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Five things I think I think about the New York Giants entering Week 9

Thoughts on the path to the playoffs, the play-calling, much more

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

As the New York Giants get ready to return to action this weekend, let’s take time to look at “Five things I think I think” about Big Blue.

Realistically, it’s about the wild-card now

On Monday Brandon broke down the NFC East standings and yours truly looked at the question of whether or not the Giants could make a playoff run over the second half of the season.

What neither of us mentioned that, realistically appears to be the case is that if the Giants are going to make the playoffs it is almost certainly going to be as a wild card team and not as NFC East champions.

The 4-3 Giants are two games behind the division-leading Dallas Cowboys (6-1) with nine games to play. That isn’t insurmountable, especially since the Giants are the only team with a game in hand over the Cowboys. The Cowboys have won six straight, though, and show no signs of collapsing. It seems unlikely the Giants can play two or three games better than Dallas the rest of the way. FiveThirtyEight, in fact, gives the Giants only an 11 percent chance of winning the division but a 35 percent chance of reaching the playoffs.

The Giants have, of course, proven that it doesn’t matter how you get to the playoffs as long as you get there.

The Giants won’t make a deal for Joe Thomas

Despite Monday night’s report that the Giants were the “only team still on the radar screen” for potentially acquiring All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas from the Cleveland Browns by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline I do not think the Giants will end up swinging a deal for Thomas.

That’s not because I don’t believe Thomas would help the Giants. Obviously, he would. It’s also not left vs. right tackle for Ereck Flowers. Personally, I don’t care about left vs. right. Too much gets made of that. In case you haven’t noticed, teams move good pass rushers all around to find favorable matchups. I’m one who believes that left or right really doesn’t matter that much anymore. If you’re good, you’re good. If you aren’t, teams will exploit you no matter where you play.

I simply don’t believe the Browns will give up the best player their franchise has had for the last decade without getting what they want — which appears to be at least a second-round pick. And I don’t believe the Giants will be OK with meeting that asking price and taking on a $10 million cap hit in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Maybe I will be right. Maybe I won’t be. We will know for sure in a few hours.

I’m OK with McAdoo calling the plays

This one is going to be convoluted. I am not saying that McAdoo has done a good job calling the plays this season. I think we have presented plenty of evidence over the past week or so contradicting that view. I am not saying I want McAdoo to be the offensive play caller. Truth is, I much prefer a CEO-type head coach who focuses on managing the entire team, rather than basically being the coach of one side of the ball and abdicating real authority over other aspects of the job.

Why I would be OK with McAdoo continuing to call the plays is this — it’s his show and he should run it the way he believes is best. If he truly believes calling the offensive plays is the way he can help the team the most, then so be it. That is what he should do.

If he concludes that giving up the play-calling would be best for the team, then he should do that. Point is, it’s his call. He should make the decision he believes in, not the one everyone else thinks he should make. If he is going to succeed as a head coach he has to do it working from his own convictions. If he makes choices because other people tell him he should and not because he truly believes they are the right decisions then he will never truly make it as a head coach.

The Giants are thinking about life after Eli

GM Jerry Reese said Monday that when it comes to 35-year-old quarterback Eli Manning the Giants are “not really thinking about what his age is. We’re just thinking about what his skillset is.”

Reese added that Manning “has a lot of football left in him.”

Included in Reese’s answer, though, appeared to be an acknowedgment that the Giants do need to begin searching for a successor.

“How long does he have to play? Who could we get in line? Who’s the next guy in line? Like you said, Eli is not going to play forever but we still think he has a lot of football left in him,” Reese said.

As I have said previously, it isn’t imperative that the Giants find that successor this offseason. It is imperative that they begin looking for a guy they think can lead the franchise once Manning is gone, and that they make a move when they believe they have identified the right quarterback.

Sunday’s game is critical for the Giants

Reese said Monday that he couldn’t remember the last time the Giants beat the Philadelphia Eagles. To refresh his, and your, memory that last victory over the Eagles was a 15-7 win on Oct. 27, 2013. Philly has won the last four meetings between the two teams.

The Giants, to put themselves in a position to make a legitimate playoff run, need to change that this Sunday. A win over the Eagles may or may not get the Giants closer to the division-leading Cowboys, but it would certainly be a help when it comes to the wild card race. The Giants already lost one critical NFC East game on their home turf earlier this season, the Week 3 loss to the Redskins. They can’t afford another.