Landon Collins gave what may have been the most surprising answer of the season in Sunday when he was asked what the Giants will play for through the rest of this already dreadful season.
“The Super Bowl,” he said. “We’re still playing for the Super Bowl.”
This year’s? Because with the team at 0-5 and at least one of the key offensive playmakers done for the season with Odell Beckham Jr.’s fractured ankle, that seems impossible.
“We still have a chance,” Collins said. “It’s not over with. We still have division games we can still win. I remember a 9-7 team winning it all. We still have a chance.”
Maybe, but it’s becoming more and more clear that the season that began with championship aspirations is now teetering on becoming one of the worst in franchise history.
This is only the fourth time in Giants history that a team has started with five straight losses. They were 0-9 in 1976, 0-5 in 1987 (three of those games with strike-replacement players), and 0-6 in 2013. Their best finish in any of those seasons was 7-9 in 2013. They were also winless through five games in 1947 (0-7-2) and 1966 (0-4-1). The latter was the worst year in team history when they finished 1-12-1.
“It’s tough, it’s tough,” cornerback Eli Apple said. “You don’t want to get used to it. You have to do your best to learn from it and just get better each week.”
Last week it was guard Justin Pugh blowing the ‘we’re still in this’ trumpet at 0-4. Sunday’s loss, though, has even him facing reality.
“The percentages are dropping every week,” he said of the team’s chances of making the playoffs. “Last week there was only one team that did it (the 1992 Chargers made the playoffs after starting 0-4), so I guess that means no team has done it at 0-5. We just have to get one win. Right now we have to just look at one game. We can’t look big picture.”
There were others in the locker room who shared Collins’ optimism, even if it was forced.
“It’s only five games,” DE Jason Pierre-Paul said. “We’ve got to figure it out, right? We’ve got to figure it out. We can’t keep losing, you know what I mean?”
Said guard D.J. Fluker: “We’re gonna get better. Don’t leave us hanging.”
Winning games and getting better, though, is a far cry from competing for the Super Bowl.
“We can fight through anything,” Collins said. “We stick together and make every game tough on both sides of the field, we think we can do it.”