EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) 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 Tuesday. ''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 fourth-quarter 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-and-goal 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.''
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