For the New York Giants, it's simple, win your last two games and you're in the playoffs. Though the concept is straightforward, it won't exactly be easy. The Giants face the Baltimore Ravens (9-5), a team loaded with talent, and the Philadelphia Eagles, who despite having a 4-10 record, will be looking to spoil their division rival's season. For Big Blue, it will be a challenge, but one they're certainly up for.
"This is an opportunity you ask for. A situation you want to be in," quarterback Eli Manning said. "We like our chances. We know what we have to do and it's right in front of us, and we have to go win this game this week."
The Giants don't control their own destiny in terms of winning the division, though it's still possible. However, the Giants can clinch a wildcard spot by winning out. If they were to lose one of the next two games, there are still several scenarios that would result in them making the playoffs, but would need other teams to lose.
This is a situation the Giants are accustomed to being in. Last season, the Giants needed to beat the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys in their last two games to advance to the postseason. They would go on to defeat both teams and wound up winning the Super Bowl. However, the players don't find that experience to be comforting.
"Everything is different year to year, and though we've been in this circumstance before, we just can't rely on just kind of turning it on," defensive tackle Chris Canty said. "We have to make sure we continue to go back to work and continue to prepare. Bring more effort and more energy and focus on the details so we can put ourselves in the absolute best position for Sunday."
If the season had ended last week after the team's debacle in Atlanta, the Giants would not qualify for the playoffs. But for head coach Tom Coughlin, the next two games give the team a sense of "hope."
"Hope is the word. Hope is a nice word," Coughlin said. "When you create the scenario of hope, hopefully it's going to be an uplifting thing, and when we do come back on Wednesday we realize where we are and there's a little bounce in our step and we get back to work."
Canty knows the defense needs to improve for the next two games if the team wants to return to championship form.
"We need to be more physical. We're not knocking anybody back right now. We're not shedding blockers," Canty said. "We're not tackling. I think we said we had 18 missed tackles yesterday. That's not championship defense."
Those who watch Giants football know the team plays better, and collectively step up when their backs are against the wall. We'll see if the Giants can repeat last year's late season success.
Also…Chris Canty, Eli Manning, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin