The Giants control their own destiny, as they’d clinch a playoff berth for the first-time since 2016 with a win over the Colts on Sunday afternoon. New York is heavily favored over an Indianapolis team who is 4-10-1 and is now led by veteran quarterback Nick Foles.
In his return to the field Monday night against the Chargers, Foles went 17-for-29 and threw for just 143 yards. The Los Angeles defense was able to intercept him three times and recorded seven sacks in the 20-3 win.
With that performance in mind, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale appears ready to bring the pressure this weekend.
“What’s going through my mind is that at that time, that’s the first game he’s played in a while," Martindale said. "So, it’s going to do nothing but get better for him, seeing things, going at a faster pace of it. But there’s definitely blood in the water.”
The Giants' defensive line has picked things up as of late. They’ve recorded eleven QB hits over each of the past two games, have a combined seven sacks, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
The duo of rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, along with Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, has been a force up-front for Martindale and the G-Men.
While Ojulari did suffer an ankle injury in last week’s loss to the Vikings, he was able to practice in limited fashion each of the past two days, and seems to be trending in the right direction. Cornerback Adoree' Jackson and safety Xavier McKinney also appear to be on the right path, which would be a huge boost for the Giants' secondary.
Despite that and the Colts’ recent struggles, Martindale won’t underestimate former Super Bowl MVP Foles and the weapons he has around him in this Indy offense.
“I’ve been in it long enough that I’ve gone against him when he was at Philly and those other places," Martindale said. "It’s going go be a challenge because he’s got plenty of weapons to work with. He’s got two NBA players playing tight-end (Kylen Granson and Mo Alie-Cox), and he’s got a bunch of receivers with huge catch radius -- anything that’s close to them, they catch. So, it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
The Giants defense isn’t the only ones with a challenge ahead of them. The long-time defensive coordinator is calling on Giants fans to show up and bring a playoff atmosphere on Sunday afternoon.
"Everybody’s talked about how we want playoff football around here. Here’s what we need: We need playoff fans to show up for this game and be as loud as they can be," Martindale said. "I can’t wait for it; it’s going to be exciting times here for our great fans and for our guys on defense."