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SportsFootballGiants

Why winless Giants are still in race for NFC East title

Jerick McKinnon #28 of the San Francisco 49ers

Jerick McKinnon #28 of the San Francisco 49ers dives into the end zone for a second quarter touchdown against Logan Ryan #23 and Julian Love #20 of the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sep. 17, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Giants and the 49ers looked like teams playing at two very different levels on Sunday, but they do have one thing in common after three weeks of the 2020 season.

They are both technically in last place and both only one game out of first place in their divisions.

In fact, the winless Giants can even make the case that they are in a better position that the 2-1 Niners since they have yet to lose (or, to be fair, play) a game in the NFC East. San Francisco is 0-1 in the NFC West.

With Washington and Dallas atop the standings with 1-2 records and Philadelphia at 0-2-1, the Giants are – laugh if you must -- right in the race.

Not that the Giants are interested in dangling from such a gossamer hope. Cornerback James Bradberry said he is not even aware of the records in the division.

"I don’t really look at the standings too much," he said. "I just take it week by week."

That’s the way Joe Judge wants it to be.

"We have to focus on what we are doing day by day to take care of our own jobs and make sure we’re improving as a team and then all of the other things will start taking care of themselves," Judge said.

He even chuckled at the idea of drawing the team’s attention to the standings.

"There are 13 games left and it’s the NFL," he said. "There is a lot of ball left to be played."

NOTES & QUOTES: Judge had no definitive update on the ankle injury that knocked S Jabrill Peppers from Sunday’s game early in the first quarter. "We’re going to evaluate him day to day," Judge said. "They’re going through a couple more things with the doctor [Monday] afternoon but it looks like it could go either way at this point here" … Judge did say the leg injury suffered by LT Andrew Thomas late in the game was "nothing significant." Thomas returned after missing two snaps … LB David Mayo (knee) may be cleared to begin practicing with the team this week, starting his 21-day clock to come off injured reserve. Mayo had surgery on his meniscus in late August and was placed on IR in Week 1 … Judge often defends his players from outside criticism regardless of its legitimacy, but he apparently will not do so when it comes to officiating. "I think they were good calls," he said of game-changing penalties against Darnay Holmes and Darius Slayton. "You turn the tape on and, look, it was a hold. Call it what it is. We have to make sure we don’t do that. The illegal contact? That’s something we stress all the time." Judge said he wants the young players to learn from the costly mistakes. "They made the calls, that’s what the rules are, and we have to play within the rules," he said.

New York Sports