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DL Leonard Williams makes long-awaited postseason debut


Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams has been a valiant leader on the team's defense, yet he has never played in an NFL postseason game. Williams, an eight-year NFL veteran, has been outspoken about those aspirations after narrowly failing to clinch his rookie year. He recently joined the Giants Huddle podcast to share his thoughts ahead of Sunday's contest in Minnesota, where the Giants will face the Vikings for the second time in three weeks.

Williams described the days leading up to Super Wild Card Weekend with a degree of excitement, joking "we're working overtime right now." He continued, sharing, "I really appreciate working this week when most of my career, I've been packing my things for the offseason."  

Williams said his outlook is perhaps different from what other players conclude. While fellow veterans offered advice from their own postseason experiences, Williams reiterated a unique sentiment to younger players in the locker room.

"Every year is a new team. Even if you are on the same team, every year is a new team," Williams said. "I shared that story with the D-line as well before the Colts game. We have to take advantage of this opportunity because we just never know when it will come back."

Head coach Brian Daboll has harped on the value of consistency, and Williams echoed the sentiment: "I think it's smart to not overcompensate for this game. Whatever has given us success we should keep doing and probably do a little more of."

Despite the "personal adversity" he has endured this season, Williams knows the postseason is a time for exceptional perseverance: "I'm going to play every game from now on like it could be the last game of the season. So, that means I'm going to lay my body on the line. In that way, you play a little bit harder in the playoffs for that reason."

Williams said that the heightened intensity in Minnesota will also be met with a level of familiarity knowing that the Giants and Vikings recently met on Christmas Eve. Though he expects some changes to the Vikings' offensive line, the team is prepared for "whoever's on the field."

"It helps to play a team with a quick turnaround like that because you kind of remember a lot of their tendencies and the guys and stuff like that," Leonard added.

The key to stopping an offense armed with players like wide receiver Justin Jefferson, tight end T.J. Hockenson and running back Dalvin Cook is preparation.

"I think we're just going to have to keep being the type of defense that we are," he said. "One thing I do love about playing with this defense is that we fly around, and we play for each other, and we are a very selfless group. I think a lot of times on pressures, guys are willing to be the sacrifice for someone else to make a big play. And I think that has come a long way."  

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