For Tommy DeVito, Monday night’s game against the Packers was his first since being named the starter over Tyrod Taylor by coach Brian Daboll.
The stakes were high.
To keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Giants likely couldn’t afford a loss to Green Bay.
DeVito, named the starter coming out of the team’s bye week, seemed undaunted.
“Yeah, it’s an awesome opportunity,” he said. “It’s just like any other game except on a Monday night, right? But yeah, it’s an awesome opportunity to be [one of two] games on and just enjoy and go play football.”
Last week, Daboll named DeVito the starter over 13-year veteran Taylor, who was the backup Monday. DeVito had started three straight games after Taylor and Daniel Jones were lost to injury, but Taylor was available again after recovering from broken ribs.
Taylor, not surp risingly, has been a willing mentor to the rookie.
“The best advice he’s definitely given me is ‘be yourself, you’re more than enough.’ I think you can take that 100 different ways,” DeVito said, “but it’s really just don’t do too much and don’t do anything less, just do exactly what you’ve done to get here because that’s what helped you get here.”
DeVito added that he will continue to lean on Taylor.
But on Monday night, it was his show again.
The Packers appeared to be a worthy adversary, to say the least. For starters, coach Matt LaFleur entered with a 16-0 record in December.
The matchup was a favorable one for Saquon Barkley. The Packers allow 136.3 rushing yards per game. Only the Broncos and Cardinals allow more.
Barkley was bullish when he spoke about the Giants’ playoff chances.
Clearly, he still believes.
“We’re in this, to be honest,” he said. “I’m going to keep it real. We’re not looking at playoff pictures. But [if] we take care of what we’ve got to take care of — everyone can say what they want about the season — but it’s Week  and everything we want is still there. So we don’t need any extra motivation. Every game is a critical game no matter what, but especially now.”
The Packers entered the game on a three-game winning streak and had won four of their last five.
“So Monday night, you’ve got a team who’s hot,” Barkley said. “And we won our last two games. No more excuses. Tommy DeVito is not a rookie quarterback anymore. He’s going into his fourth start. Injuries, we’ve got guys getting healthier [including Dexter Lawrence]. Everything we want is there. So we were a team last year that was able to find a way to make it into the playoffs, and that’s still our goal. Every team’s goal at the beginning of the season is to make it to the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl, and statistically and mathematically we’re still in it.”
When Daboll spoke to reporters last week, he said he had heard Barkley’s comments.
“Look, the only thing that we can control is going out there and playing and coaching as good as we can control,” Daboll said. “Try to focus on that, have a good week of preparation, have a good week of practice, do all the necessary things we need to do to go out there on Monday night against a good team that’s playing well and play as good as we can play. That’s where we’re at here.”
The Giants have two wins against the Commanders and also have defeated the Cardinals and the Patriots. None of those teams has won more than four games.
In the Packers’ three straight victories over the Chargers, Lions and Kansas City, quarterback Jordan Love threw for 857 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions.
He completed 25 of 36 throws for 267 yards and three scores for a 118.6 rating against Kansas City. It was his fourth game with at least three touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of more than 100, which is tied for the most in the NFL.
Love ranks seventh in the league with 22 touchdown passes. Giants quarterbacks Jones, Taylor and DeVito have totaled 18.
Daboll said of Love, “He’s accurate. He’s got quick feet. He can throw the ball wherever it needs to. He seems like he’s really in control of the system.”
On that, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale agreed.
“Love’s in a good groove,” he said. “He’s playing with great rhythm and confidence. His arm angles are similar to [Aaron Rodgers]. You could see that he’s watched Aaron play a lot and you know how much I believe in Aaron. I think Love is just playing really well.”