Ava’s Angle: What are the chances the Giants make the playoffs?

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At the beginning of the season, the New York Giants were perceived as a team in rebuilding mode. Now, they’ve surprised the league in becoming a team fighting for playoff contention. 

With a 7-4-1 record, New York is in a position and has what it takes for them to break their five-year postseason drought. According to ESPN, after the Giants Week 13 tie against the Commanders, they now have a 56.8% chance of a playoff berth.  

Although a win would have boosted the Giants, a tie is not something to totally panic about. With the tie, they remain in the seventh seed, preventing the G-men from falling behind.  

Lately, the Giants have not had the easiest schedule, slowing  down a bit and losing three of four games (plus the tie with the Commanders). A strength of New York has been their ability to not lose their fight. Even though they have had some tough opponents, they’ve stayed close in games all because of their resilient defense.  

All season long, the Giants featured a strong defense which had them on a winning streak. NT Dexter Lawrence and DL Leonard Williams led the way for New York, playing a large role in their defensive game. The duo drove the team towards becoming NFL’s No. 2 ranked red-zone and third-down defense. The chemistry of Lawrence and Williams spread throughout the entire team, making for a better-winning culture.  

“The thing people miss out on is this isn’t just a game,” rookie edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux said of his teammates’ work ethic. “This is like art.”  

Defense has been the core of this Giants squad, but it wouldn’t have been possible at all without the support of the offense behind starting quarterback Daniel Jones.  

Jones has had a solid year, with the Giants turning the franchise around and igniting their success. Along with the defense, the way that New York has remained in all of their tight matchups can be attributed to Jones. One problem for Jones that has been holding the team back for the last few years is turnovers and interceptions. In his career, Jones has 55 turnovers and 33 interceptions. This season, Jones has just four interceptions, which has helped the Giants immensely. 

In the most recent matchups, Jones limited the amount of turnovers he gave up, which has been huge for New York. In Week 13 against Washington, Jones completed 25 for 31 passes for 200 yards with one touchdown and no picks. Additionally, he rushed 12 times for 71 yards and lost a fumble. The fumble definitely cost the Giants, but they did not lose the game. Jones’ offensive performance drove the team to success this season and he is now starting to be viewed as the future of New York as well as their franchise QB. 

Speaking of offense, RB Saquon Barkley has been the fuel for the Giants. Although he has regressed a bit in the last couple of games, he was the star in the first stretch of the season. In the Giants last few losses, Barkley averaged 20.3 carries and 66.5 rushing yards, a mark well below his potential. From Weeks one through seven, he was way more efficient, averaging 20.4 carries and 103.7 rushing yards per game. If Barkley somehow finds a way to turn his performance around by improving his rushing yards, it will set a fire under the team and increase their chances to make the playoffs. 

A downside to the Giants season has been the recurring injuries they have faced. Circumstances are finally starting to improve however, as they expect several of their injured players to make their return. One significant player being Evan Neal, who was sidelined from a MCL injury in Week seven against Jacksonville. Neal will hopefully fill the gap of what the Giants have been missing from Barkley and uplift the offense. Some other bigger names are LB Azeez Ojulari, TE Daniel Bellinger and TE Lawrence Cager. Another huge weakness for New York is their wide receiver position. The WR room is completely depleted, so having other offensive strengths in tight ends and running backs is the answer for the Giants right now.  

New York’s upcoming games will be tough and will ultimately decide their playoff fate. The Giants are in a position where they could steal a win or two to clear a path for a playoff berth. However, New York have the Philadelphia Eagles, their largest division rival and one of the best teams in the NFL right now, on their schedule twice. The chances of beating the Eagles are small, but if the Giants can capitalize on beating the Commanders and the Colts, then it could steer them in the right direction for the postseason. 

Throughout the year, the Giants have somehow managed to stay winning between their defense, offense and team chemistry. Unlike many other teams in the race for this year’s playoffs, New York still controls their destiny and it will be up to them whether they can pull off a playoff berth or not. 

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