Giants lose heart-breaker in Minnesota, but playoff hopes are still alive

daniel jones, new york giants
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants lost a hear-breaking matchup with the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Eve after a 61-yard field goal by Greg Joseph gave the Vikings a 27-24 lead as time expired. It was a back-and-forth contest that came down to the final play of the game. With a win, the Giants could have clinched a playoff spot. But the Giants are not done yet. New York will have to wait at least another week to earn their first playoff berth since 2016, but their playoff hopes are very much still alive despite the Week 16 loss.

Main takeaways from New York Giants vs Minnesota Vikings Week 16

After a wild game in Minnesota, the Giants’ record has fallen to 8-6-1 as the Vikings improve to 12-3, looking to push for the first seed in the NFL. Daniel Jones kept the game close as he threw for 334 yards and 1 touchdown in the contest. But the heroism of Jones was not enough to overcome the electric Minnesota Vikings offense.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson totaled 12 receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown on 16 targets in a record-setting performance. Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 299 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions on the day, leading the Vikings to a crucial victory. The Giants had a chance to put the game into overtime, but a third-down conversion by Cousins and Jefferson put the Vikings in position to kick a 61-yard field goal to win the game.

Since 2016, opposing kickers are 3/3 lead-changing 60+ yard field goals in the final 2 minutes of a game against the New York Giants. Against all other teams, kickers are 2/15 in the same situation (via Keegan Abdoo).

The New York Giants’ offense put together one of its best performances of the season in a losing effort. They gained 445 total yards (compared to 353 from Minnesota), including 126 yards on the ground. Saquon Barkley totaled 84 yards and a clutch touchdown on 14 receptions, while also adding 49 receiving yards on 8 receptions.

The real standout performer on the Giants’ offense, however, was Isaiah Hodgins. Despite being on the Buffalo Bills practice squad last month, Hodgins has emerged as the Giants’ top receiving option this season. He had a breakout game, hauling in 8 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.

The Giants got the help they needed to clinch a playoff berth today with both the Seahawks and the Lions losing. But, unfortunately, the Giants did not help themselves. With a win today, the Giants would have been in the playoffs. But now, after a heart-breaking defeat in Minnesota, they will need to find a way to win at least one more regular season game.

If the Giants do make the playoffs, there is a good chance they end up facing the Vikings in the first round. After going toe-to-toe with the Vikings in today’s game, Big Blue will head into that contest with a lot more confidence if it does indeed come to fruition. For now, the focus will be on Indianapolis as the Giants prepare to face the Colts next week in a game that could clinch them the elusive playoff berth they desire.

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