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Game Preview: Giants host Packers on MNF

DARIUS-SLAYTON-SAQUON-BARKLEY-QUEST

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Three weeks ago, the Giants' season was teetering on irrelevance. A three-game losing streak left them with a 2-8 record. Another defeat would have guaranteed before Thanksgiving that they would finish with a losing record. The team's top two quarterbacks were on injured reserve.

But the Giants pulled themselves back from the brink. Rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito led them to victories against Washington and New England. Coming out of their bye and entering their home game Monday night against the Green Bay Packers, the Giants are 4-8 and still well outside the NFC playoff picture. But they have hope, which would have dissolved with defeats in their two previous games.

"That's the crazy part about this league," cornerback Adoree' Jackson said. "It's always like a horse race. The ones that are the front runners get out all the time, and then you see the ones in the back start to creep up. And then when they get even, somebody has to separate. For us to still have the opportunity to be in that hunt is a blessing. The confidence and the swagger never changed. We are just taking it a day at a time because we know the situation that we are in."

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 14 matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

The reality is the Giants have a slim chance to make the playoffs. They certainly can't afford to lose any of their last five games. The Packers have won three consecutive games to improve to 6-6 and currently hold the seventh and last seed in the NFC playoffs. The Giants are 12th and eager to fight to the finish. But they have the league's third-toughest remaining strength of schedule (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 three other teams (the Packers, Saints and Rams) that are all in the race as well. It's as interesting as it can get.

"Anything can happen in this league. It truly is one game at a time. We gotta go out there and win a football game on Monday night and that's the only thing that matters."

The Giants returned to work Monday following their bye week and coach Brian Daboll informed DeVito he would remain the starting quarterback. Speculation had risen that Tyrod Taylor would regain the starting job after coming off injured reserve. Taylor, who suffered a ribs injury on Oct. 29, will be the backup.

DeVito will make his third consecutive start 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 victories against the Commanders and Patriots to become the first undrafted rookie quarterback to record a 100+ passer rating in consecutive starts in the common draft era (since 1967). He is the fifth undrafted rookie since 1967 to win two of his first three career starts.

"It's an awesome opportunity," DeVito said. "It's just like any other game except on a Monday night, right? But yeah, it's an awesome opportunity, so just enjoy and go play football."

DeVito's presence, personality and production have energized the entire team and is one reason 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'm going to keep it real. We're not looking too far, we're not looking in on the hunt or the playoff pictures, but we take care of what we've got to take care of, everyone can say what they want about the season. But it's week whatever (14) and everything we want is still there. So, we don't need any extra motivation. Every game is a critical game no matter what, but especially now.

"I've been saying 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'm saying it, but I truly, truly believe that. I'm one of those guys that if I'm in a fight and I got my ass kicked for 11 rounds, the 12th round, in my head, if I still compete, if I could knock you out and get the win, then that's how it'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've still got a job to do. It's not really too hard to look at. I don't think it's really too hard to figure it out. That's how I look at it and that's what I firmly believe in."

As always, Daboll was more circumspect. He was asked Saturday if it was important this week to send a message to his players that the playoffs are still obtainable.

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

The important question for the remainder of the season is, where will they be late Monday night?

*The meeting with Green Bay is the Giants' 1,400th regular-season game in the history of the franchise. The Giants can earn their 400th home victory. They are 719-646-34 overall and 399-300-17 at home.

*DeVito's last prime time start was for Illinois against Iowa on Oct. 8, 2022. The Illini won, 9-6, but DeVito left the game and did not return because of an ankle injury he suffered when Iowa linebacker Lucas Van Ness tackled him for no gain late in the first quarter. Van Ness is now a rookie backup linebacker for the Packers who has 2.0 sacks this season.

*DeVito threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last two games while taking 15 sacks. The last NFL player to throw zero interceptions while being sacked 15+ times over any two-game span was Houston's David Carr in 2005. DeVito is the only player since 1970 to do so while also throwing for 3+ pass touchdowns.

*The Giants are hosting 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 the Giants are two-time hosts in the same year. In 2020, the Giants opened at home against Pittsburgh and later faced Tampa Bay on Monday nights.

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

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

View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.

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