When the season started, not many people expected the New York Giants to be two games away from getting to the Super Bowl, but after defeating the Minnesota Vikings on the road in the Wild Card Round last Sunday, the Giants are, in fact, two games away from a Super Bowl.
Defeating the Vikings was challenging, and beating the Eagles, who are the number one seed in the NFC, might be even more difficult as the Giants travel down I-95 to face their division rivals at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
The Giants were swept in the regular season by the Eagles, including a 26-point loss in Week 14 at MetLife Stadium.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who rushed for only 28 yards in that Week 14 blowout, knows that defeating the Eagles won’t be easy.
“Obviously, the first game, they got up right away,” he said Wednesday. “Offensively, I think we did some pretty good stuff, but we could be a little more consistent. At the end of the day, we know they’re a talented team. They have how many pro bowlers? How many all-pros? They’re the number-one team in the NFC for a reason. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”
At this point, according to Barkley, the Giants are a confident bunch.
“Yeah, we’re a very confident team,” Barkley said. “We’ve kind of been that way throughout the whole season. Had our ups and downs, faced adversity, but our mindset has kind of been the same – just continue to come out, go out there with a competitive mindset, believe in each other, and that gives us the best opportunity.”
In 2022, the Giants made the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and won their first playoff game since 2011. As stated numerous times by many, no matter what happens on Saturday night, the Giants’ season is a success. However, Barkley is still hungry for more.
“We’re here for a reason,” Barkley said. “You’ve got to win football games to get into the playoffs. No one is just invited; you’ve got to get in. We got in, to make it to where you want to go – you’ve got to win, or you go home. We did that the first round, and now we’ve got another opportunity in the second round.”
Barkley is a Pennsylvania native, so he knows very well how hostile that Philly crowd will be on Saturday night.
“Their fan base is crazy,” he said. “They’re going to be loud; there’s going to be cheers, there’s going to be boos. There might be some double birds… I expect it to be a hostile environment. It’s the playoffs. That’s how it’s going to be. You know how Philly fans are. Growing up in Pennsylvania, obviously, I wasn’t a Philly fan growing up, but had a lot of Philly fans – I know how passionate they are. It’s going to be fun.”
Talent-wise, it’s not close; the Eagles are the more talented team. However, the Giants play hard and are well-coached, so they have a shot, but they will have to play their best game of the season to do it.