The 9-4 Giants will face the 9-4 Detroit Lions on Sunday with postseason ramifications on the line. Yes, you heard that correctly. Postseason. The Giants need to win just one game to likely assure a playoff spot and two games to insure one.
They can do that in the next five days by winning both their games, this Sunday against Detroit and on Thursday vs the Eagles in Philadelphia.
With the division almost an improbability at this point, the Giants will likely be a wildcard. They can wrap up one of those berths as early as this Sunday by defeating the Lions and getting some outside help. Washington must lose their game vs Carolina on Monday night, plus Minnesota and Green Bay both have to lose or tie. loss or tie this week.
The NFC East is still up in the air. Dallas, at 11-5, is two games ahead of the Giants with three to go. If the Giants win two of their last three, they need the Cowboys to lose two of their last three. The Giants hold the tiebreaker, having beaten Dallas twice this season.
After the Lions and Eagles, the Giants finish the season against the Redskins in Washington. Dallas hosts Tampa Bay this Sunday night and the Lions next week before finishing out the schedule in Philadelphia vs the Eagles.
Four players were listed on the final injury report of the week. DE Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle surgery) is out again and will likely not be available unless the Giants make it deep into the postseason. RB Shane Vereen (concussion), S Nat Berhe (concussion), and LB Keenan Robinson (shoulder) are all questionable.
“We haven’t seen him do much this week,” head coach Ben McAdoo said of Robinson, one of the team’s most productive defenders. “He knows how to take care of his body with the injuries he’s had in the past, similar-type injuries. So we’ll see more from him tomorrow to know if he can go or not.”
LG Justin Pugh, who has missed the last five games with a knee injury, is not on the injury report and is poised to make his much-needed return to the lineup.
“Justin’s practiced well this week, so we’ll take a look at him again tomorrow in practice,” McAdoo said. “He’s a good player, he’s been a good player for us and when we can get him, as soon as we can get him back, we’ll take him.”
McAdoo said this week that Ereck Flowers will remain at left tackle, struggles and all. Flowers, the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, is bordering on bust status after another poor outing last Sunday night.
“He’s coming along,” said offensive line coach Mike Solari. “He had a tough game last week and he goes, usually, against the best pass rushers on the team. Whether it was a couple of weeks ago with (Pittsburgh’s James) Harrison or last week – and this week we’ve got another big challenge with Ezekiel Ansah, really an outstanding pass rusher. Again, it’s a work in progress, Ereck’s working hard in practice, trying to develop the techniques, it’s just a matter of taking the techniques he’s working on in practice and taking it to take the game.”
The Giants got in hot water with the league this week when the headset communication between McAdoo and Eli Manning broke down last week against the Cowboys and the coach used a walkie-talkie, which is against the rules. The NFL has not commented on whether any disciplinary action is forthcoming.
“We’ve touched base with the league, we’re working through it right now,” McAdoo said. “I don’t have anything to add, but we are working with the league on the incident.”
How good had safety Landon Collins been this season? He is the first NFL safety with 100 or more tackles, at least five interceptions, and at least 3.0 sacks in a season since Rodney Harrison in 2000.