EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Brian Daboll is no longer facing questions about the New York Giants making the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
The Giants (9-6-1) are in after a 38-10 win over the struggling Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The rookie coach got to celebrate with his players and people in the organization and have some friendly exchanges with the fans at MetLife Stadium. The guy players call “Dabs” even smoked a couple of cigars.
There’s one looming question facing Daboll. The Giants are locked in as the No. 6 seed in the NFC. They will play either Minnesota or San Francisco in the wild-card round.
So does he rest any of his players in the regular-season finale at Philadelphia to have them healthy for the postseason?
Daboll plans to have conversations with his staff and probably others in the organization before deciding.
“I don’t need to make that decision right now,” he said Monday. “We’ll do whatever we think is best for our guys and our team come this week.”
It’s not a simple decision. There’s a lot to consider.
The game means everything to the Eagles, who have dropped two in row with quarterback Jalen Hurts sidelined by a shoulder injury. They need a win or a tie to clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference, earning a bye during the wild-card games.
Two years ago in the pandemic season, the Giants needed the Eagles to beat Washington in the final game of the regular season to win the NFC East.
With the game close in the fourth quarter, then-Eagles coach Doug Pederson replaced Hurts with little-used backup Nate Sudfeld. He made a few mistakes and Washington won.
Some questioned whether Pederson made the move to help the Eagles get a better draft pick. He said he wanted to get his backup some work. Others worried about the integrity of the game.
In 2007, with the Giants already in the playoffs and facing a wild-card game, coach Tom Coughlin played all his starters in a season finale against the Patriots, who were trying for a perfect regular season. While New England won a wild shootout, New York played well. A month later, the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Daboll has said repeatedly he will do what’s best for his team. He also has said all season that he doesn’t like to lose. It will be interesting to see what he does.
The Giants had their biggest offensive output in three years. It was the first time they had scored at least 30 points in a game since a 37-34 loss to Dallas on Oct. 11, 2020, a run of 43 games. Quarterback Daniel Jones was the key, throwing two touchdown passes and running for two TDs. The 28-point margin of victory was the Giants’ largest since Dec. 7, 2014, when they defeated the Titans 36-7.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Special teams continues to be a problem. Dallas Flowers of the Colts averaged 33.3 yards on three kickoff returns and kicker Graham Gano was forced to make two big tackles. Gano is too valuable to be in that position.
Jones. The 25-year old went into the season knowing he had to perform better after the Giants didn’t pick up the fifth year on his rookie contract. He doesn’t have to worry about a contract any more. With the season he has had, he holds all the cards. If not the Giants, someone else will pay him.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, for reasons that have nothing to do with his playing ability. Doing celebratory snow angels right next to a fallen opponent just doesn’t look good. Thibodeaux said he didn’t know Colts quarterback Nick Foles had injured his ribs and stopped his celebration once he did. Still, the No. 5 overall pick in the draft has to be aware of what’s happening around him. Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday called the celebration “tasteless” and “trash” on Monday.
DL Leonard Williams left the game with a stinger in the second half. He has been bothered by a neck injury in December. CB Adoree Jackson was close to returning from a knee injury last week. Maybe this week.
6 — This is the first time in six seasons the Giants have made the playoffs, and only the second time since winning the Super Bowl in February 2012.
It’s easy. The young coaches on the staff should start studying video of the 49ers and Vikings. Preparing for the Vikings should not be a problem. The Giants lost to them 27-24 on a last-second field goal on Dec. 24. New York has not played San Francisco since a 36-9 loss in 2020.
New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll gestures to fans after an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants won 38-10. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)