The Giants are back to business, eyeing the Eagles

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – It only took one postseason win for Giants fans to start believing that the current team can repeat the accomplishments of the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl champions.

The sixth seeded Giants defeated the third seeded Minnesota Vikings yesterday, 31-24, in the NFC Wild Card game at US Bank Stadium. They will face top-seeded 14-3 Philadelphia in the divisional playoffs at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night. The Eagles were the only NFC team to miss Super Wild Card Weekend.

In 2007, the Giants’ division road game was also against an NFC East rival who, like the Eagles this year, had beaten them twice in the regular season. The Giants went to Dallas and got revenge by defeating the 13-3, top-seeded Cowboys, 21-17.

But for those who believe that comebacks have no shelf life and that all karma ends up being a .500 winning percentage, the Giants’ underachieving season could serve as inspiration this week.

In 2008, the Giants earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye after finishing with an NFC-best 12-4 record. Philadelphia was seeded sixth with a 9-6-1 record, 16 games equal to the Giants’ 9-7-1 record this season. The Eagles hit the road with a 26-14 win in the wild-card game at … Minnesota, which was the 10-6 NFC North champion.

That sent the Eagles to Giants Stadium where Philadelphia held the Giants without an offensive touchdown and ended their season with a 23-11 triumph.

With the outcome reversed, can the Giants enjoy organizational revenge 14 years later? It’s certainly possible the way they play. They played the Eagles twice in the final five weeks of the regular season. The Giants lost the first game by 26 points, but eight days ago they rested most of their starters, allowed just one touchdown and narrowly lost, 22-16.

Brian Daboll said today that those games will have no impact on the second leg on Saturday. He believes in the old Bill Parcells adage that history, both ancient and recent, means nothing in football. Like all coaches, Daboll lives in the here and now and is confident that the Giants can only win and advance if they maintain the discipline, work ethic and offensive and defensive creativity that has led them to success thus far.

“That’s the way we work this week, again, how we prepare, how we practice and then finally how we play on Sunday – or Saturday in this case,” Daboll said in a Zoom call with reporters. “Every game is a new game. Obviously, you have matches that you’ve played against here the last two times you’ve played them. One week doesn’t really have anything to do with the next week or one game doesn’t have anything to do with the next game except you take things from it. You learn from that. You try to grow from that. But it’s going to be how we work on Saturday and how we prepare during the week. That’s our process; that’s what it’s always going to be. And that’s what it’s going to be this week.”

The Giants were underdogs throughout their 2007 Super Bowl run, but Daboll isn’t looking to that team or that season as motivation for the current team.

“I think we’re just focusing on what we can control, having a good week,” he said. “That’s what we need to do. We’re process-oriented. That’s what we’re focused on. In terms of what happened 16 years ago, no.”

When the divisional round begins, the Giants will be one of eight teams with a chance to win the championship. What is the ceiling of this team?

“I would say not to worry about it,” Daboll said. “We’re concerned about our preparation and our process and our practice habits and we’re doing everything we can as a coaching staff and as players to get ready for the game. We’re here on a short week. There’s a lot of work to be done. I understand we’ve played these guys twice here in the last month. We’ll play them again here. So there’s familiarity on both sides. But again, there’s always a process you have to go through. It’ll be one less day for that. So there’s a lot of work to be done.”

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