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Cruz, Giants Bringing ‘Must-Win’ Mentality Into Week 1

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Giants’ opener in Detroit next Monday night shouldn’t make or break their season.

But wide receiver Victor Cruz doesn’t see it that way.

“You want to go out there and start your season on the right foot,” Cruz said, according to the New York Daily News. “The first one is definitely a must-win, and all of them are.”

The Giants are looking to flip the script from last season, when they started 0-6 en route to a 7-9 finish, missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride retired in January before team brass could give him the boot. In came Ben McAdoo, who has yet to prove his West Coast offense is a fit with two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

Cruz, Manning & Co. struggled to move the sticks in the preseason. But some believe McAdoo is saving the meaty bits of his playbook for the regular season, set to begin Sept. 8 in prime time against the Lions.

“You’ve got to practice and prepare as if every game is a must-win,” said Manning.

Then there’s the defense, overhauled with players such as defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who don’t carry with them the memories of last season’s brutal start.

“In past years, we’ve taken for granted getting that first win,” Mathias Kiwanuka said. “Getting a win in Week 1 is of tremendous importance.”

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