% chance of reaching the NFC playoffs.

“We’re in this, to be honest,” Barkley said. “I’m going to keep it real. We’re not looking too far, we’re not looking in on the hunt or the playoff pictures, but we take care of what we’ve got to take care of, everyone can say what they want about the season, but it’s week whatever and everything we want is still there. So, we don’t need any extra motivation. Every game is a critical game no matter what, but especially now.

“So, Monday night, you’ve got a team who’s hot. I think they what, won the last three or four games? And we won our last two games. No more excuses. Tommy DeVito is not a rookie quarterback anymore. He’s going into his fourth start. Injuries, we’ve got guys getting healthier. Everything we want is there. So, we were a team last year that was able to find a way to make it into the playoffs, and that’s still our goal. Every team’s goal at the beginning of the season is to make it to the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl, and statistically and mathematically we’re still in it.”

Realistically, the Giants are currently seeded No. 11 in the NFC. The 6-6 Green Bay Packers, Monday night’s opponent, hold the seventh and final playoff spot. Barkley, though, doesn’t want to hear about the Giants being the longest of long shots.

“I’ve been saying it, and I always believe it. I know it sounds like we talk all the time, and it just sounds like I’m just beating a dead horse when I’m saying it, but I truly, truly believe that,” Barkley said of being in the playoff hunt. “I’m one of those guys that if I’m in a fight and I got my butt kicked for 11 rounds, the 12th round, in my head, if I still compete, if I could knock you out and get the win, then that’s how it’s going to happen. So, I kept saying until we’re completely out of this thing I still believe. Even when you’re out of this thing, you’ve still got a job to do. It’s not too hard to look at. I don’t think it’s too hard to figure it out. That’s how I look at it and that’s what I firmly believe in.”

Walter Payton Award nomination

Barkley is the Giants’ Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee for the second time. Here was his reaction:

“Awesome. This is my second year being nominated. It’s an honor. One of 32 men in the NFL to get nominated for that award, it’s truly a blessing. Being a running back, being a fan of the history of the game, learning about (Hall of Fame running back) Walter Payton, knowing his legacy on the field and off the field, and getting to spend time with some of the Payton family last year because I was nominated. Like I said, it’s truly an honor and it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing to be – you want to win that award but it’s a hard award to win because it’s 31 other guys doing just as good as your doing. When you’ve got 32 guys, and even more, doing spectacular things in the community, it’s not a bad thing.”