"We're really looking forward to Feb. 5 in Houston," Beckham said on the ESPN set after Monday night's 21-20 win over the Bengals, via The Daily News. "That's the goal obviously. I probably said that the past two or three years since I've been in the league. I feel real confident in this team. This defense is a Super Bowl defense. This is a playoff defense. The offense, we're working to get better each and every day."
We're about to hear a lot about the Giants over these next few weeks that we have not heard all season. The team (6-3) will capitalize on the same soft part of the schedule that initially vaulted the Eagles into headlines when they take on the Bears at home next weekend and the Browns in Cleveland after that. The potential to be sitting at 8-3, right behind the white-hot Cowboys with an early December rematch looming, is very real.
Call it payback, perhaps. The Giants have been a good team all year, which ran into a few injuries at positions -- offensive line and running back -- that matter to this system more than most. Surviving a game against the hungry Bengals coming off a bye was the next step in legitimizing all of the talent brought in this offseason. The defense to which Beckham was referring closed out the game with a few emphatic sacks on Andy Dalton -- a hammer the team has not yielded in recent years. Safety Landon Collins is playing like one of the five best players at his position.
With Beckham's Super Bowl sights, people are already drawing comparisons to the 2011 team that crept into the playoffs and pounded their way to the Super Bowl. While that may be an overreaction at this point, saying they'll return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 isn't. Out of all the things we'll hear about the Giants over the next few weeks, that might be the most cautiously ambitious.
While the recent Tom Coughlin era also had a four-game winning streak (back in 2013 after the team started 0-6), their hallmark toward the end was an inability to truly capitalize on any momentum and get over the most significant hurdles. Beating Cleveland and Chicago would go a long way toward changing that.