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Big Blue View round table: Optimism or pessimism for second half?

Will the Giants make the playoffs? See what BBV contributors think

NFL: International Series: New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We haven’t gathered the collective minds of the Big Blue View writing staff in “round table” format for a while. With the New York Giants on a bye week and for all intents and purposes at the midpoint of their 2016 NFL season, let’s do that.

I ask readers each week how they feel about the Giants’ playoff chances. Our most recent poll finds 46 percent (875) of 1,914) voters believing the Giants will make the playoffs. I wanted to know how BBV contributors felt about that same question, so I asked them the following question:

After watching the Giants go 4-3 thru their first seven games, are you optimistic or pessimistic about their chance to make a playoff run over the final nine game?

Here is how each of them answered it.

Brandon Estrict

It's possible, but it'll be tough with the NFC East being as good as it is this year. Stop me if anyone's heard this before: the Giants need to figure out what's going on with the offense and correct it. Fast. Seven games in and they still haven't figured out how to sustain drives consistently. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are 2 and 3 in the NFL, respectively in T.O.P. The Giants are dead last. The defense looked great picking up the slack in Dallas and against New Orleans, but that wasn't going to last forever. You can't keep turning the ball over, going 3-&-out and asking them to win games. And that's exactly what the Giants have done. It's worked against the Ravens and Rams; it won't the next time they see Ezekiel Elliot. McAdoo will have to open up that Tops Diner sized playbook, and Eli Manning will need to trust his protection. The Giants also have to find a way to get the running game rolling. Can they do all of that? I'm not so sure.

Keane Macadaeg

I think they can make a run, the problem is with the other teams in the playoff race -- especially in our division. Yes the Giants offense has looked pitiful, but they have a lot of correctable mistakes. Their main issue is fumbling the ball and other forms of turnovers. Larry Donnell and Odell Beckham Jr. have started games with losing the ball. Victor Cruz had a definite field goal, if not more, against the New Orleans Saints before he fumbled it as well. As a result, even though Eli Manning has the same yards per pass attempt as he had the two past years, points are being left off the board. The passing game is still effective in all statistics, even if it is hard to imagine. Fixing fumbling issues or play calling issues during the bye is a much easier task than acquiring talented personnel this late into the season. There is definitely a good chance for improvement.

The defense has made large strides from being the league's worst last year -- a point that many gloss over as they belabor the offense. The defense has kept the Giants into every game they have played. Sacks and turnovers usually come in bunches as both are finally starting to make appearances for the defense. If they keep this play up, they should have no problems accumulating wins in their "soft" portion of their schedule. Hopefully, the rest of the NFC East can lose as well.

Mike Gallop

I think the Giants will miss the playoffs this season, and I hope I am dead wrong! My rationale is two-fold; the Giants inefficient offense, and the strength of the NFC.

Under offensive "guru" Ben McAdoo, the offense has been stuck in the mud for the first seven weeks of the season. The weapons are there, the veteran QB is there, and yet, we can't move the ball consistently. I put most of the blame on the coaching staff, as our offense has more pure talent than most of our NFC foes. Coughlin was a dictator that rubbed some guys the wrong way, but he was a leader of men. Players respected him, and he lel his coordinators do their job. McAdoo, from a personality standpoint, seems like a career coordinator type. Using ODB's antics this year as an example, the players don't respect McAdoo. I don't think I've ever seen him yell on the sideline. The Giants don't have any players that are natural leaders (Beason being our last), so the head coach needs to run this team. And I just don't see that happening.

With the NFC East out of nowhere becoming one of the strongest divisions in football, I think our only shot is a Wild Card berth. Due to the lack of parity in the league, the top half of teams will all finish with good records, making the wild card that much more difficult. I truly believe a team will need 10 or 11 wins to earn a WC spot this year, and I don't see the Giants winning six or seven more games after the bye week. But again, I hope I'm wrong.

Dan Pizzuta

This is tough, because this would have been optimism at the start of the season, but I’d have to go pessimistic now. Some of the positive signs are still there, but too much has happened through the first seven weeks. We can start with some actual probabilities. Football Outsiders has the Giants with a 32.4 percent chance of making the playoffs. numberFire is more bearish at 22.5 percent.

The offense that was supposed to lead the team just hasn’t been there, and that’s a shame because the defense has done it’s part -- ranked ninth overall by DVOA. There’s definitely the pieces in place that could obviously turn the offense around. The passing game could get going again, Paul Perkins could be used more, but there’s a ton of ifs.

On top of that, the Giants have two pretty good teams in front of them within the NFC East. Philly showed this past week their defense can take over when Carson Wentz and the offense can’t get going and Dallas is running arguably the best offense in the league. The Giants still have two games against the Eagles and a win in the back against the Cowboys, but leaping both of those teams for the division title seems highly unlikely. That leaves one of the Wild Cards, and through seven weeks, the Giants are behind all of those teams in point differential.

The Giants are 4-3, but there’s nine teams in the NFC right now with a winning record. They could still turn into a good team that gets it all together, but too much would have to go on in front of them to sneak into the postseason.

Chris Pflum

"Am I optimistic or pessimistic about the Giants' playoff chances? I honestly don't know.

I do think the Giants have the highest ceiling of any team of the division. On the basis of pure talent, they should be able to make a run at the playoffs.

The problem is that they haven't played up to it. The offense has turned the ball over at a disturbing rate and failed to execute far too often. The play calling has slipped into ruts and predictability, making it too easy for defenses to stop the offense. The defense has kept the Giants in the hunt, but they have played far too many snaps, both because they haven't consistently converted pressure into sacks and the offense putting them in bad positions.

I suppose my answer is that I'm optimistic about the team in general. However I want to see them correct some of the mistakes that have plagued them this year before I am really optimistic about their playoff chances in 2016.