Even with the tough upcoming schedule, that lead appeared to be safe, with both the Cowboys and Redskins struggling and Eagles already out of contention.
But at the same time the Giants hit a cold spell before their bye week, the Redskins proceeded to get hot, and the rest is history.
“We didn’t get to the playoffs,” Hakeem Nicks said. “It wasn’t the season that we wanted, but things happen and I just look forward to coming back strong.”
Eli Manning said he’s disappointed that the season is over and that the Giants didn’t handle their business as the year progressed.
“We knew the circumstances at the end of the year,” he said. “We needed to play our best football. We needed to win some important games, and we weren’t able to come through.”
Blowing the division lead, Manning said, was extremely frustrating. He said the game on the road against Washington in Week 13 (17-16 loss) served as the turning point in the season.
“We had to win,” Manning said. “We had to play our best football, and we couldn’t do it. There’s no one to blame, or no one to look at except ourselves.”
Sunday’s big win against the Eagles was impressive, yet the effort came a few weeks too late. Ahmad Bradshaw said it was a great game and a good way to end the season on a high note.
“It’s a great opportunity to see these faces, he said. “You just never know who won’t be back next year, including me.”
Bradshaw said he doesn’t know anything about whether he’ll be back next season but expressed his passion for the Giants’ organization.
“I’m all in,” he said. “That’s how I’ve been since I’ve been here. I bleed red, white and blue, and that’s what’s it’s about with me right now. I can’t go into any other details about it, but I will always be a Giant forever.”
Some big decisions are looming for the Giants concerning personnel, but it will basically be the same time from this year. Keep in mind, this year’s team was very similar to the 2011 team that won the Super Bowl. The pieces are there; it’s just a matter of consistently playing to their potential.
It’s going to be a long offseason, so the opening game of 2013 can’t come soon enough.
“I can’t wait,” Nicks said. “After I heal up, as soon as mid February gets here, I’m going to train and I’m ready to get after it.”
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.