- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jerry Reese believed in his team in the summer, expecting them to make the necessary plays to make the playoffs and be able to make a run once they got in.
Sunday night, the Giants clinched a spot in the playoffs with their 31-14 win over Dallas, validating Reese's trust in them.
With a home playoff game on tap next Sunday against Atlanta, the Giants' general manager still believes his team can make some noise.
"Of course. Good players in here, good coaches," Reese said. "We just got to focus, it's a whole different ball game now, it's a different level when playoff time comes around. We're battle tested, had a tough schedule, we're getting healthy but you have to focus and do the things it takes to win. You have to match the physical contest, play as a team, can't have bad fouls, we only had three fouls tonight and you win when you do these things."
Reese came under fire heading into the season as he saw some of his best players, like Kevin Boss and Steve Smith, depart the team in free agency with the latter even heading to division rival Philadelphia. Reese only made one big signing in free agency in center David Baas, opting to stay quiet.
On Aug. 11, as the Giants seemed like a team unsure of what it was doing in a shortened free agency season, Reese made his proclamation that he thought his team would be able to end its two-year playoff hiatus.
"If we made a couple of plays here and there last year, we would have been in the playoffs," Reese said in August. "And who knows what would have happened? But it didn't happen, so we will make the plays this time and we'll get in the playoffs and make a run."
More than four months later, Reese looked like he clearly knew what he was talking about as his team ended its two-year playoff drought with its big win against Dallas. The team has now won two divisional titles under Reese, who took over in 2007.
"We're playing pretty good, we definitely can play better, we're playing pretty good right now," Reese said of his team's play entering the playoffs. "I do expect us to play better and continue to (ride) the momentum. It's all about preparation during the week, the preparation is the key."