Bill Streicher | USA TODAY Sports

The Giants are going to the NFL playoffs. And they are arriving there with a bit of a swagger.

Consider what was coming out of the locker room after a gutty, gritty Week 18 loss to the Eagles and ahead of Sunday’s wild card matchup with the Vikings (4:30 p.m., FOX).

Xavier McKinney is not sweating Justin Jefferson! “Yeah, he’s been shut down before,” McKinney told “So yeah. … Just how he puts on all his [clothes], we do the same thing. We’ve got really good [defensive backs]. I’m not worried about it at all. He’s a good player. He’s going to make plays. But he’s not somebody that we haven’t seen be stopped before. We’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. So we’ll be all right. He’s human just how we’re human. So that’s how we treat it.”

Nick Gates’ ears were not ringing! The Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium is very loud. But Gates was not all that impressed during the Giants’ heartbreaking Christmas Eve loss to the Vikings. “I thought it would be a lot louder,” the offensive lineman said. “Especially when our offense was out there. But you know, they’re Midwest people. They’re too nice. Hey, I can say. I went to Nebraska. I include myself in that one.”

Saquon Barkley called the shot! “I was talking to some of the (Vikings) players after the (regular season) game and I said, ‘We’ll see you guys again.’ It was a great matchup, a great game. Obviously they came out with the win, but we’re excited. You’re excited because this is something you dream about as a kid and not many people on this team have had an opportunity to play in the playoffs.”

This is where we must remind everyone the Giants finished 2-5-1 in their final eight games. And that they only beat two playoff teams/teams with winning records — the Jaguars (who had not yet caught fire) and the Ravens — with both victories coming before Halloween.

The Giants have exceeded all expectations this season. They did come within a whisker of beating Minnesota a few weeks ago. And you’ve got to love the confidence. However … it does feel like some of it is a tad irrational, no?

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James Kratch can be reached at

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.