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NFL Championship Weekend: Giants connected, in some way, to all four finalists

Tom Coughlin and Pat Shurmur are obvious, but there are other ties

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers
Tom Coughlin
Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The New York Giants are tied, in ways big and small, to all four teams remaining in the 2018 NFL Playoffs. Let’s take a look.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Of course we have to start here, don’t we?

Former Giants coach Tom Coughlin is in Jacksonville. He is the primary architect of what the Jaguars have become this season, serving as Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Ben McAdoo said he wanted the Giants to be “sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise.” He couldn’t deliver.

Those are Coughlin principles. They are all over the Jaguars. Great defense. A punishing, effective running game. A team that finished third in the NFL in turnover margin per game at +0.8. Old-fashioned smash-mouth football.

Sorry, but one has to wonder where the Giants would be if, following the 2015 season, they had chosen Coughlin over McAdoo and Jerry Reese. Either as coach, or in the role of GM.

The Giants could have hired Doug Marrone as head coach when they hired McAdoo. They could have drafted Jacksonville left tackle Cam Robinson. They didn’t.

The Jaguars might be going to the Super Bowl. The Giants went 3-13 and are starting over.

New England Patriots

Of course this discussion starts with Bill Belichick. Replacing Bill Parcells with Ray Handley instead of Belichick is a decision the franchise will always have to regret.

There was also this year’s head-coaching dance, which included the Giants interviewing Patriot coordinators Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels.

Finally, there is also the small matter of the Coughlin-Eli Manning Giants still being the only team to defeat the Belichick-Tom Brady Patriots in a Super Bowl. And having done it twice.

Oh, and if anyone cares former Giants tight end Will Tye is on the New England practice squad.

Philadelphia Eagles

A 61-yard field goal by Jake Elliott Week 3 kick-started the Eagles’ magic carpet ride. To the surprise of some, neither Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz nor quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo got interviews for the Giants’ head-coaching job.

There really aren’t any personnel connections. Here is a question, though. The Giants have the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Can they be as successful with it as the Eagles were with the 2016 selection of Carson Wentz No.2 overall?

Minnesota Vikings

Umm, geez, I wonder what there is to talk about here?

The answer, of course, is that Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is expected to become the Giants’ next coach. Advice for Pat: Call a good game vs. the Eagles or Giants’ fans will be griping before your introductory press conference.

When Shurmur hires assistant coaches there is also the matter of whether any Minnesota assistants will come with him.

Two players on the Vikings’ roster are worth talking about. Defensive tackle Linval Joseph left the Giants for the Vikings after the 2013 season. He was a good player for New York, a better one for Minnesota. In 2015, the Giants drafted Owamagbe Odighizuwa with the 74th pick. He got zero sacks in two years and is out of the league. Minnesota drafted defensive end Danielle Hunter with the 88th pick. He has 25.5 sacks in three seasons and is one of the league’s best young pass-rushing defensive ends.