Brian Daboll isn’t looking back. Not that there is much to see there, anyway.
The Giants have lost three of their last four games, including Thursday night’s 28-20 decision against the Cowboys in Dallas, putting what was perhaps an overly ambitious expectation of the postseason just a few weeks ago in peril.
But it’s the next four games — two against Washington, one against Philadelphia and one on Christmas Eve against Minnesota, four opponents with an imposing combined record of 24-8 — that will determine the fate of these Giants.
“The whole season obviously is in front of you right now,” Daboll said on Friday. “We have a long way to go, obviously, the rest of December here and the early part of January . . . You’re sitting at 7-4. You put yourself in a position to play meaningful games in December, which is important.”
Daboll even used a tool he rarely wields, making a comparison to his time in Buffalo to emphasize his point.
“Last year I think we were 7-6 after 13 games,” he said of a Bills team that did make the playoffs and was 13 seconds away from advancing to the AFC Championship Game.
That message seems to be sinking in with the players even if the rest of the world has a gloomier take on the prospects of this team based on recent results.
“Overall, I think this team is a team I’m proud of,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams said after the game Thursday. “I think on the outside world, it’s going to be easy for the critics or people to say the sky is falling type of thing, but we know inside that we have everything we need and everything in front of us.”
Said quarterback Daniel Jones: “We’ve got a really good opportunity going forward. We know that we have some big games down the stretch, and we put ourselves in a good position. We’ve got to heal up and take advantage of this long week and get back and learn what we’ve got to learn off this film. We’re still confident. We’re 7-4. We’ve got a lot still to accomplish.”
It sounds simple and silly, but to do that, they have to play at a higher level than they have been. That goes for an offense that has been stagnated by Saquon Barkley’s brief slump (he has rushed for 61 yards on 26 carries in the last two games combined after averaging 103.4 rushing yards per game in the first nine weeks of the season), a defense that hasn’t recorded a sack in two weeks (the team’s longest drought in five years) and just about every other facet of the operation.
“We can do a lot of things better,” Daboll said.
Will they, though? The Giants have put themselves in a position to be relevant. The next month will determine if they can go from there to the playoffs.
Notes & quotes: All seven inactive players in Thursday’s game have been starters for the Giants this season. Daboll said on Friday there is hope that some of them can return for next week’s game against Washington. “I think all those guys are improving,” Daboll said. “They’ll have three good days of treatment here coming up. We’ll see where we’re at on Monday.” . . . The Giants waived OL Devery Hamilton and DB Trenton Thompson, who were signed from their practice squad during the week because of the rash of injuries . . . Thursday’s Giants-Cowboys game on Fox drew 42 million viewers, the most ever in the NFL regular season.