Saquon Barkley
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants entered their biggest game of the year Sunday night. They were the visitors in Washington, just two weeks after tying the Commanders 20-20 at MetLife Stadium.

Both teams were 7-6-1 and eying an NFC Wild Card playoff spot. But it was the Giants who concluded the night on the victor’s side of the scoreboard, winning a 20-12 defensive battle that saw Big Blue record two takeaways and placekicker Graham Gano boot through a pair of 50-yard field goals in the second half.

And now, the Giants are very much alive in the NFC playoff race. And sit above Washington in the standings after taking the sole head-to-head tiebreaker Sunday night.

How does that current NFC Playoff picture stand? With the division-leading Eagles, Vikings, 49ers, and Buccaneers sitting as the top four seeds, respectively, the Cowboys are the five seed and have earned their second consecutive playoff berth.

The Commanders entered Sunday as the six seed while the Giants were the seven seed in the conference. But following Sunday night’s result, these two NFC East ballclubs have swapped spots in the standings. The Giants are now the No. 6 seed while Washington sits in the final NFC playoff spot.

The 7-7 Seahawks and 7-7 Lions are then on the outside looking in with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

The road ahead. While the Vikings (on the road, no less) will be a tough matchup on Christmas Eve, the Giants have the Colts at home on New Year’s Day. They have to win that game. Indianapolis is 4-9-1 with an aging Matt Ryan at quarterback and a TV analyst in Jeff Saturday at head coach.

If the Giants can win that matchup and get to nine wins, there’s a chance the current seven-win Commanders, Lions, and Seahawks don’t catch up. There’s also the possibility the Giants catch a break in Week 18 when they face an Eagles team that could already have the top seed locked up and be resting its starters.

Regardless, the Giants absolutely need to take advantage of the one beatable opponent left on the schedule: Indianapolis. That could be a win-and-in type of situation in two weeks, and Brian Daboll’s team must be up for the challenge.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.