The Giants visit the Vikings on Sunday night, but the complexion of their remaining season will be determined on Saturday night when the Eagles host Washington. If Washington (7-6, first place in the NFC East) loses, the 6-7 Giants remain alive in the division race. If Washington wins, New York will be eliminated from playoff contention. So the Giants find themselves in the soul-crushing position of rooting for the Eagles. Because New York has blown approximately 14 fourth quarter leads, they have no one to blame but themselves for their current quandary.
It’s odd to write a preview of a game -- Minnesota vs. New York -- that will be so impacted by a game happening a day before. If Washington wins and the Giants are eliminated, how will that affect New York’s mental, emotional and physical participation in their game against the Vikings?
It’s naive to think it will have no impact. We already know that Odell Beckham Jr. is not playing (as he was suspended for stupidity), but will other players sit out if the game becomes meaningless? Will players want to play hard in a bid to save Tom Coughlin’s job? Because it stands to reason that if the Giants miss the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, Coughlin will be fired. Perhaps that’s not fair, but this Giants team has been a colossal disappointment and many of its failures stem from late-game coaching decisions.
As the Giants and their fans prepare for these two must-win games, here are some important Do's and Don’ts.
Do: root with all your fiber for the Eagles to beat Washington.
Don’t: feel like you need to take a shower afterwards.
Do: remember that the Vikings need to win to clinch a playoff spot.
Don’t: forget that Minnesota’s last four losses have been to playoff-bound teams (Green Bay, Denver, Seattle and Arizona).
Do: look for Rueben Randle to step up in Beckham’s absence.
Don’t: expect the Giants to sign the free-agent-to-be in the offseason.
Do: expect Adrian Peterson to challenge his own NFL record for rushing yards in a game (296)
Don’t: drive yourself crazy counting the number of times Jason Pierre-Paul misses a tackle because of his oven mitt cast.
Do: be glad you’re watching the Minnesota game on television, as it’s supposed to 17 degrees at game time.
Don’t: be surprised if Bob Costas dedicates his halftime sermon to Beckham’s antics in last week’s game.
Do: hope that Rashad Jennings (107 yards against Carolina last week) will be an important part of the offense again this week.
Don’t: forget, this is a Ben McAdoo offense, so who knows what the Giants will do.
Do: welcome back safety Brandon Meriweather.
Don’t: worry, he’ll make his presence known with at least one penalty.
Do: you know that before last week’s four-touchdown game, Teddy Bridgewater had only nine touchdown passes and eight interceptions this season?
Don’t: assume he can’t light up the Giants; their pass defense is terrible.