Matt Krohn | USA TODAY Sports

Xavier McKinney believed the Giants could contain Justin Jefferson.

He’s been shut down before,” McKinney told when asked about the Vikings’ All-Pro wide receiver last week.

“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.”

Guess what? McKinney was right. The Giants just won their first playoff game since Super Bowl XLVI with Sunday’s 31-24 NFC wild card round triumph over the Vikings. A big reason for their victory? Jefferson’s relatively quiet day.

Jefferson touched the Giants up for 133 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches in the Christmas Eve meeting between the teams, a 27-24 win by Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium. But he managed just seven catches for 47 yards and no scores in the rematch. And Jefferson had four grabs for 30 yards on the Vikings’ first drive of the game. So he was more or less a non-factor after that.

The Giants did give something up by taking Jefferson away. Tight end T.J. Hockenson torched them, finishing with 10 catches for 129 yards. And it remains to be seen how they will hold up in next weekend’s divisional round against the Eagles with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith to account for (among others). But they needed to box Jefferson in to win this game. And they did just that.

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James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.


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.