Manning Looking Forward to Playing in Postseason Again

The Giants have nothing to play for this Sunday when they travel down to the nation’s capital to face the rival Washington Redskins. That’s because, they wrapped up a playoff berth last week when the New Orleans Saints defeated the Tampa Bay Bucca-neers. The Giants could have clinched sooner had they not lost to the Philadelphia Ea-gles on Thursday night, which left their playoff hopes to be settled by other teams.

“Obviously, it was exciting when the Saints won and (we) knew that we were in the playoffs,” QB Eli Manning said on a conference call on Monday. “That was a good mo-ment, that we were in. Got to enjoy the weekend, made the weekend a little bit better knowing that we were in the playoffs and enjoyed the holidays and Christmas with family.”

The Giants are in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, the season in which they would go on to win Super Bowl XLIV. Only six players remain from that roster: Manning, WR Victor Cruz, OL Will Beatty, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, LS Zak DeOssie and LB Mark Herzlich, so the postseason will be something new to this Giant team and their rookie head coach, Ben McAdoo.

Manning was a regular in the postseason early on in his career but has only been there once since 2008. This will be his sixth trip to the playoffs. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has learned not to take it for granted.

“It’s not easy to make the playoffs,” said Manning. “You see that with how many teams are still are on the bubble this weekend, good teams. It’s a great tribute to way the way we’ve played this season and found ways to wins football games. Just excited about the opportunity to be in the playoffs and have a chance to win a championship.”

That brings us to this week, where the game against the 8-6-1 Redskins has very little meaning to the 10-5 Giants, who are locked into the top wildcard slot in the NFC as the fifth seed. They cannot better their lot with a victory nor fall lower with a loss.

The Giants could meet any one of four teams right now, depending on how things shake out this weekend. As the fifth seed, they will face the fourth seed which would be the division winner with the worst record. That could be either Green Bay, Detroit, Atlanta or Seattle.T

No matter what, they will treat this week like any other, although the collective thinking is they will not expose their stars any longer than they have to, although they have not yet revealed their strategy for this Sunday afternoon.

“The mindset is to come back to work this week and finish the regular season strong and feel like we have a good thing going into the playoffs,” Manning said. “My take is to play. I think to go in there, play well and try to find a good rhythm offensively going against a team in the division, a team you know well and they know us. I think that’s the mindset. Until I’m told differently, that’s how I’m taking it.”

Washington needs to win this week and not have the Green Bay-Detroit game end in a tie to grab the sixth seed in the playoffs. They also qualify if they tie, the Packers lose and Tampa Bay loses or ties.

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