As December dawns, the New York Giants enter the last month on the calendar with a winning record for the first time since 2016.
Despite a two-game losing streak, Big Blue rookie head coach Brian Daboll is making sure his 7-4 squad knows it's arrived at a hugely significant time of the season, and perhaps arrived at an all-important point in continuing a franchise turnaround.
"When you play meaningful games in December, I think that's why we all do this," Daboll said Tuesday, via team transcript. "You go all the way back to OTAs and to preseason and the beginning part of the season; now you're in December. And I've been on teams that have played meaningful games in December, and I've been part of teams that haven't. It's not a lot of fun when you're not playing meaningful games. So, let's come to work with a great attitude, a positive mindset. Keep getting better. And you focus on the week's opponent: That's how you have to do it. But they're important games now."
The Giants got off to a surprising 6-1 start to the season under Daboll, stunning many along the way before hitting their current skid with losses to the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys.
Nonetheless, they're still in prime position to return to the playoffs and record their first winning campaign since that aforementioned 2016 season.
Daboll believes his players are dealing with the adversity of a losing streak the same way they dealt with the triumphs of their early success -- taking it head on and being steady in their approach.
"I think the way they're handling winning -- they're consistent," Daboll said when asked how he felt his team was handling its recent adversity. "We've all been in this league a long time. The last time that you haven't faced adversity will be the first time. You're going to face it. Week 1, Week 5, Week 10. So, the approach is to be consistent, like the message I've tried to give really since I've been here."
New York hosts the Washington Commanders (7-5) on Sunday and enters as the NFC's No. 6 seed, just inside the playoff bubble and just ahead of No. 7 Washington.
As he mentioned, this isn't a novel concept for Daboll to be part of meaningful football games in December. As the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator, Daboll went to the playoffs each of the last three seasons.
Now he's trying to make it four in a row individually and pilot the Giants to their first postseason in six years. An all-important December lies ahead for Big Blue.