The Tom Coughlin era began in 2004 with a 6-10 finish. They were 5-4 with Kurt Warner at QB when Coughlin decided to make a switch to the rookie, Eli Manning. The Giants lost six in row before winning the finale against the Cowboys. It is the last sub .500 season the Giants have put their fans through.
The next season, the Giants were 10-4 after fourteen games and went on to win the NFC East with an 11-5 record. They lost 23-0 to the Panthers in the divisional round, the only time the team had been shut out under Coughlin until last week.
In 2006, the Giants went 7-7 in their first 14 games, then split their last two games and finished 8-8. It was enough to land the final wildcard spot. They lost to the Eagles, 23-20, in the wildcard round.
In 2007, the Giants were 9-5 entering Week 16. A win at Buffalo clinched a playoff berth. They lost, 38-35, to New England in the meaningless Week 17 match, but then defeated them five weeks later in Super Bowl XLII.
In 2008, they were 11-3, had a two game lead over 9-5 Dallas and needed either a win over Carolina or a Cowboys loss in Week 16 to clinch the NFC East. They got both. Then they fell flat on their faces against the Eagles in the divisionals.
In 2009, The Giants were 8-6 entering Week 16. They had no shot at the NFC East. Philadelphia was 10-4 and beat the Giants twice during the season, sealing the tiebreaker. They still had a chance to catch to catch Dallas for the wildcard, but lost their last two games to Carolina and Minnesota by a combined score of 85-16.
In 2010, a 10-6 record wasn't good enough for the Giants to qualify for the postseason. They won enough games, just not the right ones.
Last year, the Giants were 7-7 after 14 games. You know the rest.
This year, 10-6 will be enough to get in. They will end up with the tiebreakers in their favor and qualify as a wildcard. They can win the division if they win out and both Washington and Dallas both suffer either a loss or a tie.