Home Text messaging What’s next for the Giants as they head into the NFC East Thanksgiving showdown with the Cowboys?

What’s next for the Giants as they head into the NFC East Thanksgiving showdown with the Cowboys?

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LONDON – And now for these surprising giants?

They are 4-1 after Sunday’s shock win over the Packers, and are off to their best start since opening 5-0 in 2009.

This season perhaps serves as a cautionary tale, as the Giants closed 3-8 and missed the playoffs. Of course, at the time, they were only two years away from Eli Manning’s first Super Bowl championship. Expectations were much higher than they are now.

These Giants of 2022? Good, this the team wasn’t supposed to do this.

They showed they were real by beating the Packers in London – while matching last season’s winning tally – after beating three seemingly less impressive teams (Titans, Panthers and Bears).

So you have to wonder how high the ceiling is for rookie head coach Brian Daboll’s first team. A place in the playoffs? An NFC East title?

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Right now, the Giants and Cowboys are both 4-1 — trailing the Eagles 5-0 — and on a collision course for their Thanksgiving game in Dallas.

There’s also this: Because the Jets are 3-2, they and the Giants have winning records in Week 5 for the first time since mid-2015.

Before the end of Week 9 the Giants get the Ravens (home), Jaguars (away) and Seahawks (away). Baltimore is 3-2, Jacksonville 2-3 and Seattle 2-3. The Ravens are certainly a legitimate opponent, at least.

And coming out of the bye, the Giants get the Texans (1-3-1) and Lions (1-4) — both at home — ahead of that Thanksgiving showdown with the Cowboys. (Throughout, the Giants had a relatively favorable non-split home schedule.)

At least the Giants gave themselves considerable wiggle room for five weeks, beating two teams (Titans and Packers) who were clearly seen as superior to them at the start of the season.

So is it really possible for the Giants to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016? No one would have imagined this, after a five-season streak, 2017-21, in which the Giants were 22-59, tied with the Jets for worst in the NFL.

And the last time the Giants won a playoff game? Manning’s second Super Bowl title, in 2011. For Giants fans, that feels like an eternity. Manning, 41, hasn’t been the Giants’ full-time starting quarterback since 2018. He’s now embracing his inner ham, as a Giants ambassador and TV personality.

He was in London this weekend. But in a fun (and unintentionally) cruel moment, the game’s stadium hosts announced they were set to do an interview with a former Giants quarterback and Super Bowl winner – then brought out David Carr , which technically fits both descriptions. But come on.

For much of the last three seasons, it’s been that kind of deal for Giants fans – expecting Daniel Jones, who shares Manning’s low-key demeanor in player interviews, to thrive as its predecessor did… only to be disappointed.

But maybe things are starting to turn around for the Giants, under their new coach, although Jones might not be a long-term quarterback solution for rookie general manager Joe Schoen.

No matter how you slice it, Sunday was a game-changing win for the 2022 Giants.

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It was the 32nd regular season game the NFL had hosted in London – and the first in which both teams had winning records, as the Packers were also 3-1.

It was technically – and also practically – a road game for the Giants, as Packers fans vastly outnumbered Giants fans in the crowd of 61,024 at the lavish Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Giants – eight-point underdogs – were booed vigorously as they entered the field before the game, the Packers cheered loudly. The place went crazy when Aaron Rodgers was introduced.

The Giants felt it all. And they responded, despite pre-game attrition on offense and in-game injury issues on defense. That’s what good, well-trained teams do.

Right now, in the face of all the low preseason expectations, the Giants are both of those things. Which means the weeks ahead are suddenly all the more relevant.

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Darryl Slater can be reached at [email protected].