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Big Blue View round table: Will Giants make the playoffs?

It's time for a confidence test.

Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

Will the New York Giants make the playoffs this season? Simple question, not so simple answer. That question is the subject of our latest 'Big Blue View round table' discussion. Here is how the members of the BBV staff answered it.

Alex

False. I don't think the Giants will make the playoffs. What evidence do we have that this is a playoff caliber team? They're coming off their worst record in the Coughlin-era, two key players have already suffered significant injuries (Beatty, Pierre-Paul) and they haven't reach the post-season in each of the last three years.

Last year's team looked like the 6-10 team that that it was. It wasn't a lucky bounce or broken play away from the playoffs. It was an uncompetitive team with a penchant for time-sensitive hellish moments. The collapse against the Jaguars, letting Seattle run away from a close game and inflating their statlines against inferior opponents such as Tennessee and Washington are all factors as to why I don't think this team was one off-season away from reclaiming their former glory.

Since 2010, the Giants' regular season record has steadily decreased each year: 10-6, 9-7, 9-7, 7-9, 6-10. At some point, there will be a regression towards the mean, but even then, 8-8 is far from a guaranteed playoff spot in a dicey NFC East and cut-throat Wild Card race. Until they prove otherwise, I don't think this squad is good enough for January football.

Chris

Let me take off my blue tinted glasses, set aside my Big Blue "We're No. 1!" foam finger, and put the LPG line of Giants Jerseys back in the closet.

I still say "true".

My answer is based as much on what the Giants have done this offseason as what the rest of the division has done. I have to wonder what Washington will do with their quarterbacking situation. How do the Cowboys respond to the loss of DeMarco Murray, will they put the offense back on Tony Romo's right arm? How will that effect their defense? And finally, for all the questions the Giants face regarding injuries, nobody has traded talent for injury concerns like the Eagles.

From the Giants perspective, I do like what they've done so far. They have made a low-key moves to address specific concerns, and that is when their front office is at its best. As long as the interior of the offensive line holds up, I do believe that this offense has the chance to be special. While the loss of Will Beatty for part of the season is a concern, it's outweighed by their moving Weston Richburg to center and Justin Pugh to left guard, solidifying the interior of the offensive line. Likewise, the injury to Jason Pierre-Paul is a concern, but everything we have to go on suggests that he will be healthy for the start of the season and the loss of his index finger shouldn't impact his ability to play his position. But despite injuries to two top-tier players, the Giants still have more talent on their roster than they get credit for.

Finally, the Giants have Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning and both of their careers are on the line this year. Eli has only ever upped his game when the stakes are at their highest. Coughlin managed to keep two injury ravaged teams that were out of the playoffs before Thanksgiving from not only dissolving into discord and infighting, but to keep fighting until the bitter end. They are both starting out the season backed into a corner. With questions everywhere else in the division, I'm not going to bet against either of them.

Keane

True. It's hard to achieve consistency in the NFL in any facet and I choose to believe that this will be the case in regards to the Giants' second annual crowning of being the unluckiest team in terms if injuries. If we can take historically injury ravaged squads and not be a laughingstock equivalent to the Raiders, Redskins or Browns then the playoffs is an achievable goal if we can improve health. Even with poor health, I'd still feel confident because we've been with this situation with Steve Spagnuolo before. In 2007 his entire secondary was a mess full with injuries. Our safety situation seems dire now, but we've got young and athletic guys with upside. In 2007, Spagnuolo had to rely on veterans on their last legs in his entire secondary. His corner situation for most of the year was a rookie Aaron Ross and a Corey Webster who would alter get benched for poor play. In 2008, Spagnuolo lost his best pass rusher in Osi Umenioyra, not to mention the retirement of Michael Strahan as well. The defense still finished 6th overall in sacks. I believe the jump from Perry Fewell to Steve Spagnuolo will pay huge dividends. Combine that with a potential top 5 offense with Ben McAdoo and we can make noise.

