Tyrod Taylor could start the Giants’ regular-season finale

If the Giants call on quarterback Tyrod Taylor to make his 54th career start Sunday, he will be playing to win and with something to prove.

Early indications are that the Giants plan to sit key starters (some have already been informed, a source told The Post, although head coach Brian Daboll said otherwise), which could create a situation for Taylor to replace Daniel Jones for a day.

Taylor, 33, learned five years ago with the Bills that performance doesn’t guarantee anything when Buffalo became the rare team to change quarterbacks after making the playoffs. So he doesn’t see a game against the Eagles with nothing to gain in the playoff picture as meaningless.

“I’m always ready for the opportunity, but obviously that’s Coach Dabes’ decision,” Taylor told The Post. “As a player, any time you get a chance to compete, you are representing your last name but more importantly you are representing the organization, so it’s never meaningless. It’s a prove-it league. Any chance you get to show what you can do, you have to take it seriously.”

Tyrod Taylor, left, could get the start for Daniel Jones on Sunday.
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Taylor went 22-20 as a starter for the Bills from 2015-17. In the last of those victories, he threw for 204 yards and a touchdown to beat the Dolphins in a must-win regular-season finale that helped steal a playoff berth. But after a first-round loss, the Bills pivoted away from Taylor, trading him and subsequently drafting Josh Allen.

“My timing there was over, for whatever the reason might have been,” Taylor said Thursday when asked to reflect on the trade. “I’m definitely proud of accomplishing a lot of things in my three years there. I was able to help lead an organization to break 17 years of no playoffs.

“I was definitely surprised, but whenever you have a [first-year] coach and a GM, you never know and kind of have to prepare for the worst. I’ve played long enough now to condition myself not to be surprised by anything and control the things you can control. At that time, coming off a good year, I was as confident as ever in myself — and I still am.”

This season, Jones has replicated Taylor’s feat by leading the Giants to an unexpected playoff berth, just their second in 11 seasons. Jones will be a free agent after the season, whereas Taylor had one year remaining on his contract when he was traded to the Browns to be a placeholder for rookie Baker Mayfield.

None of the parallels will be lost on the first-year Giants duo of Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen, who was the Bills’ assistant general manager when they risked taking a step back with a rookie quarterback in 2018 after making the playoffs ahead of schedule for the possibility of a long-term leap forward.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones speaks to the media on Wednesday.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones speaks to the media on Wednesday.
Robert Sabo/New York Post
Daniel Jones is a free agent after this season.
Daniel Jones is a free agent after this season.
Robert Sabo/New York Post

“We surprised a lot of people in Buffalo [in 2017], not just in the league but within our building, too,” Taylor said. “I think Daniel has shown that [he is the quarterback here]. He competed at a high level and put the team in a position to be successful every week. You can just never get into the minds of people who make decisions. The moment you try to start doing that is when you lose focus as a player.”

Taylor, who signed a two-year, $11 million contract last offseason, is the only Giants quarterback with the peace of mind of a contract next season.

A rib injury mishandled by the Chargers during Week 3 of the 2020 season ended Taylor’s time starting ahead of rookie Justin Herbert. Last season, an ill-timed hamstring injury in Week 2 allowed the Texans to turn to rookie Davis Mills. A concussion in Week 4 of this season forced Taylor out of the only meaningful action that he has had behind Jones.

“It’s a tough reality at times,” Taylor said, “but those are opportunities to learn and be better coming out of unfortunate and challenging situations.”

The Giants are one of 11 out of 32 teams who have used the same starting quarterback in each of the first 16 games this season. Taylor replaced Jones last week in the middle of a series so that Jones could get an ovation from the home crowd in the blowout playoff-clinching win.

“Tyrod is a great piece to that quarterback room,” offensive coordinator Mike Kafka said. “He helps not just the players but the coaches, as well. I find myself leaning on him and his experience. He’s a great asset.”

The Giants could also turn to third-stringer Davis Webb or a combination of Taylor and Webb.

“I’m a fan of all our guys in this locker room,” Taylor said. “We’ve put the work in and had a special year.”

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