It’s Year 1 of another rebuild in the Meadowlands, but these Giants look nothing like the constructors of the past. New York is exceeding expectations and looks playoff-bound for the first time since 2016. While there’s a lot of football to be played, including matchups with tough NFC East opponents, the Giants are sitting comfortably at 6-2 as they leave the halfway mark and prepare for their Week 10 matchup with the Texans.

Here are five predictions for the second half of the season:

 

Giants win a wild-card spot and make first playoff appearance since 2016

If you were preaching the postseason since the summer, well, you’re either a die-hard fan or quite prophetic: If the season ended today, the Giants would be playoff-bound. General manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll arrived to expectations of an arduous rebuild, and while the rebuild is still happening, the early returns for the organization and its fans have been as many wins in eight games as they’ve had in an entire season since 2016.

It’s not inconceivable that we’re looking at an 8-2 Giants squad as it heads into its Turkey Day matchup at Dallas. With the Texans (1-6-1) and Lions (2-6) looming the next two weeks, the Giants have it about as easy as you could set it up. From there, things get tougher thanks to five games left against an unexpectedly excellent NFC East. The Giants still have two games against the undefeated Eagles (8-0), one more against the 6-2 Cowboys and two versus the not-terrible Commanders (4-5). New York also has a Christmas Eve meeting with the Vikings, who at 7-1 are in command of the NFC North. Then there’s a New Year’s Day date with the Colts, who are already singing “Auld Lang Syne” by firing their coach and plucking an interim from the TV all on the same Monday.

My prediction: The Giants finish the season at 11-6, behind Philadelphia and Dallas in the East, earn a wild-card berth and give the Vikings a run for their money in the playoffs but ultimately come up short. Despite the loss, the postseason berth gives Giants fans a lot to be hopeful about heading into the 2023 season.

 

It’s not going to be pretty

All above considered, the next nine games won’t all be beautifully executed masterpieces. Why? For one reason, the Giants don’t really play those types of games. They have walked a tightrope this season, surviving on last-minute comebacks and fortunate bounces with seven of their games decided by one possession. Given how well this team is coached versus the talent deficiencies at certain positions, I think it’s going to have to grind out its remaining victories, so expect more edge-of-your-seat, fourth-quarter madness.

“Recipe or not, it’s working,” Schoen said last week. “I think, again, there’s nine games left. There’s things we know we can improve on. You can’t coach effort. You can’t coach toughness, and our guys have been tough. They’ve been competitive. They’ve been resilient. They’re playing their butts off. They’re preparing right.

“And we’ve been able not to beat ourselves. We turned it over a couple of times in Seattle, but there’s 11 minutes left in the game, it’s 13-13. That’s where we’ve been a lot this season. We’ve made more plays than the other team.”