No one is going to wash out the mouths of Giants players with soap for saying a forbidden word.
Even though head coach Brian Daboll keeps passing on addressing the big-picture significance of Sunday’s game against the Colts, he doesn’t treat his players like children. They are part of a NFL team with a chance to reach the … wait for it … playoffs!
“We’re all grown men in this building and on this team,” safety Julian Love said. “We understand what this game means: We win and we’re in.”
And what would making the playoffs mean to Love, who has played in 20 more losses than wins (21-41-1) during his four-year career?
“It would mean the world to me,” Love said, probably speaking for plenty of teammates who have endured all or part of five straight losing seasons. “I’m a competitor. I’m a guy who has tried to be as consistent as I possibly can during good times, during bad times.
“I haven’t been to the playoffs in the league yet. I’ve achieved that goal in college, I’ve achieved that goal in high school, of course. So I’m excited to have a shot. This position is pretty exciting, that we can control our destiny.”
When the Giants beat the Titans in Week 1 by combining a gutsy play call (go-ahead two-point conversion instead of game-tying PAT) with a bit of overdue luck (missed field goal as time expired), all vibes changed. By then, left tackle Andrew Thomas already was a believer that the Giants could be in this unfamiliar position.
“I would say early into the offseason,” Thomas said. “Just the way that we jelled, the energy that Coach Daboll brought in. It was just a different feel around the building. Obviously, the first game was a great win, and I think that just sparked the season from there on.”
All the losing that receiver Darius Slayton experienced (20-36-1 in games played) never caused him to go into a game expecting not to win. But it did show him that “the great unknown for every team in the NFL” is execution.
With an 8-3-1 record in an NFL-high 12 games decided by one score, the Giants believe they can make winning plays.
“Once you get to the playoffs, the difficulty level of winning each of those games throughout the rounds just increases, and the odds of you blowing somebody out goes down more and more,” Slayton said. “The reality is you’re going to have to win close games in order to have success throughout the playoffs. So, I definitely think playing more of those throughout the season helps.”
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