Giants still alive in playoff race as QB Tommy DeVito leads way on 3-game winning streak #Giants #alive #playoff #race #Tommy #DeVito #leads #3game #winning #streak

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants are somehow still in the NFC playoff hunt despite losing eight of their first 10 games and their top two quarterbacks.

The reason the Giants (5-8) are still alive is their current three-game winning streak and the unexpected emergence of undrafted rookie free agent quarterback Tommy DeVito.

The kid who grew up less than 30 minutes from MetLife Stadium has started four games since Daniel Jones (ACL) and Tyrod Taylor (ribs) went down and led coach Brian Daboll’s team to wins over Washington, New England and a stunning come-from-behind, last-second 24-22 decision over Green Bay on Monday night.

It’s been a fun, feel-good story to follow. However, the only reason it’s a story is the NFC has 11 of its 16 teams with a losing record.

San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia — all 10-3 — and Detroit are the class of the conference. Tampa Bay leads the South with a 6-7 record. Minnesota (7-6) is the only other NFC team with a winning record.

New York has the 12th-best record, but it is only a game behind six teams in the hunt for the third wild-card spot. Atlanta, Green Bay, the Rams, Seattle, New Orleans and the Bucs are all 6-7 with four games to play.

Star running back Saquon Barkley, who ran for two TDs and whose fumble deep in Packers territory set up Green Bay’s go-ahead TD with 1:33 to play, said while it feels great to be back in the playoff race, there is a lot of work to do, especially with two games left with the Eagles, who beat New York three times last season.

“So, you can’t get too focused on that,” Barkley said. “I think Coach (Daboll) said it best, keep the main thing the main thing and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do. Watch film, get better from this and get ready for our opponent. Going into a tough environment next week against the (New Orleans) Saints and got to try to find a way to get another win.”

WHAT’S WORKING

While the defense and DeVito have carried the Giants on their winning streak, the much-maligned offensive line stepped up against the Packers. After giving up 69 sacks in the first 12 games, the line did not allow one against Green Bay.

Led by Barkley and DeVito, New York rushed for 209 yards. The only knock was two false starts, including one by backup center Sean Harlow on third-and-1 from the Giants 49 on a play with two extra linemen in to block.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

For a change, nothing. The Giants had four scoring drives and 367 yards. The defense gave up two touchdowns, had two takeaways and two sacks. Special teams forced a fumble on a punt return that set up a touchdown and Randy Bullock hit a game-winning 37-yard field goal as time expired.

STOCK UP

Wan’Dale Robinson had his best game as a Giant, catching six passes for 79 yards and running twice for 36. His 115 yards from scrimmage were a career high. The second-year receiver who missed most of last season with a major knee injury had a 32-yard run on an end-around to set up Barkley’s 5-yard TD run. His 32-yard catch-and-run to the Green Bay 22-yard line late set up Bullock’s big kick.

STOCK DOWN

Bobby McCain. The veteran safety was signed as a free agent in the offseason and has not fit in. His low point might have happened early in the second half with the Giants ahead 14-10 following Barkley’s 1-yard TD run. The defense forced a punt on the next series. Packers punter Daniel Whelan did not hit it far, but the ball struck McCain on the way down, the Packers recovered to set up Anders Carlson’s second of three field goals.

INJURIES

Daboll said the team seemingly came out of the game injury free. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence returned to the lineup after missing a game with a hamstring injury and was on a pitch count.

KEY NUMBER

14 — The number of takeaways the Giants have over the past four games, with a dozen by the defense and two from special teams on punt coverage. New York had three Monday night, including an interception by Justin Pinnock and fumble recoveries by Xavier McKinney and Benton Whitley.

NEXT STEPS

The Giants will face the Saints in New Orleans. A win would give New York a head-to-head tiebreaker at the end of the season if needed.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL


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