EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — At least now the Giants don’t have to root for the Cowboys.
After Tampa Bay lost to New Orleans on Saturday, New York advanced to the playoffs. Had the Bucs won, the Giants would have needed their archrival from Dallas to beat Detroit on Monday night to secure a postseason berth.
Instead, the Giants (10-5) are in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they won the Super Bowl. They must wait until after the regular season finales to find out where they will head on Jan. 7 or 8 for a wild-card game. [restrict]
“There is a process in progressing to your ultimate objective,” said coach Ben McAdoo, who replaced Tom Coughlin this year. “This is the next step in the process. But each step requires focus on the task at hand, and our focus right now is on learning from Thursday night’s (loss at Philadelphia) and moving on and getting better.”
This will be the Giants’ 32nd postseason appearance, tying them with Dallas for the most in NFL history. The Packers will also participate in their 32nd postseason should they qualify.
New York could face Green Bay, which it lost to on Oct. 9, or Detroit, which it beat on Dec. 18. It could also be at Atlanta or Seattle, neither of which it played this season.
The Giants need their offense to come alive. Eli Manning has been inconsistent, often rescued by the super pass-catching and tackle-avoiding skills of Odell Beckham Jr. The running attack has improved recently, but it was so weak for much of the schedule that it had nowhere else to go but up.
Offensive line is the weakest spot on the roster, forcing Manning to throw too many times before he has wanted.
But as in their 2007 and 2011 championship seasons, the Giants have developed a dynamic pass rush, even without star DE Jason Pierre-Paul. Their secondary, a question mark when the season began, has become a strength as safety Landon Collins blossomed into a Pro Bowler and cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have performed well. [/restrict]