The Giants hadn’t won any games – hadn’t even played any games – when Ben McAdoo spoke to them about their biggest challenge at one of the first meetings he had as head coach of the team back in April. It wasn’t about running the ball, sacking quarterbacks or scoring touchdowns. No, at that point, the coach with the 0-0 career record made it clear what obstacle he was most focused on overcoming.
“It’s handling success,” he said.
Seven months later, it still is. That’s why McAdoo spoke to the team about it again this week as they prepare to face the 2-7 Bears.
“[It’s about] being able to stay in the moment and focus on what we need to focus on,” McAdoo said. “Being where our feet are and getting ready for a game Sunday at 1.”
There is a tendency to label the exciting games as “must-win.” The ones against teams that also are vying for a spot in the playoffs, the ones that affect standings in the division.
Games like these next two against the Bears and the Browns? They’re as must-win as any of the others, if not more so.
A victory over the Bears would give the Giants a 7-3 record, prevent them from losing ground to the Cowboys in the NFC East (and maybe help them pick up a game if the Cowboys lose to the Ravens), and give them their first regular-season five-game winning streak since 2010.
For the first time since midway through 2012, the Giants have a little bit of prosperity, and in that way, it makes this the most difficult game McAdoo has coached so far.
“I think the guys believe,” he said of the players buying in to his philosophies. “When you put in a good week of practice, you study your opponent well and know the plan well, you can go out and trust your teammates and play with confidence. That helps.”
The Giants finally have the success they’ve wanted for a long time. Now they have to deal with it.
Combined points by which the Giants’ six wins this season have come. It’s the first time in team history they have had a stretch of six wins decided by so few points.
The Giants’ point differential this season (182 points scored, 184 points scored against). They are one of three teams entering this week with a winning record and negative point differential; Detroit is 5-4 and minus-1 and Houston is 6-3 and minus-25.