New York has already matched its preseason win total (7) just 12 weeks into the season and currently hold the sixth seed in the NFC’s seven-team field. That hasn’t swayed the folks at FanDuel, who have priced the Giants as +110 underdogs to make their first playoff appearance since 2016.
That comes on the heels of a humbling Week 12 loss to the Cowboys (8-3), who hold a one-game lead over their division rivals for the top wild-card spot in the NFC. Behind those two sits Washington (7-5), setting up the possibility of the entire NFC East making the playoffs – something that’s never happened in NFL history.
Can New York stave off a late-season collapse to snap a six-year playoff hiatus? Or is the betting market rightfully pessimistic about this team’s chances?
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Odds remain in Giants’ favor
Even after losing three of their last four games, the Giants are still on pace to make the playoffs thanks to that aforementioned 7-4 start. And that alone significantly boosts their postseason outlook.
Since the NFL expanded to a 14-team playoff field in 2020, 23 teams have won at least seven of their first 11 games. All but two of them (2020 Dolphins, 2021 Ravens) eventually made the postseason, including each of the last two Super Bowl champions.
That 91.3% success rate is somewhat self-fulfilling – the best teams with the best records naturally dominate the list – and it likely overstates New York’s actual playoff chances. Yet advanced playoff models still paint a favorable picture of this team’s path forward.
FiveThirtyEight’s QB-adjusted Elo forecast gives the Giants exactly a 50% chance of reaching the postseason. Football Outsiders’ model has a similar 50.2% projection, while the New York Times’ NFL playoff simulator is far more optimistic with a 64% chance for the G-Men.
That would imply a roughly -180 price for this team to make the playoffs, a far cry from its current odds of +110. Even if you’re less bullish on the Giants’ chances, the models and recent history all make a similar case: New York has a coin-flip chance or better to reach the postseason. At this price, that’s a steal.
Can Giants survive NFL’s home stretch?
Of course, the Giants still need to earn their spot in the postseason with their play on the field. And that won’t be easy.
Their first test comes this weekend against the Commanders, who have won six of their last seven games to surge into the final wild-card spot in the NFC. They’ll also have to survive two clashes with the top-seeded Eagles (10-1), in addition to a Week 16 road trip against the Vikings (9-2) and a Week 17 home game against the Colts (4-7-1).
It’s not like this is foreign territory for New York, though. According to Football Outsiders, the Giants have the 14th-toughest schedule remaining over the final six weeks. Their strength of schedule ranking through the first 12 weeks? You guessed it: 14th.
Betting on the NFL?
It helps that the Giants already own a half-game lead against Washington, which they will face twice over the next three weeks. Even splitting those two games would put this group in solid position to stave off the Seahawks (6-5) and Falcons (5-7), each of whom are coming off Week 12 losses of their own.
All told, the Giants are far from a lock despite their best start in six seasons. Still, the betting market continues to dismiss New York’s postseason chances, even as the rest of the NFC struggles to separate itself. That leaves plenty of value on a contrarian play for the NFL’s most surprising playoff contender.
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