NFL history shows Giants can’t afford to fall into 0-2 hole

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Let’s start with some numbers.

And, no, 40 and 0 aren’t two of them.

The Giants can make that bit of grisliness irrelevant Sunday afternoon inside an antiseptic, climate-controlled box planted in the Arizona desert. There in Glendale, Ariz., at what is now called State Farm Stadium, they will take on the Cardinals, a team that hasn’t quite replaced the angry bird on their helmet with an actual tank, but you get the sense they won’t be mourning many losses this year, either.

Beat the Cardinals, as seems wholly likely, and the Giants would be 1-1 and could worry about the immediately looming task of tangling with the 49ers four days later in Santa Clara, Calif. Beat the birds, and they can justify all the rationalizations that followed the abysmal 40-0 loss to the Cowboys in Week 1, can take solace that it really was only one game. And plenty of good teams have started 0-1.

Lose?

Well, that’s where the numbers come in. Since 1990, 270 teams have started a season 0-2 (excluding the Vikings this year, who fell to 0-2 after losing to the Eagles on Thursday night).


Brian Daboll's Giants have a chance to put last week's ugly loss behind them by beating the Cardinals, The Post's Mike Vaccaro writes.
Brian Daboll’s Giants have a chance to put last week’s ugly loss behind them by beating the Cardinals, The Post’s Mike Vaccaro writes.
Robert Sabo for NY Post

Thirty-one of those teams recovered to make the playoffs.

That’s 11.5 percent, for those keeping score at home. More to the point, 88.5 percent of the teams starting 0-2 didn’t make the playoffs.

Quick NFL law: Don’t start 0-2.

“I think every week is the same for me,” Giants head coach Brian Daboll said Friday. “You’ve got to go out there, do the things you need to do during the week to try to put the best possible performance you can on the field. That’s the National Football League, that’s an every week thing. It’s always competitive.

“There’s always a lot of work that needs to be done, and I think consistency in approach and how you handle things is important in a leadership role, but certainly you’re excited every week to have an opportunity to go out there and play at your best and coach at your best.”

The Giants have one thing going for them: There really, truly — literally — is only one way to go following the Sunday slaughter they endured at Dallas’ hands, and that’s up. And though Arizona gave the Commanders fits earlier that day before losing — and, well, Washington isn’t likely to experience many more highs than that this year, truth be told — Sunday will bring about as agreeable a game as the Giants could’ve asked for.

(QUICK! Without looking it up! Who’s the Cardinals’ starting quarterback?)

The Giants, of course, would never utter such heresies.


Daniel Jones says the Giants have to take advantage of their "next opportunity," Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
Daniel Jones says the Giants have to take advantage of their “next opportunity,” Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

“I think just getting back to work, focusing on what’s ahead of us and what we can control now, and that’s the next opportunity,” said quarterback Daniel Jones, upon whom so many eyes will be laser-focused Sunday. “I felt the guys did a good job coming out ready to go today and attacking this week.”

Said Saquon Barkley: “Obviously [last Sunday was] disappointing. We didn’t compete at the level we needed to. We didn’t execute the way we needed to, but can’t harp on that too much. It’s the NFL. It’s a new week, and we can’t let what happened in Week 1 affect us in Week 2. Arizona is a really good team, they play really hard. Their defense ran to the ball really well against Washington, they tackle really well, and play really physical. So, we’ve got a tough challenge against them, and we’ve just got to come out and play football the way we know we can.”


Saquon Barkley says the Giants have to put their Week 1 disaster vs. the Cowboys behind them and focus on beating the Cardinals in Week 2.
Saquon Barkley says the Giants have to put their Week 1 disaster vs. the Cowboys behind them and focus on beating the Cardinals in Week 2.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

(Pencils down. It’s Joshua Dobbs! Which means you either have him on your fantasy team or you’re a huge Tennessee Volunteers fan.)

The Giants as a franchise enjoyed one of the great days of their history inside the Cardinals’ stadium, back when it was known as University of Phoenix Stadium, when they ended the Patriots’ dream of being undefeated with a 17-14 win in Super Bowl XLII. That capped a magnificent Giants season.

The goals this time around are a bit more modest. This game is to likely save one.

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