New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo won’t get too far ahead and start talking playoffs, not even after his team rolled off an impressive victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.
The Giants are now winners of four straight games – all by the difference of a touchdown or less – and suddenly a team that a month ago seemed very average is on the upswing. The Giants are now 6-3, a distant second in the division but very much in the mix for the Wild Card. And their schedule over the next couple of weeks has the potential to see them return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Before the Giants play the division-leading Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 11, they have a very manageable schedule, at least on paper. This Sunday they play the 2-7 Chicago Bears at home followed by the Cleveland Browns, who are winless at 0-10 right now.
Then the following week after the Browns they have the disappointing Pittsburgh Steelers, who just suffered a heartbreaking home loss to the Cowboys that drops them to 4-5. This game, against a team favored by many in preseason to make the playoffs , is suddenly winnable.
Those are three very winnable games right there, games that could make the Giants, theoretically, 9-3 come that Cowboys game at MetLife Stadium. But first things first says McAdoo.
“This is the National Football League. You have to prepare your best for the highest level. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. Throw all the records out the window,” McAdoo said Tuesday on a media conference call. “Anyone can beat anyone, anywhere in this league. We need to have a great week of preparation. We’re on a short week. We’ll have one big practice on Thursday and an 80 percent launch day on Saturday. We need to be at our best, especially when we get in the building tomorrow.”
As for the playoff talk, McAdoo won’t even justify it. The Giants are currently fifth in the playoff standings, good enough for a Wild Card spot. The Washington Redskins are currently the final team into the playoffs, making it a remarkable three teams from the NFC East as thing stand right now.
Of course, there is a lot of football left to play still.
“I know this; I’m sitting here talking to you when we have a lot of preparation to get done for Chicago. That’s what I’m focused on right now,” McAdoo said. “We have to get ready for Chicago.”