METLIFE STADIUM-Baffling! The word concisely characterizes the New York Giants’ season entering Week 16 versus the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium this Saturday (1 p.m.).
After an inexcusably horrific display in losing by 23-10 to the now 5-9 Washington Redskins at home this past Sunday, the Giants took a step backward in their attempt to earn a postseason spot. They plunged into second place at 7-7 in the NFC East, behind the 8-6 Dallas Cowboys, and now face an equally desperate opponent in the 8-6 Jets, who are straining to secure a wildcard bid in the AFC following an embarrassing 45-19 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles on the road.
“We did not play New York Giants football,” said the seemingly exasperated and perplexed Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty, standing in front of his dressing cubicle in the home locker room. “It’s just a very disappointing loss.”
The frustration among the Giants was reflected in both their tone and demeanor. No one could conjure a reasonable explanation for how they could play with minimal focus and little spirit with so much on the line, particularly one week after an inspiring 37-34 victory over the Cowboys in Texas.
“We played against a very good football team on the road, a division opponent,” Canty said of the Cowboys, “performed at a very high level and were able to get a win. Then we come back home, we should have more energy, we should have sharper execution, and we did not demonstrate a greater purpose…We looked like the four-win team today rather than the Redskins.”
Really, the Giants are what they have been since Week 1: a maddeningly inconsistent group that has failed to establish an identity, sustained self-determination and an appreciation for prosperity. They were once 6-2 and have managed only one win since Nov. 13.
Despite being assured the division title by winning against the Jets and the Cowboys, who they’ll meet again on New Year’s Day at the Meadowlands, the Giants are an unmistakable reflection of their .500 record-an average team that still sees light at the end of the tunnel, even if it’s only a flicker.
“It’s going to be do or die,” said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka on Monday regarding the Giants-Jets matchup. “Our playoffs have already started…This week is going to be huge for us.”