TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — If the New York Giants are going to make a run in the playoffs, they must get their offense in gear for the first time this season and start playing better on the road.
The Giants (10-5) are locked into the fifth seed in the NFC and are not going to have a home game unless the top four seeds all lose. That’s not likely.
Their offense, expected to carry the team in Ben McAdoo’s first season, has not scored more than 28 points in any game this season. It’s averaging 19.4 points and has not scored more than 19 in any of the last four games.
The road also has not been kind to New York. It is 3-4 away from MetLife Stadium, and one of those wins was a neutral site game in London against the Rams.
In fact, the last two road games have been dismal efforts in losing at Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the latter on Thursday night when the Giants had a chance to secure their first postseason berth since 2011. New York got in on Saturday when the Saints beat the Buccaneers.
Heading into the regular-season finale at the Redskins (8-6-1) on Sunday, the Giants need to start playing their best football. The defense has done that all season, but Steve Spagnuolo’s unit can’t overcome all the penalties, turnovers and mistakes plaguing the offense this season.
“Obviously we have done some really good things, we have 10 wins,” left guard Justin Pugh said. “There is a reason why we are in the playoffs. But to go out there and do some things personally and as a unit, we obviously have things that we want to work on from last week. Like I said before, you want to be ascending going into the playoffs and we have a chance to do that going up against a tough divisional opponent in their place.”
Halfback Rashad Jennings believes the offense is close to turning things around.
“Looking at the tape and how we’ve adjusted to different things, seeing that the mistakes are correctable, that’s what’s exciting,” Jennings said. “If we’re out there, you put on the tape and we’re just getting beat, but these are corrections that can be corrected.”
There are some who feel that at this point the goal for the offense is not to lose games. Veteran receiver Victor Cruz is not so sure that’s the way to play.
“I don’t know,” said Cruz, who was on the Super Bowl winning team in February 2012. “I think it’s we want to go out there and score points and move the football. I don’t think we want to just be clean or just manage the game. I think we want to go out there and perform and execute and hit our spots when we can and score touchdowns. That’s what we want to do. We have that much more confidence going into the next game.”
Cruz said the change can happen any week.
“You never know, the plan is always to score 30, 40 points, however many it takes to win,” he said. “You never know, every week is different.”
This game could have a playoff environment. Washington can clinch a playoff spot if it gets some help. There are two scenarios:
Washington wins and the Green Bay-Detroit game does not end in a tie, or the Redskins tie, Green Bay loses and Tampa Bay loses or ties.
“We feel comfortable playing them,” Pugh said. “They are a good team. We know them, they know us. It is just like any other divisional game. It would be nice to knock them out. We are not their biggest fans and they are not our biggest fans, so to send them home would be pretty good for us.”
It would also be a passing grade in getting ready for the playoffs.
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