New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams has played 124 games in his NFL career since being the No. 6 overall selection in the 2015 NFL draft.
None will be as important as his next when the Giants head down to Philadelphia to face the top-seeded Eagles in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Williams had never played in a postseason game prior to this season. Not as a New York Jet — the team that drafted him — or his current team the Giants, who have invested resources and money in him the past few seasons.
Williams is not alone in this. Only one active Giant player, safety Landon Collins, had ever played in a postseason game in a Giant uniform prior to last week.
Williams relayed his enthusiasm to the media on Friday.
“You hear a lot before that playoff game that not a lot of players on our team had playoff experience. But we talked amongst ourselves and amongst each other (and) we’re like, ‘It’s a football game at the end of the day.’ Most of us have been playing football since we were eight years old. So, we’ve got to go out there and just treat it like a game,” he said. “With that being said, it still is a different feeling in the playoffs. Now I feel like we have a little bit of that playoff experience and a win under our belt and just a little more fire and attitude going into this next one.”
Williams did not play in either of the Giants’ games versus the Eagles this year. He is not alone in that, either. Several key starters, such as safety Xavier McKinney and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, also did not play due to injuries.
“I don’t know about advantages or weaknesses or anything like that,” Williams said. “I do know we do have a more healthy team this time going around. I’m looking forward to most of our guys on defense — a lot of our guys on defense were banged up the last few times we played them. I’m looking forward to playing with a complete team this time around.”
A win on Saturday night would send Williams and the Giants to the NFC Championship Game.