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2023 Playoffs

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Instant Analysis: Daniel Jones shines on big stage vs. Vikings

JIHAD-WARD

AT A GLANCE

The Giants and Vikings played in close games all season, so why would their Wild Card matchup be any different? In a rematch of their Week 16 thriller, the Giants returned to Minneapolis for their first postseason appearance since 2016 and came away with their first playoff victory since winning Super Bowl XLVI.

UP NEXT

The Giants have a chance to avenge another loss, this time to the Eagles. The NFC East rivals will meet at Lincoln Financial Field in the Divisional Round on a date and kickoff time still to be determined. Next week will be the fifth postseason meeting between the Giants and Eagles, who split the previous four evenly. The Giants won a 1981 Wild Card Game, 27-21, on the road and a 2000 Divisional Round matchup, 20-10, en route to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV. The Eagles have the upper hand as of late, eliminating the Giants in the 2006 (Wild Card) and 2008 (Divisional Round) playoffs.

View photos from the Giants' 31-24 Wild Card victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE

*Saquon Barkley spoke earlier in the week about knowing how the all-time great backs fared in the postseason. "The goal is to be the best," he said. "That's my goal. I've said that multiple times. I've been vocal about that multiple times. That's something that I want to accomplish. That's how I'm going to live my life and that's how I'm going to work every single day. Try and get to the top of that mountain and if I don't reach the top of the mountain, however far I get, at least I know I had the right mindset and I put the right work in that when it's all said and done, it's wrapped up there will be a smile on my face."

Well, the first carry of his postseason debut was a 28-yard touchdown that countered an opening-drive score by the Vikings. Barkley punctuated the night with another touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, which proved to be the game-winner.

*Barkley was hardly the only one playing in his first playoff game. Quarterback Daniel Jones completed his first five passes for 100 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins. The midseason waiver pickup from Buffalo has now found the end zone in five of his last six games.

*On the biggest stage of his career, Jones became the first quarterback in NFL postseason history with 300+ pass yards, 2+ pass TD and 70+ rush yds in a playoff game, according to NFL Research.

*Hodgins finished with eight catches for 105 yards and a score.

*The Giants led a 20-play, 85-yard drive that ate up more than 10 minutes in the second quarter. It ended with a field goal and a 17-7 lead at the time.

*The Giants converted seven of 13 third downs and both fourth down attempts, including a key quarterback sneak in their own territory with less than four minutes remaining in the game and a seven-point lead.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE

*The Giants had no players listed as out, doubtful or questionable on their final injury report, leading to cornerback Adoree' Jackson's long-awaited return. The team's most experienced cornerback had been sidelined since injuring his knee against the Detroit Lions on Nov. 20. A six-year veteran with six postseason starts in his career, Jackson rejoined a Giants secondary that also included safety Xavier McKinney, another top player who missed the 27-24 loss to the Vikings three weeks ago.

*Like he said leading into Week 16, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said Minnesota's Justin Jefferson is one of the best two receivers in the NFL – and he's not No. 2. The Giants held the All-Pro to 47 yards on seven catches (long of 10 yards).

*Tight end T.J. Hockenson, on the other hand, did damage again and hauled in 10 catches for 129 yards.

*The Giants registered 11 quarterback hits but no sacks.

*Outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari suffered a quad injury in the first half and did not return.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE SPECIAL TEAMS

*As one of the few players with previous playoff experience, Graham Gano made his lone field goal attempt from 25 yards and added four extra points.

*Jamie Gillan, who had one blocked in the first matchup with the Vikings, didn't punt until 4:21 left in the third quarter, and it nearly ended in a takeaway for the Giants. Cornerback Nick McCloud hit Jalen Reagor on the return, forcing him to fumble. But Vikings teammate Kris Boyd managed to recover the football.

IN-GAME INJURY REPORT

NYG: OLB Azeez Ojulari (quad), S Jason Pinnock (abdomen)

INACTIVES

NYG: CB Rodarius Williams, RB Jashaun Corbin, LB Micah McFadden, G Wyatt Davis, G Jack Anderson, WR Kalil Pimpleton, DT Henry Mondeaux

MIN: CB Cameron Dantzler (ankle/personal matter), RB Ty Chandler, OLB Luiji Vilain, DL Esezi Otomewo, DL Ross Blacklock

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