At 0-3, the New York Giants face a must-win game this Sunday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The very thought of the Giants being in this predicament a month ago was the farthest thing from the mind of a team that had legitimate Super Bowl chatter swirling about it.
But now, the Giants face a game that they must win. If they don’t, then their season is likely over on the first day of October.
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The Giants aren’t publicly in panic mode, although a loss would doom the team to playing out the string for the season’s remaining 13 weeks. They talk about returning to fundamentals and playing the brand of football that got them into the playoffs last season under head coach Ben McAdoo.
They also can point to the fact that a handful of other teams have, in the long history of the NFL, started 0-3 and made the playoffs. Likely? Not really. But not impossible.
“One day at a time. It starts by coming in and we know we lost the game, but we got to move on from it and it starts in practice,” defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said this week.
“I feel like we are going to come out and do great in practice this week. Coach McAdoo said some words to us and he really don't have to say any words to us. You can just feel the energy, the vibe around us. Everybody is just really soaking it in and getting ready for the next game.”
But the Giants must win and they must on this Sunday.
Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on a last-second field goal was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. But the explosion of the offense in the fourth quarter including 11-consecutive completions from quarterback Eli Manning was a positive sign that they may have turned the corner. Perhaps, just in time to save their season.
The fact that Manning wasn’t sacked in the game is a good thing too, especially given the play of the offensive line to date.
But the defense had several broken plays, unnecessary penalties and folded late in the game when they needed a stop to force overtime. Instead, the Eagles kicked the longest field goal in Lincoln Financial Field history to doom the Giants to being winless in their first three games.
“Our mindset is we have to get this win right here. Get our first win and go from there,” Manning said. “So, we have a long football season left and anything is possible, but still the focus is on the next game no matter if we’re 3-0 or 1-2 or whatever. Next game is the most important one. That’s where we are right now.”