College prep is a lucrative industry. History indicates it is beneficial to test before the actual test, a graded run-through taken in conditions that perfectly simulate the real thing.
Perhaps this is what awaits the Giants Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field.
This is not the playoffs, but it is a test leading into the playoffs. That is how Pro Bowl cornerback Landon Collins views the regular-season finale with the Redskins.
“It is a big test because when you go into the playoffs, you are going up against the best teams that won their divisions,’’ Collins said. “And having to play the Redskins … means that we have to have the mindset that we are playing one of the best teams and it is a playoff-caliber team. We have to know that.’’
The Giants (10-5) are locked into the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoff tournament and know they will be on the road Jan. 7 or 8 for the wild-card round. Nothing that happens in this final regular-season game can change that. This is not the preseason with 75-player rosters and so Ben McAdoo cannot sub in his second team and keep Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and all his defensive studs in bubble wrap. McAdoo, though, can (and likely will) use reserves liberally throughout the game and not put too heavy a physical burden on his key starters. He says he’s playing to win the game, though, and wants his team to be ascending heading into the playoffs.
“I think that it’s important to take a step forward this week and how we play on offense, defense and special teams,’’ McAdoo said. “I think every week is a new week and every team is a different team. You have to prepare for each week, it’s a new week every week.’’
If the Giants hold back in any way they could get overrun, because the Redskins (8-6-1) are in a win-and-in scenario — beat the Giants and gain the No. 6 seed in the NFC. Does it matter if the Giants get overrun as long as they come out of the game healthy? Manning said the Giants will go into the playoffs a confident team no matter what happens in this game. They certainly did not look playoff-ready in last week’s 24-19 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia and prefer not to go into the postseason on a downward slide.