Giants are a playoff team because of six key games

One of Brian Daboll’s favorite clichés after a win is: “We’ve done a few more games than them.

Math experts know that in a nine-win season, that’s a lot of tiebreaks.

In honor of Daboll’s cigars of success, here’s a six-game package ranked in the order that made the biggest difference in the Giants clinching a playoff berth ahead of Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Eagles, with percentage of winning odds for each as tracked by

Probability of winning before/after: 45.1/75.5

Daboll promised to use analysis and be aggressive, and his words were tested from the start when the Giants scored a touchdown to cut their deficit to 20-19 with 1:06 left. Instead of trying the PAT to be happy to erase a 13-point halftime deficit, the Giants called a shovel pass: Barkley missed two tacklers and broke another over the goal line en route to the winning points in an upset from No. . 1 last year. seeded in the AFC playoffs.

“I think it just sparked the season from there,” left tackle Andrew Thomas said recently.

One of the key plays that led Big Blue to the playoffs was Saquon Barkley scoring on the two-point conversion in the Giants’ Week 1 win over the Titans.

2. Overtime Punt vs. Commanders, Week 13

Probability of winning before/after: 27/24.3

Interesting choice? Daboll was widely criticized for his overly conservative officiating when he decided not to attempt a fourth-and-3 from the Commanders 45-yard line with 1:42 left in overtime of a 20-20 tie.

Giants punter Jamie Gillan
bill kosrun

A punt was fumbled at the 10-yard line and Washington returned it after a three-and-out, setting up an unsatisfying tie after the Giants missed a 58-yard field goal in the air as time expired. the time.

“Would it be different if it was fourth and 1 versus fourth and 3? Potentially,” Daboll said. “That’s the best thing to do.”

If the Giants fail to attempt fourth and third, the Commanders only need two first downs to attempt a field goal.

With a loss instead of a tie, the Giants are out of a playoff spot. Sunday will be a win-and-in scenario against the highly motivated Eagles, with the possibility of a playoff exit in the event of a tiebreaker with the Lions and Seahawks.

3. Fourth Stop Try/Missed Penalty Against Commanders, Week 15

Probability of winning before/after: 87/99.9

The last significant play in a game between teams with identical 7-5-1 records was a fourth-and-goal throw to Curtis Samuel that Darnay Holmes knocked down.

Replays showed Holmes holding Samuel before the throw and tampering with him while the ball was in the air. Referee John Hussey said: “For the officials it didn’t hit what they considered a restriction; so, they didn’t call him,” but the NFL admitted there was no call the next day.

Darnay Holmes fires the ball away from Curtis Samuel on the fourth play to seal the Giants' 20-12 Week 15 win over the Commanders.
Darnay Holmes fires the ball away from Curtis Samuel on the fourth play to seal the Giants’ 20-12 Week 15 win over the Commanders.

“I’m closer,” said Holmes. “I’m an eraser.”

The difference between a win and a loss is about 50% of the odds of reaching the playoffs, according to

4. Interception of Julian Love against Ravens, Week 6

Probability of winning before/after: 23.5/67.5

A third-and-6 play marred from the start by a mishandled slam ended in disaster for Lamar Jackson when he lost his balance, instead going out of bounds to protect a 20-17 lead. . Love had the Giants’ first interception of the season, after 23 sacks by quarterbacks.

Love’s 27-yard punt return put the ball at the 13, Barkley scored a touchdown and Kayvon Thibodeaux capped the Giants’ only win against a certain playoff opponent when his first career sack also included forced fumble recovered by Leonard Williams.

“These games are really dangerous because you have the most dynamic quarterback out there,” Love said. “It was a missed shot, but as soon as he got it you could see his eyes looking down. This was when he made his big plays in his career. I was just kidding him.

5. Gang tackle at the 1-yard line against the Jaguars, Week 7

Probability of winning before/after: 65.3/100

In a scene reminiscent of the Rams-Titans of Super Bowl XXXIV, the Giants held on for a 23-17 win that ended with the ball inside the 1-yard line. Another 2 feet was added and the Jaguars would have tied the score with a chance to win on an untimed PAT. Christian Kirk had a 16-yard catch but was tossed in the air by Love, saved from a fall by Fabian Moreau and tackled by Xavier McKinney and Landon Collins.

Christian Kirk faced only the end zone in the fourth quarter of the Giants' 23-17 victory over the Jaguars.
Christian Kirk faced only the end zone in the fourth quarter of the Giants’ 23-17 victory over the Jaguars.

“We’re talking about the fourth-quarter finish,” Love said. “We’re talking about letting them out deep, so we can drown people. This is our team.

6. Barkley had 41 yards against the Packers, Week 5

Probability of winning before/after: 49.5/68.2

After the Giants went 90 yards for the tying touchdown without him, Barkley returned from a shoulder injury and made a 41-yard catch at midfield.

A sensational juke move helped spark a game-winning fourth quarter run that he capped with a 2-yard touchdown to cement the Giants as returning kings (each of their first four wins) with a 27- 22 against the Packers.

“Never have the mindset that the game is over,” Barkley said. “Every time we know we can come back and win a game.”

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