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"Five things I think I think" about the Giants

You know where we have to start with this.

Eli Manning directing traffic on Sunday
Eli Manning directing traffic on Sunday
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Let's look at this week's "Five things I think I think" as the New York Giants try to recover from Sunday's stunning defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.

I think Sunday was stunning on many levels

I am still trying to understand how a two-time Super Bowl winning coach with more than 320 games of NFL experience (regular season and playoffs combined) and a 12-year veteran quarterback with two Super Bowl MVP trophies can screw up as badly as Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning did on Sunday night.

Let's talk about Manning first. What was he possibly thinking with the whole "don't score" thing? Beyond the fact that he was wrong, why is he making game management, and game-altering, decisions on the field without either consulting with the coaching staff or being 100 percent certain that is what they wanted to do.

How can he not know how many timeouts Dallas had left? Yes, it was a confusing, tense situation. The referee, however, is right next to him. All he has to do is ask him. Or, check with the Giants coaching staff. Instead, as Coughlin said "he didn't have his facts right."

Beyond that, how can a quarterback with Manning's experience and pedigree show the complete lack of understanding of clock and score Manning showed during the final drive? Monday afternoon we detailed all the ways Manning mismanaged the clock during the Giants' final drive. Human beings make mistakes, and physical ones will happen. What is incomprehensible is how poorly the $84 million quarterback processed what was going on, and what the Giants needed to do, on that last drive.

Now for Coughlin, and by extension offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who had the direct line of communication to Manning via the headset.

I get that Coughlin, after 12 years and two Super Bowl titles, has complete trust in his quarterback. What I don't get is how the head coach and offensive coordinator seemingly took so many things for granted during the Giants' final drive.

Obviously, there is the whole "why didn't anyone tell Manning not to throw the ball away on third-and-goal? thing. It goes beyond that, though. It seems like no one reminded Manning -- who shouldn't need the reminder, I know -- to burn as much clock as possible during that drive. Especially after he left nearly 20 seconds on the clock at the 3:57 mark. McAdoo needs to do more than send in the play -- he needs to make sure his quarterback is fully aware of the circumstances.

Coughlin is a coach who has always been lauded as a guy who prepares his team as thoroughly as anyone, and who says he has a plan for everything. What blows my mind is how he seemingly took so much for granted Sunday night. If he was OK with the third-down pass, how could he not lean into the headset and make sure McAdoo told Manning to take a sack rather than throw the ball away?If he wasn't sure that's what he wanted to do, why not take a timeout and discuss it since the clock was already stopped?

I think the Giants better win on Sunday

The Giants have had two straight losing seasons and three straight without going to the playoffs. There were enough good things that happened Sunday that makes me think this could be a better team than the one the Giants fielded the past two seasons. I think, though, that Sunday could well be a season-defining game.

Fact is, winning begets winning and losing begets losing. There are an awful lot of players in the Giants' locker room who, either with the Giants or as NFL players in general, have experienced nothing but losing. Despite what happened on Sunday, this could turn out to be a good season for the Giants. Shoot, Dallas is the only NFC East team that won this week, and they lost Dez Bryant for the foreseeable future. If, however, anything good is going to happen this season the Giants need to win Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

If they don't, I think it's entirely possible that this team could resign itself to another lost year and simply spend the season going through the motions while they wait for John Mara to blow the whole thing up at the end of the season.

I think I hate being right about Jon Beason, but I'm right

Shortly after Jon Beason injured his knee in a preseason game against the Jacksonville JaguarsI used this space to opine that Beason was "done as a reliable, productive, week-in and week-out NFL player." I really hate being right about this, but I am right about this.

Beason said all along that his aim was to be ready for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. He wasn't. Oh, he tried and he deserves credit. A hard practice last Wednesday, though, caused his knee to swell and he couldn't recover sufficiently to play Sunday night.

You now have to wonder when the oft-injured Beason will play again. Or, dare I say, if he will play again. And, of course, if he does get on the field how long will it be before he breaks down again. Because you know that he will. There is now five years of evidence to support that conclusion. Beason hasn't played a full season since 2010 and has made it to the starting line for only 24 of the last 65 games his teams have played in.

The Giants paid last season for hitching their wagon to Beason. As much as I like the potential of Uani' Unga, I think they are going to pay dearly for that decision again this year. In fact, on Sunday they already did.

I think the left side of the OL could be special

There is a reason why the Giants have steadfastly refused to move Justin Pugh from left guard back to right tackle. We began to see the fruits of that Sunday night. The group of Weston Richburg at center, Pugh at left guard and Ereck Flowers at left tackle -- all drafted in the first two rounds since 2013 -- can be pretty special. Flowers will have his rough patches -- his technique and footwork are a work in progress. He is, however, competitive, tough and a bull in the run game.

If you are a Giants fan looking for something to feel good about, the Flowers-Pugh-Richburg grouping is a place to start.

I think the schedule is tougher than anticipated

Week 1 showed why all of the offseason chatter about "that's a tough schedule" or "that's an easy schedule" is complete nonsense. Nobody knows which teams are any good until the real games begin to get played, and after the Week 1 results the Giants' schedule looks an awful lot tougher than it did a few months ago. Let's look quickly at the next six weeks:

Week 2 vs. Falcons (1-0) -- A dangerous team that just beat the Philadelphia Eagles. They have a new coach in Dan Quinn, they have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones on offense, and an aggressive defense that punished Eagles QB Sam Bradford.

Week 3 vs. Washington Redskins (0-1) -- The Redskins lost Sunday, but they look like a real NFL team with Kirk Cousins at quarterback. They aren't a pushover.

Week 4 @ Buffalo Bills (1-0) -- You did see what Rex Ryan's team did to the Indianapolis Colts, right?

Week 5 vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) -- They were supposed to stink after they lost their head coach and it seemed like half their roster retired. Well, Monday night they showed that they don't stink.

Week 6 @ Eagles (0-1) -- You know that won't be easy.

Week 7 vs. Dallas (1-0) -- Yes, them again.

Not easy at all.