Gi­ants keep at­ten­tion on play­ing Chicago

With play­offs in sight, New York not tak­ing Chicago for granted

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ernie Pal­ladino

With a play­off berth within reach, Gi­ants keep fo­cus on next op­po­nent — the Bears on Sun­day.

Odell Beck­ham has high hopes for the surg­ing New York Gi­ants.

Beck­ham said af­ter the Gi­ants’ 21-20 win over the Ben­gals on Mon­day night that the goal was play­ing on Su­per Bowl Sun­day in Hous­ton.

Coach Ben McA­doo had more im­me­di­ate things in mind, such as Sun­day when the Chicago Bears (2-7) will try to end his team’s four-game win­ning streak.

Still, he wouldn’t crit­i­cize Beck­ham for his op­ti­mism.

“I’m glad he was lis­ten­ing,” McA­doo said. “That’s our goal. That’s why we come to work ev­ery day. But we have a lot of work to do be­fore we get to that point. “It’s good to have as­pi­ra­tions.” Beck­ham, who fin­ished with 10 catches for 97 yards and a touch­down he punc­tu­ated with a Michael Jackson-style “Thriller” dance, was ac­tu­ally re­fer­ring to a de­fense that held the Ben­gals to just 101 yards of to­tal of­fense and 36 pass­ing yards in the second half.

In­cluded in the ef­fort were de­fen­sive end Ja­son Pierre-Paul’s bat­ted pass and con­sec­u­tive sacks — the first shared by line­backer Jonathan Casil­las and de­fen­sive tackle Da­mon Har­ri­son, and the second by de­fen­sive end Olivier Ver­non — on the same fourthquar­ter drive that set up the Gi­ants’ game-end­ing pos­ses­sion.

The de­fense held star re­ceiver A.J. Green to two catches for 29 yards in the half.

“This de­fense is a Su­per Bowl de­fense,” Beck­ham said. “This is a play­off de­fense.”

Yet, while ad­mit­ting the of­fense still had a ways to go, Beck­ham may have well been talk­ing about an ag­gres­sive mind­set.

McA­doo’s de­ci­sion to es­chew a chip-shot field goal and try for the go-ahead touch­down on fourth-andg-oal from the 3 ear­lier that

quar­ter may have moved them a step closer to Beck­ham’s goal.

McA­doo said Eli Man­ning’s touch­down pass to Ster­ling Shep­ard came as part of the week’s goal-line prepa­ra­tion.

“We were down by six and it was tough to move the ball against that de­fense,” McA­doo said. “I have con­fi­dence in our of­fense and the way we prac­ticed in the green zone.

“I liked our week of prepa­ra­tion down there. If we didn’t prac­tice well down there, we would have kicked the field goal. So we prac­ticed well and I thought (Man­ning) was spin­ning it pretty good.

“I thought Eli played it well, and ev­ery­body did a nice job es­pe­cially on that fourth-down call.”

Man­ning threw two in­ter­cep­tions, the first of which con­trib­uted to a re­duc­tion in snaps for rookie wide re­ceiver Roger Lewis, Jr. for his fail­ure to come back on the ball.

Lewis also dropped a pass.

“He had some mo­ments where he needs to play bet­ter,” McA­doo said. “I ex­pect him to learn from those mo­ments and he’ll im­prove.”

McA­doo was mind­ful that it will take more than the oc­ca­sional out­side-the-box call to se­cure a play­off spot.

The Gi­ants (6-3) are in second in the NFC East. But the Red­skins (5-3-1) and Ea­gles (5-4) are close be­hind in the di­vi­sion.

He will warn his team

that the Bears can slow his team’s progress.

“This is the National Foot­ball League,” McA­doo said. “It doesn’t mat­ter who you’re play­ing. Throw all the records out the win­dow. Any­body can beat any­body any­where in this league, so we need a great week of prepa­ra­tion.

“We need to be at our best.”

NOTES: McA­doo said WR Vic­tor Cruz is ex­pected to prac­tice Thurs­day af­ter sit­ting out Mon­day’s game with a sprained an­kle. He could not say the same for CB Do­minique Rodgers-Cro­mar­tie, who left the game early when his back stiff­ened up, or OL Brett Jones, who in­jured calf un­der­went an MRI Tues­day. Dwayne Har­ris’ sta­tus is also up in the air with a sprained toe. “We’ll see how the week goes. Thurs­day is go­ing to be a big day for a lot of these guys,” McA­doo said . ... McA­doo praised of­fen­sive line­man Marshall Ne­w­house for his adapt­abil­ity in mov­ing to guard from his nat­u­ral tackle spot af­ter Jones left the game. “Not only did he switch from a right tackle po­si­tion to the left side at guard, that’s tough to do. Things move a lot faster in there. To go in there and play well enough to give us a chance to win the game says a lot about him.”

“I thought Eli played it well, and ev­ery­body did a nice job es­pe­cially on that fourth-down call.” — Ben McA­doo, Gi­ants coach

BILL KOSTROUN — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Gi­ants quar­ter­back Eli Man­ning runs the ball dur­ing New York’s vic­tory over Ben­gals.

SETH WENIG — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Gi­ants run­ning back Rashad Jen­nings heads up­field dur­ing New York win at MetLife Sta­dium on Mon­day.

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