EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Landon Collins remembers the last time the Giants qualified for the postseason.
The Giants hope by late afternoon Sunday, everyone on the team will be part of the next playoff participant. They can clinch the franchise's first postseason berth since 2016 with a home victory against the Indianapolis Colts.
No one is taking this opportunity lightly.
"It's big," Collins said. "So, understanding like the urgency if we're in the playoffs and fine details and how you have to really tune into what's going on. And once a lot of the guys understood that part, you see a different atmosphere within the group of guys, and just everyone's more attentive and (paid) attention to detail."
Ascending to the playoffs would be particularly meaningful to Collins. He is the only member of the current roster who played on the team in 2016, when he was a second-year pro (wide receiver Sterling Shepard is still with the team, but on injured reserve). Collins also reached the postseason with Washington in 2020 but has never won a playoff game in his eight-year career.
"That's the next step," Collins said. "I want to get a (Super Bowl) ring. That's the goal. That's the end goal: Everybody wants to get a ring."
Collins was a first-team All-Pro six years ago when the Giants finished 11-5 and clinched a wild card berth when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were defeated on Christmas Eve, two days after the Giants lost a Thursday night game in Philadelphia.
"Oh man, it was a dream come true," Collins said. "It was hard work. It was a great family at that time just like it is now. And we all played for one another. That's what I remember the most: We all played for one another. We wanted it bad. And it was just a great opportunity to be out there and try to bring that game to the wire. So, it was good."
This opportunity is also special to Collins because he was jobless when the season began. He was released by the Commanders in March and was given a lifeline when the Giants signed him to their practice squad on Oct. 7. Collins was elevated to the roster for the games in Jacksonville and Seattle in late October but didn't see the field again until Dec. 18 in Washington. He was added to the roster last week and 33 snaps on defense and 17 on special teams and had four tackles, including his first sack of the season, on Saturday in Minnesota.
Collins will finally get to play in a home game when he is in uniform against the Colts.
"I left it in God's hands and just kept my nose straight, head down and kept going," Collins said of his lengthy inactivity. "There were some struggles. There was some adversity. I've stuck through it, and I'm reaping the benefits and the blessings of it.
"I was happy to be in the building. I was happy to be able to play. But just being out at practice and doing whatever they needed me to do. I was happy to be doing those things for sure. But it was more the fact like, 'I know what I can do to help this team. I need to get (on the field).' So, just the urgency to get on the field."
He is looking forward to the opportunity afforded he and his teammates this week.
"When you're given that opportunity to get into the big dance, every second, every down, every yard line, every measurement matters," he said. "It's not something that's given. You got to earn that."
View the best photos from safety Landon Collins' time as a member of the Giants.
*Pro Bowl defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, who was given a veteran rest day, was the only Giants player to miss practice on Wednesday.
Cornerback Adoree' Jackson (knee), linebacker Azeez Ojulari (ankle) and defensive lineman Leonard Williams (neck) were limited.
Ojulari hurt his ankle while sacking Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins on Saturday. He was asked what he thinks his chances are of playing against Indianapolis.
"I think I'll be straight," he said. "I mean, I'm trying to that's the goal, you know? Being ready to play. So, I'm trying to go see however it takes, day by day how I'm feeling. How I feel, that's the main thing and we get it going."
*Coach Brian Daboll said he will continue rotating Nick Gates and Ben Bredeson at left guard.
"I think they're both doing a good job," Daboll said. "So, we'll see how it goes this week. It could be the same; I think both of them have done a good job with things we've asked them to do."