Coach Ben McAdoo recaps the Giants' win over the Bengals after viewing the game tape:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – In the giddy aftermath of the Giants' fourth consecutive victory last night, Odell Beckham, Jr. reached for the stars. But Ben McAdoo continues to set an example for the entire team by keeping his feet remain firmly rooted in the ground.
Beckham visited the ESPN postgame crew following a 21-20 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals on the Monday Night Football and spoke of reaching the NFL's Holy Grail.
"We're really looking forward to Feb. 5 in Houston," Beckham told whatever remained of the nationwide audience. "That's the goal, obviously."
That, of course, is the date and site of Super Bowl LI. With a 6-3 record, the Giants can dream big. McAdoo's goals are more micro than macro. He is focused on preparing for the 2-7 Chicago Bears, who visit MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
"I'm glad he was listening," McAdoo said of Beckham on a conference call. "That's our goal. That's why we come to work every day. We want to make sure we get here, put our work and our time in. That's our one goal. We have a lot of work to do until we get to that point. It's good to have aspirations."
McAdoo was asked what he thought of the Giants' "playoff chances at this point?"
"I know this," McAdoo said. "I'm sitting here talking to you when we have a lot of preparation to get done for Chicago. That's what I'm focused on right now. We have to get ready for Chicago."
The Bears have struggled this season because of injuries, but they have beaten Detroit and Minnesota, two teams with winning records. McAdoo won't even consider the potential for a letdown.
"This is the National Football League," he said. "You have to prepare your best for the highest level. It doesn't matter who you're playing. Throw all the records out the window. Anyone can beat anyone, anywhere in this league. We need to have a great week of preparation. We're on a short week. We'll have one big practice on Thursday and an 80 percent launch day on Saturday. We need to be at our best, especially when we get in the building tomorrow."
• A compressed time frame for preparation is not the Giants' only issue; several players are dealing with injuries.
Brett Jones, who started at left guard in place of the injured Justin Pugh (knee), left the game after the first series with a calf injury. "He's sore," McAdoo said. "Had an MRI. We just have to see how the week goes." Return specialist Dwayne Harris did not play in the second half after hurting his toe. "Another guy we will take a look at how the week's going to go," McAdoo said. "See what he can do in Thursday's practice (the Giants will have a jog-through tomorrow)."
Giants.com hands out game balls in Monday's win over the Bengals
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was limited because of a tight lower back. "He's had some of that issue in the past," McAdoo said. "With that and the game plan, we thought it would be better to minimize his role."
It's possible none of those are long-term issues, but McAdoo has short-term concerns.
"The challenge is it's a short week," McAdoo said. "We're not going to do much tomorrow. Thursday's practice will be big for a lot of these guys."
When they do resume full-scale work, McAdoo expects Victor Cruz to participate. Cruz did not play last night because of the sprained ankle he suffered last week in the victory against Philadelphia.
• Beckham had a season-high 10 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown, despite the Bengals' focus on limiting his production.
"It's a good defensive scheme," McAdoo said. "They had two weeks to prepare for us. Two weeks and a day to prepare (because Cincinnati had a bye last week). They put a good plan together. They made it tough to get Odell the ball. I thought we made some progress in some other areas. Running the ball was one of them. They were committed to trying to take him out of the game, yes."
• Sterling Shepard scored the game-winning touchdown on a fourth-down, fourth-quarter, 3-yard pass from Eli Manning. McAdoo detailed his reasoning for not kicking a field goal.
"We were down by six," McAdoo said. "It's tough to move the ball against that defense. It's a good defense. I have confidence in our offense and I have confidence in the way we prepare and practice for the green zone. I thought we had a good plan. I liked our stack there.
"I liked our week of preparation down there. That's first and foremost. If we didn't practice well down there, we would've kicked the field goal. We practiced well. I thought he (Manning) was spinning it pretty good. The play calls we had down there I was comfortable with and confident in. I just let him know ahead of time. When it's goal to go on the nine, and it's tough sledding, you have to find some completions and get a little bit closer to give yourself a chance. I thought Eli played it well and everyone did a nice job on that fourth-down call."
• McAdoo gave his take on two rookies who started the Cincinnati game, cornerback Eli Apple, the team's first-round draft choice this year, and free agent wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr. Apple, who was replaced in the second half last week by Trevin Wade, started for DRC at left corner. Lewis stepped in for Cruz, had one 2-yard catch and a drop on a third-down Manning pass on the Giants' sideline.
"I think (Lewis) he had some moments where he needs to play better," McAdoo said. "I expect him to learn from those moments. He'll improve.
"Eli bounced back. He had three good tackles and was good in coverage. He had one missed tackle that we'll clean up. He bounced back nicely."