*The Giants are looking to end the season on a good note and come out with a win on Sunday: *
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –The Giants' season finale tomorrow against the Washington Redskins is at once uniquely strange and numbingly routine.
It is the final 60 minutes of arguably the most disappointing season in franchise history, as the Giants will lug a 2-13 record into the game. Monday will commence an offseason of unprecedented change in the organization. It began yesterday with the introduction of new general manager Dave Gettleman, and will continue with the hiring of a new head coach and a significant roster overhaul.
But the current players and coaches aren't looking that far down the road. Their focus remains where it has always been, on trying to win the next game. The Giants are 0-3 under interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo, and he and his staff and players would love to celebrate the new year and end the season with a victory.
"We all want to win," Spagnuolo said this week. "What it would do for me is you always, cliché or not, you always remember the last game. Whether it was last week and you're enjoying a win and you got to put it to bed and the whole thing. But, if you win the last one it'll feel really good. I go back to 1999 when I was with the Eagles and we struggled. Now, we were a rebuilding team and all that and we went into the final two games of the season as 3-11 and won the last two games and it just carried us to the next season. Felt really good. So, we're chasing the feeling of what it feels like to be in a NFL locker room after a win and all that goes into all that. That's what we're chasing and hopefully we can get there."
Toward that end, the Giants will make no lineup changes that aren't prompted by an injury. So while rookie Davis Webb will be the No. 2 quarterback for the first time this season, Spagnuolo will be very happy if he never leaves the sideline.
"My hope is Eli Manning takes every snap on Sunday and we win the football game," Spagnuolo said.
That, of course, is Manning's hope as well. Earlier in the week, a popular supposition was that this could be Manning's final game in a Giants uniform. Gettleman seemed to allay that sentiment when he said "as of now" Manning will be the team's starter in 2018.
But like Spagnuolo, Manning did not let speculation or uncertainty about next season influence his thinking about the Washington game.
"Right now, I'm just worried about this last game and then kind of go from there and see what happens," Manning said on Wednesday. "Obviously, just want to try to go out there in the last game and try to play well, move the ball, see if we can get a win and end on a positive note. Everybody knows it's been a tough season. It's been tough for everybody, tough on the players, coaches, ownership, management, fans. We've been out of the playoff picture for a few weeks now, but we've just got to go out there and try to play at a high level."
Two weeks ago, Manning threw for 434 yards and the Giants played their finest offensive game of the season in a 34-29 loss to Philadelphia. Last Sunday, the offense never got on track in Arizona and the Giants lost, 23-0.
Now they must play the Redskins without their top two receivers, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, who are sidelined with rib and neck injuries, respectively. And for the first time in three years they will be without two-time Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins, who was placed on injured reserve this week with a fractured forearm.
But Spagnuolo and Co. are treating the injuries just as they are the uncertainty about what Monday and beyond will bring – by trying to control only what they can, and that is defeating Washington, and giving the Giants their first victory since an overtime triumph against Kansas City on Nov. 19.
"So much of the focus has to be on the task at hand – the mission, which is this game," Spagnuolo said. "It's been a very difficult year, like we mentioned. All of the injuries, all the circumstances that have come about and through it all we continue to try to do the very best that we can and just trying to focus on solutions rather than pointing out the problems or what's wrong.
"I love this organization. I bleed Big Blue. You don't spend 11 years in a place, have a couple Super Bowl trophies and not have special feelings. But, again, as far as the future, that's not going to be for me to decide. Whatever decision is made, I'll either have great memories and great gratitude for being here and move on to the next opportunity, the next challenge, with all kinds of energy and passion or have a chance to stay here and rebuild and get back to what the New York Giants are supposed to be. It's been very, very sad in terms of all that's happened. I mean, this is the New York Giants and going beyond what happens on the field as far as the record so forth, it's a special place and it'll be special again."