Ben McAdoo is being the Grinch of clinch.
While the rest of the football world and Giants Nation is busy counting down the scenarios that will get his team into the postseason for the first time since 2011, McAdoo sat atop Mount Crumpit this week disparaging the celebrations and focusing on one thing and one thing only: The Eagles.
“It’s just something to talk about, it’s a distraction if you let it be,” McAdoo said of the playoff carrot that dangles on the other side of Thursday night’s game in Philadelphia. “We need to be focused on the game on Thursday night, on getting ready to play Philadelphia. That’s what this week is all about.”
And the fact that the Giants will be a playoff team if they win?
“Doesn’t register at this point, no,” he said.
The players are trying hard to follow that lead. Very hard.
Odell Beckham Jr., who has spent a good portion of his first three pro seasons talking about getting the playoffs and can get lathered up talking about competing in an ugly sweater contest, ducked the topic of the postseason now that he is on the threshold.
“Honestly, we just have to focus on this one right now,” he said. “If [making the playoffs] had a box by it, it would get a check but it’s not the end all be all. Obviously it goes way bigger than that. It’s a stepping stone.”
But for a player such as running back Rashad Jennings, who is in his eighth NFL season and has never even been on a team with a winning record, it’s even more of a challenge. He’s on the verge of something he’s wanted his entire career, his entire life, and he’s supposed to ignore it?
“Well, that’s what they say,” he said. “It ain’t going anywhere.”
Not from his thoughts, he meant. Jennings knows the cleanest way for the Giants to get into the playoffs is to win against the Eagles. All the players do.
“Every player has that on their mind,” he said. “You should. But is that the focus? Is that what you’re zeroed in on? Absolutely not. But you know it’s there.”
If the Giants do win and get in, Jennings said he’s looking forward to having “a different conversation” next week. Until then . . .
“It’s not promised yet,” Jennings said. “The only thing that’s promised is two games so we have to finish this regular season how we want to.”