The Giants still control their own playoff destiny and can lock up a playoff berth on Sunday with a win over the Indianapolis Colts. New York can technically clinch with several different scenarios, but the Giants would surely like to just win and get in without relying on someone else to help them out.
That means taking down a Colts team that has lost five straight coming into Sunday’s game. The Giants are coming off a loss as well, dropping a heartbreaking 27-24 game to the Minnesota Vikings that would have punched their ticket to the postseason.
The game will mark the final home game of the year for Big Blue, with the regular season finale taking place down I-95 in Philadelphia. With the importance of Sunday’s game, the Giants are looking not only to put on a good performance to clinch the playoffs, but reward their fans as well.
“They’ve been outstanding. I’m very thankful for all the support that our organization gets, the following,” head coach Brian Daboll said on Monday. “We work extremely hard each week to put a good product on the field, and one of the reasons is for our fanbase. So, to play at home in late December in an important game, it’s important to us. I know it’s important to them. And we’ll do everything we can do to be ready to go.”
Here are three keys for the Giants Week 17 matchup with the Colts.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had one of the best games of the year in the air against the Vikings. Jones threw for 334 yards on Saturday afternoon, which included three passes for 25-plus yards, and completed 30 of his 42 attempts. New York’s offense won’t have much of a challenge against the Colts, who have given up 206 yards per game through the air.
For Jones, it would be another notch in his belt to have a strong showing, and help lead the Giants to a win and a playoff berth. The Giants QB has made a case to stay in East Rutherford after this season and having another strong week where the Giants can attack the air would be a good sign with just one week left in the regular season after Sunday.
Protect the ball
A big emphasis for the Giants this season had been ball protection and New York had done a pretty good job of that this year. However, Week 16 was a rare game where turnover turned the tide of the game. Sloppy mistakes are something that cannot continue to occur after last weekend reminded everyone just how devastating they can be.
It will be a point of emphasis in the lead-up to Sunday’s game. The fumble by Daniel Bellenger was a careless turnover and the interception later in the game — Jones’ first since Week 11 — was a bad throw. While the Colts have struggled this season they are still a team you don’t want to give an opening to keep a game close.
Keep Barkley rolling
The struggles of Saquon Barkley seem to be over and he is returning to the form that made him a pro bowler this season. Barkley is coming off a game in which he had 84 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries and an additional 49 receiving yards. The Giants have seemed more inclined to work him into the passing game and that makes sense since they’ve been so shorthanded at the position.