The New York Giants may not have the most talented or healthiest team, but they do have the most heart courtesy of a phenomenal coaching staff led by Brian Daboll, Wink Martindale, and Mike Kafka.
The Giants expected to be in the first year of a rebuild this season but have now found themselves fighting for an opportunity to push deep into the playoffs and make some unsuspecting noise. Daboll elected to rest all of his starters against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 18, a great decision considering the Los Angeles Chargers lost multiple starters playing in a similar scenario.
Both teams were locked into their respective seed, but the Giants will have a fully healthy squad getting Adoree Jackson back for the Wild Card against the Minnesota Vikings.
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The New York Giants have a chance at redemption:
The Vikings beat the Giants several weeks ago courtesy of a 61-yard field goal. The Giants seem to have a curse following them around regarding field goals of 50+-yard distances.
Nonetheless, Big Blue knows what to expect from Minnesota, an electric offense that runs through Justin Jefferson. However, the last time the two teams faced off, Adoree Jackson wasn’t starting, allowing Jefferson to run rampant in the secondary.
In addition, the Giants didn’t have Xavier McKinney back just yet, so Minnesota will be facing an entirely different unit with far more talent.
Of course, that doesn’t make stopping Jefferson any easier, considering he’s tallied 1,809 yards and eight touchdowns this year, going 106.4 yards per game. Against the Giants, he earned 12 receptions on 16 targets for 133 yards and a score. Despite his electrifying performance, the Vikings barely squeaked out a victory.
The Giants have enough firepower on offense to keep up, but the defense needs to put quarterback Kirk Cousins under consistent pressure, forcing mistakes and winning the turnover battle. Stopping the run will also be a priority, making Minnesota’s offense one-dimensional. Mitigating Dalvin Cook is optimistic, but slowing him down and stopping big-chunk plays is ultimately how the Giants can limit the Vikings.
The Giants’ offense might be taking a step forward and performing far better as of late, but they cannot match up with a team putting 30+ points on the board. They will need the defense to step up in a big way and give them opportunities to convert on turnovers and earn leverage through field position.
Nonetheless, Daboll willing this Giants team to the postseason is worthy of Coach of the Year honors. The team has certainly outkicked their coverage and pushed beyond expectations, setting the stage for what seems to be a bright future headlined by Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, two players the Giants are looking to extend after the season concludes.