Don’t tell the Giants today that the playoffs are a pipe dream.
Because they are putting playoffs in their pipe and smoking it.
Back from the dead, with Saquon Barkley ready, willing and able to take them Back to the Future … running straight ahead, ahead into a division that is coming back to them … and capable of bouncing it outside just as easily.
The Impossible Dream suddenly doesn’t feel impossible to the New York Football Giants, 38-35 winners over the Bucs.
The 6-4 Redskins lost Alex Smith to a Theismann-esque horror, so now Colt McCoy is the quarterback. His next three games: at Jerry World, at the Linc, home to the Giants. The 5-5 Cowboys are a study in mediocrity. The reeling 4-6 Eagles can’t shake their Super Bowl hangover.
“We owe them one,” Barkley said.
So go ahead and dream that Impossible Dream.
Because the Giants are.
Odell Beckham Jr. spoke of running the table when it was an eight-game season.
Six-game season now.
Barkley (27-142-2 TDs rushing, 2-10-1 TD receiving) was the best player on the MetLife Stadium field, a player who made life so much easier on an eerily efficient Eli Manning (17-of-18, 231 yards, two TDs), and on Odell Beckham Jr. (4-74-1 TD), a player who will make Life After Eli Manning so much easier for whomever the next young franchise quarterback will be.
Jamon Brown, who has stabilized the offensive line and added a smashmouth presence, was asked if the Giants can run the table.
“It’s hard to answer that question because of the approach that you want to take,” Brown said. “You want to take it a week at a time, a day at a time, and not try to look too far down the line.”
Then Brown began talking about doing the things on both sides of the ball that winning teams do when I lobbed a better question at him: Is there a belief here that it can be done?
“There’s definitely a belief going through the whole locker room,” Brown told The Post, “that we can run the table.”
With the confidence that Barkley can run over and around anyone’s table.
“Crazy, isn’t it?” Pat Shurmur said. “You just gotta keep playing … you never know. … If we let the noise get to us and get us all dark and stormy and weird about things, then you’re not set up to do anything at the end of the season.
“If we can keep battling and fighting, who knows?
“That would be a fun thing for everybody to write about.”
The Giants won’t have the fortune of a weekly visit from Ryan Fitztragic.
But they do have the luxury of Barkley imposing his will on an afternoon for the rest of this season and for many seasons to come.
“It’s great for the New York Football Giants that Saquon’s with us,” Shurmur said.
He looked more like Jim Brown than Barry Sanders, and the rest of the team fed off his juice.
“It just sets up everything, it sets up your play-action, it helps the offensive line get going when you can run the ball, be physical and they can have that push,” Manning said. “He’s a big man running through those holes, those guys get tired of taking him on … I thought today was the best he ran.”
Shurmur asked him to get the “dirty, grimy” yards and resist seeking the explosion runs, and Barkley obliged.
“The more carries you get, the better you see the field, see the way that the defense is playing you,” Barkley said. “You always have that chance to pop a big one, but you gotta let it come to you.”
He had scored a pair of touchdowns in the first half, one on the ground and one on a 6-yard reception, and after Manning found Evan Engram for 54 yards down the seam with Jameis Winston had led the Bucs back to within a field goal, it was time for Barkley to finish.
Up the middle for 6 yards.
Up the middle for 2 yards.
Up the middle for the 2-yard touchdown that made it 38-28.
“I think I found a pace that I like. They challenged me to do that and I was able to do that today,” Barkley said.
The first three plays of the game:
Barkley for 8 yards.
Barkley for 1.
Barkley for 6.
Followed immediately by Manning-to-Beckham for 41.
“It was definitely a statement,” Brown said. “ ‘We’re gonna come right at you, man. Stop us.’ ”
Run the table.
“So six games left,” Beckham said. “It’s really only crazy until you do it.”