Do the Giants care about knocking the Eagles out of the playoffs? It depends on whom you ask.
After Thursday's practice, three days away from Sunday's 4:25 p.m. finale against NFC East-leading Philadelphia (8-7), several players acknowledged the possibility of playing the spoiler role.
"We want to play spoiler," said veteran safety Antoine Bethea. "We want to send them home. We're not going to the playoffs, so we definitely want to get this dub and knock them out."
If the Giants (4-11) end the 2019 season with a win over the Eagles, they could eliminate their tri-state rivals out of the postseason and allow the Dallas Cowboys to enter instead as the division champion, but that part is not necessarily what everyone is focused on.
"Any division game like this -- the last game of the season -- we have a chance to end it on a high note," said rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. "And yeah, it's a big game for a lot of reasons. But we have an opportunity for us to finish strong and put a few wins together here at the end of the season. So we're excited and I think we'll be looking forward to getting out there Sunday."
Second-year running back Saquon Barkley echoed his quarterback's sentiments, pointing to the past few weeks as evidence for the Giants trending in the right direction.
After Dec. 9's 23-17 overtime loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Stadium in Philadelphia, the Giants returned home and recorded a 36-20 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Then the Giants followed with last Sunday's 41-35 overtime victory against the Washington Redskins, giving the team its first string of consecutive wins since Weeks 3 and 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32-31, Sept. 22) and Redskins (24-3, Sept. 29).
"It's just confidence," Barkley said. "All these little things that are going on -- it just helps build confidence, especially like last week. When I see that OT period (on film) -- Week (14) -- we lost to the Eagles in the overtime period. This overtime period (against the Redskins), we get the ball and we go down, Jones and (rookie tight end) Kaden (Smith) get the game-winning touchdown.
"... It's not only knocking the Eagles out of the playoffs -- we're going against a team that's a playoff contender and that we know we're going to give them our best. It's definitely going to help us in the future when we're on the roads of adversity."
Eliminated from playoff contention amid a nine-game losing streak from Oct. 6 through Dec. 9, the Giants have a consolation on their hands, either way they look at it.
"This game right here just so happens -- if they lose, they don't go to the playoffs," said fifth-year defensive end Markus Golden. "So with me, it's not (a) big deal. I'm not, 'Oh, I want to stop them from going to the playoffs.'
"But I do want to get a win. And If we get a win, they don't get to go to the playoffs. So that's how it is and that's how it goes. I want to get a win, at the end of the day."