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Giants left to watch scoreboard on Christmas Eve for playoff berth

Giants quarterback Eli Manning runs to the field

Giants quarterback Eli Manning runs to the field prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

The Giants still are in control of their own path to the playoffs. For now, though, they will be spectators to it.

The Giants will have four games to watch in three different time slots on Saturday and Monday night, any of which could clinch for them a first postseason berth since 2011.

If the Packers lose to the Vikings (or tie) or the Falcons lose to the Panthers in 1 p.m. games on Saturday, the Giants are in. Barring that, if the Bucs lose to the Saints (or tie) at 4:25 p.m. Saturday, the Giants are in.

If none of that happens, there’s one final chance on Monday night before the start of Week 17. It’s an ugly one, though.

“The last thing I want to do,” linebacker Jonathan Casillas told reporters Thursday night, “is damn near cheer for Dallas.”

Yes, it could come down to the Cowboys beating or tying the Lions on Monday night for the Giants to get in.

The Giants could have eliminated all of the rooting and angst by beating the Eagles on Thursday night. Instead, they lost, 24-19. Now their holiday weekend off will be spent red-zone channeling and social-media surfing for updates in games in which they have zero control.

“We weren’t coming in here expecting to lose,” defensive end Olivier Vernon said. “We just have to refocus now and head to Washington . . . I’m not worried about anybody else. I’m worried that we lost a game today, which we shouldn’t have. We have to look forward to next week and whatever happens happens.”

Even if all of those games go against the Giants, they can get in with a win in Washington in Week 17, and there likely will be other scenarios that can clinch for them. For now, though, they will watch.

Well, some of them will.

“You’ve got to,” Victor Cruz said. “Even if you keep a third eye on it, check the scores, watch all the games. Whatever you do. If you care about playing this game and you care about making it to the next round and making it to the playoffs, you’ll definitely keep an eye on it for sure.”

As for plopping down in front of the screen with a foam finger and a bowl of guacamole, count Landon Collins out of that picture.

“I don’t watch football,” he said. “If the teams that are supposed to lose lose, then we’re in there. I just don’t watch football.”

Ben McAdoo said on a Friday conference call that he won’t spend much time physically tuned in to the games.

“I’m going to spend a little time with the family and make sure we stay focused on Washington,” he said. “We have a big ballgame coming up and we need to put a good plan together and put these guys in position to be successful.”

The doomsday scenario for the Giants, in which they win 10 games and fail to make the playoffs, remains in play until they are officially in the postseason.

That would entail none of the four games this weekend going their way and then, in Week 17, the Giants losing in Washington while the Packers beat the Lions and the Bucs beat the Panthers.

It would create a three-way tie for the two wild-card spots, with the Giants, Lions and Bucs all at 10-6. Despite the Giants’ head-to-head win over the Lions, Detroit would get the No. 5 seed based on its conference record among the three. That would leave the Giants and Bucs in a tie for the No. 6 seed. The Bucs would win, again based on conference record, because there is no head-to-head game to serve as a tiebreaker.

Anything other than that and the Giants are a playoff team. Which is where they wish they already were — and still believe they will be.

“As long as we get in, I don’t care which way, shape or form we get in,” Cruz said. “We just want to get into the dance and see what happens.”


The Giants will make the playoffs as a wild-card team under any of these scenarios:

1. A Lions loss or tie against the Cowboys

2. A Packers loss or tie against the Vikings

3. A Buccaneers loss or tie against the Saints

4. A Falcons loss to the Panthers

New York Sports