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Giants secondary all too familiar with challenges of trying to contain Justin Jefferson

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Giants
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates after catching a pass for a first down during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Minneapolis.
AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There won’t be any surprises for the Giants when they face the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday in the playoffs. They know the offensive threat that Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson poses because they lived it a little more than two weeks ago. 

In the Giants’ Christmas Eve loss to the same Vikings, Jefferson had a game-high 133 receiving yards and a touchdown on 12 receptions. Even going into that matchup Jefferson’s skillset wasn’t exactly a shock to the Giants.

“He’s really good. But we knew that going in,” Daboll said. “There’s not a lot of teams or a lot of players that can just stop him. He’s one of the best in the league. He’s a dynamic player. He has got a lot of production. He’s an exceptional route runner. He’s a very tough player to defend.”

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Now the Giants will have to contend with him again in their first playoff appearance since 2016. Butt this time around New York is hoping that they’ll have some help in their secondary that wasn’t there the first time they saw them a few weeks back.

Xavier McKinney is expected to be back for the wild card round and Adoree’ Jackson could be as well. There is still a question mark around his health and he was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice.

McKinney and Jackson’s presence on the field would be a boost for the secondary in trying to contain Jefferson. Jackson was playing at a high level when he got hurt in Week 11 against the Lions and should be able to give Jackson a challenge.

Giants
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a 17-yard touchdown pass ahead of New York Giants cornerback Fabian Moreau (37) during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Minneapolis.AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

“I think for us, we just try to control what we can control,” Jackson said. “That’s our line assignment, technique and just doing our job. You do your job. You know the other guys are doing a good job next to him. Fly as a collective.”

Still, with a player of Jefferson’s ability, McKinney acknowledged that even if he and Jackson are out there, Jefferson can still make plays. 

“They gonna make plays on Sunday. It is what it is,” McKinney said. “When you face another great player, you have to limit them. You can’t really stop them all the way. They’re gonna make some catches that might be crazy. They’re gonna do some things that it’s like,’oh,’ it’s a part of the game. And we know that as (defensive backs). That’s the life of a DB. People are gonna make catches you know, they’re gonna make some plays, but you got to be able to bounce back and keep going.

“That’s what we’re looking to do. We’re gonna do what we can to limit them.”

For more New York Giants news, turn to AMNY.com

When McKinney was asked how you prepare for a game knowing that you have to line up against a player that can always make a play, he reiterated what Jackson had said. The focus for McKinney and his fellow defensive backs is just making sure that everyone is on the same page.

“They trust their technique, so we got to trust ours, so that’s how we go into it, McKinney said.

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