Evaluating the playoff picture, let's recap last year's teams. The Seahawks and Packers seem like locks to win their divisions. For the sake of discussion let's say the Cowboys win the East again. I think the Saints should be favorites in the South over last year's champions in Carolina but every team has so many weaknesses, it doesn't matter. The Cardinals still look strong so let's give them a wild card spot. The Lions have certainly regressed after losing Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. That leaves one spot for either the Giants, Eagles, Vikings, Panthers, Rams, etc. None of those teams particularly scare me though the Eagles certainly have upside. So why not us? I know we have weaknesses but looking at our peers, it's not like we're seeing the 2007 Patriots either.

Stephen

False. I don't believe the Giants will make the playoffs. This offseason, the Giants have lost their two most important players on each line in Will Beatty and Jason Pierre-Paul, hurting both their pass protection and pass rush immensely. I believe the rookies, Ereck Flowers and Owa Odighizuwa, can step in and perform but they will go through growing pains as all rookies do.

The NFC East is very hit or miss. The Cowboys are bound to take a step back on offense without DeMarco Murray but still have a playoff caliber roster, while the Redskins seem stuck in hard times. The Eagles are somewhere in the middle, with a lot of high risk players starting at positions of high importance. They could go 10-6 or implode and finish 6-10. The Giants are somewhere in that middle mix.

In their two most recent Super Bowl runs, the Giants' foundations were built in the trenches. They have lots of solid talent elsewhere on the field, but there's a lot of pressure on the younger guys like Flowers, Damontre Moore, Weston Richburg and more to step up. I think the Giants' record could improve to .500 but in today's game, they'd need at least 10 wins to contend for a Wild Card spot and I just don't see that kind of improvement happening given their still evident holes and key injuries.

Mike

I actually do believe the Giants make the playoffs this year, but that prediction is equal parts 30 plus years of fandom, eternal optimism, and a very winnable schedule.

Instead of focusing on the Giants potential issues and bright spots, let's take a look at the NFC East first. I believe the Redskins are still a six win team with their current roster/coaching regime, but I do think they had a decent draft/off-season. Plain and simple, they won't win big with RG3 at the helm. In my opinion, both the Cowboys and Eagles got worse this off-season. Losing Murray will prove to be a silly cost-cutting move by the Jones "brain trust," and I don't think Chip Kelly's act will last in the NFL. Grown men wanted to be treated as such, and he's a little TOO convinced that he's the smartest guy in the room. I see both teams ending at 8-8 or 9-7.

For this exercise, let's assume we split our NFC East games right down the middle, and end up 3-3 in the division. I see a lot of games on our schedule that we have a real shot at a W. I also think that 10-6 could win the NFC East, but agree we won't have a shot at one of the Wild Card playoff spots. The seven out of conference games that I could envision a victory are:

@ Bills
vs. 49ers
@ Buccaneers
vs. Jets
@ Dolphins
vs. Panthers
@ Vikings

Obviously these predictions could look a lot different in 6 weeks, but on paper, I think we can beat every team listed above. The Giants certainly have issues heading into training camp, but I do believe the coaching staff and the core players will get us back into the playoffs this season. And now full disclosure: EVERY JULY I think Big Blue is making the playoffs!!!

Valentine's View

I waffled on this topic the other day which, honestly, is what led to this 'round table' discussion. I am still on the fence here, but today I am going to say 'True.' The Giants will make the playoffs in 2015.

Maybe I'm filled with the optimistic aftertaste of the Paul Dottino Kool-Aid, but I do believe that there are enough pieces in place that if most of the question marks about the Giants (offensive line, safety, Jason Pierre-Paul, health of guys like Jon Beason and Victor Cruz, overall defensive performance) are answered in a positive way the Giants have enough to be a playoff team.

Little to nothing has gone the Giants way since the past three seasons. A crazy number of injuries, God-awful mistakes at the worst times that have been unexplainable, ill-timed special teams breakdowns, etc. My wife would never believe that I am an optimist but I have to believe that at some point the football Gods will let the Giants out of purgatory and that some good things will happen. I can't believe that a team with a quarterback as good as Eli Manning, a coach as good as Tom Coughlin and an offense with as many weapons as the Giants have can't at least make a serious run at getting back to the postseason.

Final thoughts

That's a 4-2 vote showing your BBV staff believes the Giants will make the playoffs. What do you think? Vote in the poll and let us know.