Giants playoff aspirations tougher after back-to-back losses

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, in Arlington, Texas.
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

On Sunday when the Giants woke up on a rare day they weren’t playing, New York’s playoff hopes were still alive, but a bit murkier than they had been a week ago. 

A pair of consecutive losses to the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys have made things a bit tougher on the Giants, who are looking for their first trip to the playoffs since 2016. Going into Sunday’s slate of games, the Giants had a 61% chance of making the postseason, according to the New York Times’ NFL playoff simulator

That was down from the 67% chance they had before their Thanksgiving day loss to the Cowboys. At 7-4, the Giants are setting up to play meaningful football in the month of December. 

They’ll face the surprise Washington Commanders, who have won three straight games which include wins over the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, in two of their next three games. In between that, they’ll face their NFC East rival the Eagles. 

All of that sets up for a crucial stretch for the Giants and their playoff aspirations. 

“The whole season obviously is in front of you right now. We have a long way to go,” Giants head coach Brian Daboll said. “Obviously, the rest of December here and the early part of January. So, we have to focus on getting ready to play Washington, but you’re sitting at 7-4. You put yourself in a position to play meaningful games in December, which is important. Last year (in Buffalo), I think we were 7-6 after 13 games.

New York Giants safety Julian Love (20) celebrates with Dane Belton (24) after intercepting a pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022, in Arlington, Texas.AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

“Look, anything can happen in this league. I’ve said it before, it’s a humbling league. You can be on the top of the mountain one week and fall off the next week. The biggest thing for us is to remain consistent in the things that we try to do each week to give ourselves the best chance to win. Do they always work? No, but I think a consistent approach is the best approach.”

Focusing on things one week at a time has been the Giants’ mantra this season since Daboll took over and it helped lead them to start the year off in a position that no one had predicted. Still, New York likely had its eye on the slate of games going on on Sunday. 

For instance, going into Sunday’s slate of games, the Giants held the second wild card spot in the NFC, but a win by the Seattle Seahawks would drop them down to fourth. 

The back-to-back losses haven’t withered the Giants’ spirits by any stretch despite it marking the first time this season that they’ve lost consecutive games. 

“We’ve got a really good opportunity going forward,” Daniel Jones said after Thursday’s loss. “We know that we have some big games down the stretch, and we put ourselves in a good position. We’ve got to heal up and take advantage of this long week and get back and learn what we’ve got to learn off this film. We’re still confident. We’re 7-4. We’ve got a lot still to accomplish.”

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When the Giants take the field again next Sunday, nine days will have passed between games. Something that may not be a bad thing, according to Kayvon Thibodeaux. 

“For me, you put the ball down on any day and we will go play,” Thibodeaux said. “This will definitely be good for us to get healthy, but we are going to be ready when the time comes.”

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