EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For the first time since 2016, the Giants will play their 16th game knowing they have a chance to extend their season. A victory against the Dallas Cowboys in MetLife Stadium Sunday afternoon, coupled with a Washington loss in Philadelphia that night, will result in the Giants winning the NFC East title.
They would do so with a 6-10 record that normally wouldn't put them in contention for entry into the playoffs as a wild card, much less a division championship. But the NFC East will have no teams finish above – or even at - .500. Someone must finish first and represent the division in the postseason. Why not the Giants?
A look at the Giants' quest by the numbers:
*A division title would be the Giants' first since 2011, a postseason berth their first since 2016.
*The Giants would be the first team in history to make the playoffs after starting a season 0-5. Since 2002, when the NFL reconfigured to its current eight-division alignment, 38 teams have lost their first five games (including the Giants, Jets and Atlanta Falcons this season). The Giants will not match the best final record of those teams, which was 8-8 by the Tennessee Titans in 2006 and 2009.
*From 1990-2020, 110 teams started 1-5, including six this year (plus Philadelphia and Cincinnati, which were 1-4-1). The Giants or Washington can become just the third of those 110 teams to make the playoffs, joining the 2015 Kansas City Chiefs and 2018 Indianapolis Colts.
*If the NFC East is won by the Giants, their six victories would be the fewest for a division champion, a distinction – if that's the correct word – currently held by the 2010 Seattle Seahawks, who were NFC West titlists at 7-9.
*The fewest victories a Giants playoff team ever had was seven. The 1946 Giants went 7-3-1 and lost to the Chicago Bears in the NFL Championship Game, 24-14. Since the 1970 merger, the Giants' lowest win total and winning percentage in a playoff year was in 2006, when they finished 8-8. The Giants lost an NFC Wild Card Game that season in Philadelphia, 23-20. The 1981, 1984 and 2011 Giants were 9-7. The last of those teams won Super Bowl XLVI.
*The Giants can join the 2014 Carolina Panthers as the only teams to have three wins through 10 games and make the playoffs. Those Panthers won the NFC South at 7-8-1.
*The Giants have defeated Washington and Philadelphia in MetLife Stadium and a victory against Dallas on Sunday would give them a sweep of their NFC East rivals at home for the first time since 2005. It would also leave them 4-2 against those three teams, their first winning record in the division since they were 4-2 in 2016.
View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
*When they defeated the Giants on Sunday in Baltimore, the Ravens ran for 249 yards, including 85 by Gus Edwards, 80 by quarterback Lamar Jackson and 77 by rookie J.K Dobbins. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Baltimore was the first Giants opponent with three rushers who ran for at least 77 yards apiece since Oct. 30, 1949. That afternoon, the Giants defeated the Cardinals in Chicago, despite rushing efforts of Charlie Trippi (125 yards), Elmer Angsman (88) and Babe Dimancheff (81).
*The Giants finished with 54 rushing yards against Baltimore. It was the first time they were outrushed at least 195 yards since Nov. 9, 2014 in Seattle (350 to 54).
*The Ravens averaged 6.1 yards on their 40 rushing attempts, the highest average on at least that many carries by a Giants opponent since…Nov. 9, 2014 in Seattle, where the Seahawks ran for those 350 yards on 45 attempts, a 7.8-yard average.
*The Giants, who ran just 12 times, last had at least 28 fewer rushing attempts than their opponents on Dec. 16, 2018 vs. Tennessee (45-16).
*This season, the Giants are 5-3 when they rush for at least 100 yards and 0-7 when they don't.
*The Giants lost to Cleveland and Baltimore the last two weeks despite finishing with zero giveaways on offense or special teams. This is the first time in Giants history they have lost two consecutive games without committing a turnover in each game. That goes all the way back to 1933, when records were first kept on turnovers.
*The Giants had one takeaway in Baltimore. Sunday's game was the second this season in which they had a positive turnover differential but lost. It also happened in Dallas on Oct. 11, when they had a 2-1 turnover advantage but lost, 37-34.
*In the last two games, the Browns (69%) and Ravens (73%) combined to convert 70.8% of their third-down opportunities (17 of 24). It is the first time since the 1970 merger the Giants allowed their opponents to convert at least 65 percent of their third-down attempts in consecutive games.
*The Giants have scored three or fewer points in the first half in four consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 16-Dec. 7, 1975, against Philadelphia, Green Bay, Dallas and Baltimore (Colts).
*In the first and third quarters, the Giants have outscored their opponents, 124-120. In the second and fourth quarters, they have been outscored 218-133.
*The Giants, Jets and Ravens are the only teams without a 300-yard passing performance this season. If the Giants don't get one Sunday, it will be their first season without one since 2004, when Eli Manning was a rookie. Daniel Jones had the Giants' last 300-yard game, throwing for 301 yards in the 2019 season finale vs. Philadelphia a year ago today.
*The Giants' longest play in Baltimore was a 20-yard pass from Jones to Dante Pettis. It was the first game in which the Giants did not have a play longer than 20 yards since Oct. 19, 2015, when they longest play was 17 yards in Philadelphia.
*Darius Slayton leads the Giants with three touchdown receptions. If no one exceeds that total after Sunday, this will be the first season since 1978 in which the Giants did not have a player with more than three (Johnny Perkins and Al Dixon tied for the team lead with three apiece).
*When nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson starts Sunday against Dallas, he will become the first defensive player to begin his career with the Giants and start each of the first 64 games of his career (four full seasons). The Giants' last offensive player to do that was lineman David Diehl, a fifth-round draft choice in 2003 who started the first 120 regular-season games – plus seven postseason games - in his career, the longest such streak by a Giant since the introduction of the 16-game schedule in 1978. The streak ended on Nov. 14, 2010 vs. Dallas because of hip and hamstring injuries Diehl suffered the previous week in Seattle.
*Sterling Shepard's season-high nine receptions against the Ravens increased his career total to 305. That moved him past Kyle Rote (300) and Victor Cruz (303) and into 11th place on the Giants' career list. Hakeem Nicks is 10th with 318.
*Evan Engram's seven catches increased his career total to 214, tying him with Homer Jones for 23rd on the franchise list. Steve Smith is 22nd with 220.
*Engram has a team-high 61 receptions this season. He needs three to match his career-high of 64, set in his 2017 rookie season, and five to tie the second-highest total by a tight end in Giants history – 66 by Mark Bavaro in 1986 and Jeremy Shockey in 2006. Shockey caught 65 passes the previous season and owns the franchise tight ends record with 74 as a rookie in 2002.
*Graham Gano has made 30 of 31 field goal attempts this season (96.8%). The team's single-season record was set two years ago by Aldrick Rosas, who hit 32 of 33 tries (97%).
*On Sunday, Gano tied Josh Brown's franchise record by making his 29th consecutive attempt. No other kicker in Giants history has succeeded on more than 20 in a row. Gano's 29 straight made field goals is the NFL's second-longest active streak, behind Seattle's Jason Myers' 33. He is the seventh Giants kicker with at least 30 field goals in a season.