EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants can talk all they want about how tight their locker room is, how much they love Pat Shurmur’s new offense and the new 3-4 defense installed coordinator James Bettcher.
It’s all talk.
That loving feeling does nothing for the Giants (0-1) heading into Dallas this weekend for a Sunday night game at the Cowboys (0-1).
With apologizes to the Righteous Brothers of the 1960s and ‘70s, what the Giants need is that winning feeling.
New York won three times last season in a campaign that led to the firing of coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. The Giants are trying to bounce back under Shurmur and new general manager Dave Gettleman with a roster that includes more than 30 new players.
After a long offseason and training camp, this team needs the validation winning brings.
“Yeah, I think it’s important to get that win and feel good about the work and the preparation,” two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning said Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s because of last year. You got a lot of new players, different guys. You put last year behind us. It’s about us as this group. Knowing that we can find ways to win football games.”
The Giants came close in Week 1, losing 20-15 to the defending AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that was within a quarter of going to the Super Bowl before losing to the New England Patriots.
Safety Landon Collins said getting the feeling of winning is important, just as critical as not falling in a quick hole in both the division and conference.
“We’re stacking each and every day,” the safety and defensive captain said. “We’re working each and every day to become better as a team, as a whole, and making sure we get that win.”
Second-year tight end Evan Engram found wins few and far between last season.
“It’s definitely important to us this week,” Engram said. “It’s a big division opponent on the road and we are preparing to go in and win. We’re not worried about what can happen, or what if? What we are worried about is making sure we are taking care of things this week and we go out and play a complete game. It’s important we get that winning feeling and have a good plane ride back home. That’s the feeling we are chasing.”
Shurmur is well aware that teams that fail to win in their first two games have a tough time making the playoffs. In the last decade, the odds of making the postseason after an 0-2 record is a little less than 11 percent.
“Every game is important,” he said. “It’s not one more important than the other. Every game is important and makes a difference,” the coach said. “Our mindset is just having a great week of preparation, everybody being on the same page, understanding their schemes, know our assignments, go out there and play smart football, make plays, and put ourselves in a positon to win the game.”
Notes: LB Olivier Vernon did not practice. He sprained an ankle before the final preseason game against New England. It is uncertain whether he will play Sunday. ... LB Tae Davis (hamstring) returned to the field after missing the opener and was limited, as were WR Sterling Shepard (back) and RB Wayne Gallman (knee).
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