If someone told you in July that both the Jets and Giants would hold identical 7-4 records, would you have believed them? Probably not. What about them both holding onto a playoff spot? Yea, probably not that, either.
But, such is life in the NFL, folks. How things look on paper can vary greatly from the actual on-field results.
Big Blue and Gang Green have done a lot of good to put themselves in their current positions. However, the final stretch won’t be easy. If the regular season ends with either of them still holding onto a wild-card spot, they will have earned every bit of it.
Neither the Giants nor the Jets were expected to be in the spots we see them in right now. So it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed in the moment (even if nobody would suggest such a thing).
The Giants are in a position where things could easily fall apart. They’ve lost three of their last four games and have three straight matchups against NFC East opponents ahead on the calendar. Head coach Brian Daboll had a simple message for his squad as they prepare for a must-win game vs. the Washington Commanders on Sunday.
Kayvon Thibodeaux relayed that message to reporters (quote via GiantsWire):
Dabs talked to us (on Monday), and he kind of gave us that idea that the beginning of the season starts now. So, everything we’ve done has put us in position to go for it all. So, we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. But it is a big task at hand that we have.”
The Jets are headed to Minnesota to play the Vikings in Week 13. It’s one of four road games New York will play over the final six weeks. Head coach Robert Saleh is excited about the stretch run (quote taken from Mike Girardi of NFL Network):
Why wouldn’t you? But the biggest thing, we acknowledge, right that’s the big thing, I’ve said it before, you acknowledge the fact that we’ve got a chance to play some cool games. And we acknowledge the opportunity that we have, but the opportunity doesn’t exist if we focus on our moment.
Our moment today is to put yesterday to bed, our moment tomorrow is just preparing for Minnesota and players taking care of their bodies, and then Wednesday and Thursday. So, you got to focus on the process, if you’re busy counting wins and looking at things you have zero control over, you’re missing on the opportunity to focus on the things you have control over. So, while we acknowledge our opportunity, hopefully we recognize that that opportunity won’t exist if we’re not taking care of our jobs.
These messages are different but similar. What they’ve done to this point in the season has given them an opportunity not many experts predicted prior to Week 1 (if any did at all). But regardless of what’s happened so far, it’s now time to focus on the present and keep grinding.
If the Giants and Jets want to prove everyone wrong and play football in January, this is the only approach they need to have. Well, that and being like a goldfish for any unfortunate moments.