Giants host Packers on MNF

The reality is that the Giants have little chance of making the playoffs. They certainly cannot afford to lose any of their last five games. The Packers have won three straight games to improve to 6-6 and currently hold the seventh and final NFC playoff seed. The Giants are 12th and eager to fight to the final. But they have the third-toughest remaining schedule in the league (Green Bay, New Orleans, Philadelphia and the Rams are a combined 27-21; they face the Eagles twice).

“We’re two games out,” veteran guard Justin Pugh said. “We play against three other teams (Packers, Saints and Rams) that are also in the race. This is as interesting as possible.

“Anything can happen in this league. It’s really game by game. We’ve got to go out and win a Monday Night Football game and that’s the only thing that matters.”

The Giants returned to action Monday after their bye week, and coach Brian Daboll informed DeVito that he would remain the starting quarterback. There has been speculation that Tyrod Taylor will regain his starting job after coming off injured reserve. Taylor, who suffered a rib injury on Oct. 29, will be the backup.

DeVito will start for the third time in a row and first in prime time. He has not thrown an interception in his last 66 passes and posted passer ratings of 137.7 and 103.9 in wins against the Commanders and Patriots to become the first undrafted rookie quarterback to record a 100+ passer rating in consecutive starts in the draft era ( from 1967). He is the fifth undrafted rookie since 1967 to win two of his first three career starts.

“It’s a great opportunity,” DeVito said. “It’s just like any other game except Monday night, right? But yeah, it’s a great opportunity, so just enjoy yourself and go play football.”

DeVito’s presence, personality and production have energized the entire team and are one of the reasons the players believe the season can still have a happy ending.

“We’re in this (expletive), to be honest,” Saquon Barkley said when asked what his motivation was for Monday night and beyond. “I’ll keep it real. We don’t look too far, we don’t look at the hunting pictures or the playoffs, but we care about what we need to care about, everyone can say what they want from the season. But it’s a week anyway (14) and everything we want is still there. So we don’t need any extra motivation. Every match is critical no matter what, but especially now.

“I say it and I always believe it. I know it sounds like we talk all the time and it just sounds like I’m just beating a dead horse when I say it, but I really, really believe it. I’m one of those guys that if I fight and they kick my ass for 11 rounds, 12 rounds, in my head, if I’m still competing, if I can knock you out and get wins, then that’s what’s going to happen. So, I kept saying until we’re completely out of this thing, I still believe. Even when you’re out of this thing, you still have work to do. It’s not too hard to watch. I don’t think it’s really too hard to figure out. That’s how I look at it and that’s what I firmly believe.”

As always, Dabol was more cautious. He was asked Saturday if it was important to send a message to his players this week that the playoffs are still within reach..

“I try to take it week by week,” Daboll said. “I saw what Saquon said. Look, the only thing we can control is to play and train as well as we can control. Try to focus on that, have a good week of preparation, have a good week of practice, do all the things we need to do to go out there Monday night against a good team that plays well and plays as good as we can play. That’s where we’re at here.”

The big question for the rest of the season is where will they be late Monday night?

*The game against Green Bay is the Giants’ 1,400th regular season game in franchise history. The Giants can get their 400th win at home. They are 719-646-34 general and 399-300-17 at home.

*DeVito’s last first start was for Illinois against Iowa on October 8, 2022. The Illini won 9-6, but DeVito left the game and did not return due to an ankle injury he suffered when Iowa linebacker Lucas Van Ness tackled him winless at the end of the first quarter. Van Ness is now the Packers’ rookie backup linebacker, who has 2.0 sacks this season.

*DeVito has thrown four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last two games while picking up 15 sacks. The last NFL player to throw zero interceptions while being sacked 15+ times in any two-game stretch was Houston’s David Carr in 2005. DeVito is the only player since 1970 to do so while also throwing for 3+ touchdown passes.

*The Giants host their second Monday night game of the season (also Oct. 2 vs. Seattle). It is the second time in the 54-year history of Monday Night Football and the second time in four seasons that the Giants have hosted twice in the same year. In 2020, the Giants opened at home against Pittsburgh and later faced Tampa Bay on Monday night.

*The Giants are 25-47-1 on Monday nights, including 9-15 at home.

*Before the bye, the Giants had at least two home runs in each of three consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 4-18, 2016. They have nine home runs in their last two games, their highest total since 21 – September 25, 2014

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