There probably aren’t many people who have accused Joe Judge of being mean, or miserly, or even a scrooge, but the New York Giants’ head coach doesn’t seem to be in the Christmas spirit much as his squad prepares for a Week 16 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
“With all due respect to Christmas, let’s forget about Christmas for a little while and focus on the Ravens,” he said on NFL Network Wednesday morning.
It’s understandable if Judge and the Giants are looking past the holiday, even if their game is two days later. With just two games remaining, the 5-9 team sits one game behind the Washington Football Team for first place in the NFC East.
Winning the division is the only way the first-year coach can get his team to the postseason given the wretched output from Washington, the Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles.
Regardless, they’re in contention much later than anyone expected this season, and that’s something Judge realizes as he continues to lay the foundation for a prosperous future.
“There may be a time that we talk about [winning the division] in the future, possibly, based on what the situation is,” Judge said (h/t ESPN). “That being said, it’s always been my belief to keep focused on what you’re doing right now. We can’t do anything about Dallas [in Week 17] right now. That’s a week away. We can only control Baltimore. Anything that may or may not come after that doesn’t even exist yet. Wasting mental energy and focus on something that doesn’t exist, to me, is just wasted time.”
They’re the underdogs heading into Sunday afternoon’s matchup as the Ravens are currently riding a three-game winning streak following a severe run-in with COVID-19. Amongst those impacted by the virus was star quarterback and reigning league MVP, Lamar Jackson.
Playing hosts on Sunday, this is a must-win game for Baltimore as it sits in third place in the AFC North behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. They are currently on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture with the Miami Dolphins, also at 9-5 and second in the AFC East, holding the last spot in the expanded postseason picture that permits seven teams entry this season.