Giants excited for national spotlight, but won’t let it impact focus

Giants Kayvon Thibodeaux
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Kayvon Thibodeaux smirked and winked after the Giants’ edge rusher answered a reporter who had asked if he likes playing in primetime. 

Thibodeaux response? “Primetime likes me.”

Whether that statement holds true will come on Sunday night when the Giants and Washington Commanders square off for the second time in the past three weeks on Sunday Night Football. The primetime matchup is just the Giants’ second of the season after they hosted the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in Week 3. 

But with the playoff implications on the line, Sunday’s tilt was flexed into the spotlight of a national television audience.

“Primetime is always a great time to go out there and play,” Thibodeaux said. “There’s always say about who’s the best and who can do this and who can do that. And you know, one thing that never deceives is your eyes, right, being able to see it. So, yeah, having all the fans watching that’ll be fun.” 

Thibodeaux’s excitement for the game is one that seemed to be felt inside the Giants’ locker room, but that didn’t mean they had taken their eyes off of the bigger picture or had lost sight of the principles that head coach Brian Daboll had preached all season. 

“I’m such a smart guy, but I try to dumb it down like I played D-line,” Thibodeaux said. “So all I can do is contribute you know, how I can and most of my teammates feel the same way. We’re not even getting in over our heads about this game. We realize that what helped us win those first seven games, is what’s gonna help us continue to win. We just gotta get back to that and get back to playing and showing our swagger. Showing our personality. Things are gonna be fine.”

Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4), center, throws under pressure from New York Giants’ defenders during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.AP Photo/John Minchillo

The Giants have dropped three of their last four games and tied the Commanders the last time these two teams met. Their current slump has put the team in a precarious spot as they try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. 

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New York’s playoff chances have dipped to 57.8%, according to CBS sports heading into Week 14 and a loss could further impact that after Washington and Seattle both find themselves in the final playoff spots in the NFC. 

“It’s understood. I think for people that have been in this position or when the stakes are this high, yeah, you want to stress it,” Julian Love said when asked if the importance was understood. “You want stress really just the process and make sure we’re fine on the details in practice. I think that’s what the message was after the game. That’s what the message was all week. We gotta have a clean week of practice so we can execute on Sunday.”