It feels like a whole lot more than a year has passed since the Giants dominated in December 2011, coming out of nowhere to win their last six games en route to winning Super Bowl XLVI. This year, the Giants have lost three of four games in December coming into today's season-ending match against divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants still have a slim chance of making the playoffs—but they won't be able to do it without a lot of other teams losing too.
For the Giants to sneak into the playoffs, they'll need to beat the Eagles (who have future Jets quarterback Michael Vick starting for the first time in weeks); the Minnesota Vikings have to lose to the Green Bay Packers; the Chicago Bears have to lose to the Detroit Lions; and the Dallas Cowboys have to lose to the Washington Redskins. Even if the Giants, Packers and Redskins are favored in their games, expecting the woeful Lions to beat the Bears is a tall order—although perhaps the Lions hate Jay Cutler as much as everyone else does.
Yes, the Giants have somewhere between an 8.5 and 17.9 percent shot of making the playoffs this year—based on the inconsistent way they've played all season, they probably don't deserve to still be in the hunt. Consecutive brutal losses to the Falcons and Ravens were some of the hardest games Giants fans have had to endure in recent years. “I still believe we’re a good football team,’’ said veteran right guard Chris Snee. “Listen, I know everyone has the right to think that we’re not, based on the last two games, I understand that, but we’re going to try to end this thing on a good note and hopefully things will work in our favor.’’
On the plus side, if fate somehow swings their way today, they could end up making a convincing run against inconsistent NFC teams that they have beat this year, including the Packers and 49ers. Even if the odds are just too high, they also have something to play for beyond the playoffs: nearly 400 students, parents and faculty members from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., will attend today's game and play a key role in pregame festivities.
“To have that group from the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Newtown community come down for this game with Philadelphia, it means a great deal to us, and we would certainly like to honor them,” said Coach Tom Coughlin. “The best we can do is take each individual and play to the best of his ability and make a statement as a team as well...It’s special for us to have them here this weekend.”
And hey, even if they don't make the playoffs, even if they have another terrible game against the Eagles, even if their rosters looks incredibly shaky heading into the offseason, things could still be way worse—they could be the Jets!