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Giants-Vikings Rendered Meaningless After Redskins Clinch

What felt like a season-long inevitability finally became official on Saturday night, as the Giants were eliminated from playoff contention.

The Redskins clinched the NFC East by defeating the Eagles in Philadelphia on Saturday, so the Giants will be watching the playoffs from home for the fourth straight season.

This is unfortunate but hardly a surprise. It’s just hard to picture any team making the playoffs that plays as poorly as the Giants do late in games.

And that’s really the sad part. This team is talented. We’ve seen it. They’ve been mere minutes away from taking down undefeated teams at home twice this year, but were unable to hold their ground against the Patriots and Panthers.

The Redskins have played like a much different team over the past few weeks, and might even be a “good team” now after being nothing close to a good team at the beginning of the season. Still, the Giants have often looked better, led by a clutch quarterback and the best receiver in football.

But none of that matters if you can’t win games. And the Giants were unable to win games. Amazingly, the Giants led or were tied in six of the eight games they’ve lost this year. Even if they win two of those six games, they’re still in the playoff hunt.

So instead of facing the Vikings in the thick of a division race, the Giants will simply play for pride, something they’ve grown accustomed to in the later weeks of recent seasons.

Of course, it will be interesting to see just how much “pride” the Giants are able to play with on Sunday night. They’ll be facing a tough Minnesota Vikings team that could still be vying for the NFC North crown come kickoff. The Giants will also be without their best player after Odell Beckham Jr. was suspended after completely losing his cool against the Panthers last week.

In addition to Beckham, the Giants will be without a number of defensive players on Sunday night. LB Devon Kennard (foot) and S Cooper Taylor (concussion) have both been ruled out with injuries. DT Markus Kuhn was placed on IR earlier this week with a knee injury.

The Vikings, on the other hand, are pretty much 100 percent. Every single player on their injury report took part in practice on Friday and are listed as probable, including star RB Adrian Peterson.

Part of me thinks the Giants will hang tough in this game even without OBJ, and maybe they even win. But the other part of me thinks this is a hellish matchup. An eliminated team without its best player facing off on the road against a healthy team with something to play for.

My prediction: Vikings 37, Giants 20

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