If the Giants win one of their final two regular season games, starting with Sunday’s home finale against the Indianapolis Colts, they’re in the playoffs.
“Everybody knows what the game is this week,” head coach Brian Daboll said on a Monday Zoom.
If the Giants (8-6-1) lose to both the Colts on New Year’s Day and the Philadelphia Eagles on the road in Week 18, they can still get in if other teams keep losing, too, because an 8-8-1 final Giants record would trump anyone’s 8-9.
It is imperative that Daboll’s team takes care of business and controls its own fate, however, even if FiveThirtyEight.com is giving them an 89% of making the postseason.
As Daboll said Monday: “We’re not in it yet.” And there are some slippery scenarios that could flip an overachieving first season under Daboll into a catastrophic collapse.
With two weeks left in the 2022 NFL regular season, the final two NFC Wild Card playoff seeds at Nos. 6 and 7 are up for grabs.
The Washington Commanders (7-7-1), Seattle Seahawks (7-8), Detroit Lions (7-8), Green Bay Packers (7-8) all can still overtake the Giants if Daboll’s team loses out.
The Commanders are home against the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys. The Seahawks are home against the Jets and L.A. Rams. The Lions host the Bears and then finish on the road at the Packers, while Green Bay hosts the Vikings before Chicago comes to town.
If two of those teams wins out, and the Giants lose out, Daboll’s team will be eliminated.
Beating the Colts and clinching on Sunday feels extra important, as well, because there is a scenario in which the Eagles might not be resting their starters for the Giants’ Week 18 visit to South Philly.
Philly hasn’t clinched the NFC East yet, let alone home field in the NFC playoffs. They have a favorable matchup at home with the New Orleans Saints this week, but starting quarterback Jalen Hurts is injured and iffy for a second straight week.
And if they lose that game, the Eagles could have everything on the line to beat the Giants in the regular season finale. It would also depend on some combinations of wins with the Vikings (12-3) beating the Packers, the Cowboys (11-4) winning at the Titans or the San Francisco 49ers (11-4) winning at the Las Vegas Raiders with a Week 18 cupcake against the Arizona Cardinals to go.
At least for the Giants’ sake, no team in the lowly NFC South can catch them for a Wild Card. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-8) are the only team with a chance to get to nine wins, but in that scenario, the Bucs would simply win their division and be the No. 4 seed.
The simplest solution is one win, because a 9-7-1 Giants final record would win the tiebreaker over the Commanders due to a head-to-head victory and against any other foe due – that’s right – to the Giants’ tie.
For the same reason, an 8-8-1 final record could get the Giants in if the Commanders, Seahawks, Lions and Packers keep losing and end up in a tiebreak scenario with Daboll’s club.
“I’m not gonna try to look too far down the road,” Daboll said.
A wise move. Disaster lurks in the hypotheticals, especially since missing the playoffs would mean the Giants had finished the season with a 1-6-1 record in their final eight.
The clearest path to success lies in taking care of business on Sunday.
That is what the Giants must do.
Daboll said there is a chance that top corner Adoree Jackson (knee) could do more at practice this week, but he could say if Jackson would be able to play. He has missed five straight games since he sprained his right MCL when Daboll used him as a punt returner … There is no reason to believe safety Xavier McKinney (left hand) would be able to avoid missing an eighth straight game. Daboll had no information or update. The Giants will hold a closed walkthrough practice Tuesday and then let the media in for a viewing period on Wednesday … The Colts hosted the L.A. Chargers on Monday Night Football, so they will be traveling to face the Giants on a short week … Daboll gave credit to VP of security Jerry Meade, team security coordinator Jim Ryan and director of coaching operations Laura Young for being efficient in their communications and protocols to ensure all players and staff were safe during Friday night’s lockdown at Minnesota’s Mall of America where a teenager was shot and killed. Daboll said he didn’t believe any Giants player or staff member was ever in real danger, fortunately.