For Saquon Barkley, there has never been a game like this. It’s never been a game like this for most of the Giants’ players on Sunday.
If there really was a face to the franchise, it would be Berkeley. In a way, he is both the heart and soul of the Giants. He had never stepped onto the field in a Giants uniform and had a chance at qualifying for the playoffs. He hasn’t sniffed out the postseason. The closest he came to picking up the scent was last week when the Giants battled the Vikings to the end and dropped to the NFC’s No. 2 seed on a 61-yard field goal as time expired.
That game in Minneapolis gave Barkley an atmosphere he’d never felt before.
“Last week was like the playoffs,” Barkley said. “I’ve never participated, but I probably will.
“How it went down. How loud it was. How it got to the field goal. I showed you earlier, apparently every week, but especially in a game like that. I guess. I I really don’t know, I never participated in it.”
No, Berkeley doesn’t really know.
“It was fast,” he said. “The guys were moving around. I think you can tell what it was like.”
Please forgive Berkeley for not expressing himself very clearly. This is alien to him. What came next would expose Barkley to the most frenzied and perhaps celebratory atmosphere of his five-year NFL career, with the MetLife Stadium crowd beating the Giants (8-6-1). ) in the winning seat, ready to infiltrate and party. If they beat the missing Colts (4-10-1), the Giants will advance to the playoffs for the first time in six years and for the second time since 2011.
“I think it’s going to be a fun atmosphere,” said Daniel Jones. “Our fans have been coming all year round. We have felt a lot of support and energy from them all year round. We certainly expect that on Sunday. This I appreciate the support so far and am excited to get out there.”
Jones never stepped onto the field knowing that if he could lead the Giants to victory, the playoffs were guaranteed. The closest he came to this was in Week 17 of 2020 (Joe Judge’s first season as head coach). At this time, the Giants had a chance to survive into the postseason if MetLife beat the Cowboys at his stadium. Barkley was on injured reserve. Jones was great and he threw his pass for two touchdowns in the 23-19 win. However, the Giants went 6–10 and were eliminated from the playoffs later that night. Doug his Pederson Eagles were unable to pedal in a loss to Washington.
The last time the Giants welcomed fans to victory celebrations was at the 2011 regular season finale over a decade ago. A week ago, Victor Cruz set the scene for him in the Wild Meadowlands on New Year’s Day by beating out the Jets with his 99 yards. The Giants defeated the Cowboys, 31-14, and the NFC East, 9-7. They kept playing and winning until they won the Super Bowl for the first time in four years.
No one equates those giants with these giants. The team has already ruined the paltry expectations that were imposed, even after general manager Joe Shane and head coach Brian Dabor were brought in to change course for the franchise. It was to build a foundation to win without expecting too much to win. A playoff spot? Not realistic.
But here we are. The Giants qualify for the NFC tournament if he wins one of his last two games. If they get upset by the Colts, the Giants have another shot at making the playoffs in Philadelphia in Week 18. The Giants want no part of that scenario.
“It’s meaningful, it’s big, and we have to take advantage of the opportunity we get.” Why don’t we take this opportunity and make the most of it?