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Giants downplay commanders play as a must-have

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LANDOVER, MD. – Say it.

That’s pretty much what inquisitive minds wanted to coax to the Giants last week.

Say it’s a must play. Say if you win it you’ll be in the playoffs. Or, if you prefer the flip side, say if you lose it, you can say goodbye to the playoffs.

Say it’s the most important game you’ve ever played. Say that you did some very special things to prepare, that you will be more excited and amplified than ever, and that all is lost if you come out of this field on the wrong side of the final score.

Say it.

“I can’t say that, because if we lose, we still play the next week, and if we win, it’s not guaranteed that we’ll make the playoffs,” defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence said. .

Try to get coach Brian Daboll to take Sunday night’s game against the Commanders at FedEx Field and take it to the next level and win a prize. He wouldn’t – not publicly, anyway.

Does this game mean more than the others?

Giants head coach Brian Daboll speaks to the media Friday, Dec. 21.  16, 2022.
Giants head coach Brian Daboll speaks to the media Friday, Dec. 21. 16, 2022.
Robert Sabo/New York Post

“They all mean something,” Daboll said. “Winning means something, losing means something. Two teams that have winning records are in the division battling it out. I think everyone understands that this match is important. The last game was important. Week 3 was important. I think you just have to stick with this consistent approach.

Will player performance in this game resonate more with regard to their future than in other games?

“I think every game does that,” Daboll said. “Listen, every game is critical. There are only 17 in this league. There are not 82 or 160, how many in baseball? Every game is critical, so you have to approach it that way.

Finally… is this a “must-win” game?

“I see every game as a game to win,” he said. That’s why you’re going to play them. It’s the next game, it’s important, it’s against a division team. We have to go out there and play well.

Saquon Barkley acknowledged, “I understand the magnitude of the game and I understand it’s a big game,” but stopped short of calling it the biggest game of his career.

“I wouldn’t say that,” he said.

The math of the moment indicates what this game means. The Giants and Commanders own matching records of 7-5-1, meeting two weeks after their 20-20 draw at MetLife Stadium. Last week, the Commanders rested on their bye as the Giants were smoked by the Eagles, 48-22. So, that could be an advantage for the home team this time around.

Right now, the Commanders (#6) and Giants (#7) would both be in the playoffs if the season ended today, as both teams were helped by the Seahawks (7-7 ) losing Thursday night to the 49ers. No matter what happens in this game – flagged to Sunday night due to playoff ramifications – the loser will still be able to make the playoffs without the need for outside help.

The Giants and Commanders finished tied the last time the two teams met on Dec. 21.  4 at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants and Commanders finished tied the last time the two teams met on Dec. 21. 4 at MetLife Stadium.
Bill Kostrun/New York Post

Daniel Jones was one of the few players to express the importance of the moment: “Yeah, I think it’s a really big game for all of us. It’s a big division game on the road in December. Yes, it’s a big game for us.

It’s actually easy for the Giants to brush aside the most recent dominance of an NFC East opponent (Eagles) to try and squeeze the most out of a tie that looked like a loss two weeks ago. Interestingly, Daboll noted that it’s not only necessary to study what went right or wrong in this game, but also to project what the Giants didn’t do and maybe should. -be this time.

“You come back, you look at the things you maybe didn’t call in the first game,” Daboll said. “You sit down, maybe there are things that come to mind that probably should have been put in the opener.”

The Giants were happy with the way they battled Taylor Heinicke in the first meeting, sacked him five times and scored 10 quarterback hits. Now they aim again.

“I know they expect us as much as we expect them,” rookie outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux said. “I feel like because we just played them, and they haven’t seen anyone yet, all they’ve done is lick their chops. Being able to meet at this point, unlock those doors, is going to be really fun.

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