When the Giants take on the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in the Wild Card round , it will be many of the players' first time in a playoff game, including Daniel Jones, as the franchise has not played in one since the 2016 season.
Heading into a make-or-break 2022 season, Jones has proved that he can be a franchise quarterback by going 9-6-1 as the starter after going 12-25 through his first three years in the NFL.
The 25-year-old spoke to reporters on Wednesday ahead of his playoff debut and said that he and the team are proud of making it this far, but their goals don't stop at just making the playoffs.
"I think it means a lot, I think it means a lot to all of us," Jones said. "A lot of guys who've been here these past few years and to be on the other side of it, it means a lot. But it's about what we do now from this point on and how we handle this opportunity, how we prepare, and ultimately how we play, how we execute on Sunday. We're certainly happy we are where we are, but there's a lot more work left for us."
Jones was asked if there is any different feeling around the locker room now that the Giants are in the playoffs, and said that the team understands "what's at stake" despite their lack of playoff experience.
"I think everyone understands where we are now," Jones said. "We're in the playoffs, we're past the regular season. The games mean more from the sense that if you lose, you go home. People understand that, they understand what's at stake. The only way we're going to play as well as we want to play is to prepare how we have all year, to trust our process and stick to that. That's largely been the conversation amongst the guys."
Jones added: "Like I said, it's about we do now and what we do with this opportunity."
The Duke product went on to say that he's expecting to be a little nervous for the Wild Card matchup, but is confident in his and the team's preparation all season long.
"Yeah I mean I certainly get excited, some nerves going into a game," Jones said. "Yeah I expect to have some of that for sure, I think we all do. Once you get there, once you settle in and start playing. It's what we've been doing, it's about executing and doing our job. I think that's a big thing."
After struggling through his first three seasons, Jones has "learned a lot" about himself. The former No. 6 overall pick said that in order to improve, you're going to have ups and downs, but it's all about having a consistent work ethic and desire to get better.
"I think I've learned a lot," Jones said. "We've been through a lot, I've been through a lot, ups and downs. It's not always going to be a straight line. You're going to get better and then go through some tough times and then get better. It's just about continuing that process, trusting that process and showing up every day."
The Giants will have a tough matchup on Sunday with the Vikings, but after playing them very close on Christmas Eve (27-24 loss), it feels as if Jones and the rest of the team are prepared to take the next step to try to pull off the upset victory to keep their season alive.