EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The playoffs are out of the question after a 1-6 start, especially with all the injuries the Giants are enduring. And with the trade deadline gone, the Giants blew their chance to turn a few excess veterans into extra draft picks. So that pretty much takes all the drama and excitement out of the final nine games of the year.
So, as the Giants return from their bye week to face the resurgent Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, what is left to watch in this miserable season? More than you'd think, even if it's not what anyone hoped would be at stake down the stretch this year...
Can Ben McAdoo save his job?
This is a fascinating question that won't have an answer until after the season. The last time the Giants were 1-6 (in 2013) their coach (Tom Coughlin) had a little more job security. Maybe just as importantly, that team went 6-3 over the last nine games. Coughlin's bosses appreciated that his team showed fight, that he managed to keep his players interested and motivated and competitive. Can McAdoo do that with this undermanned roster and so many injuries? That's hard to imagine. It's also hard to imagine the Giants firing a coach after just two years, but if things get really bad all bets may be off.
Will the players fight, or quit?
This question ties into the McAdoo question, and it's of huge importance to ownership. The one thing sure to convince them to blow up the entire organization would be having to watch their team sleepwalk through blowouts for two months. Having nine games -- and five home games -- to go in an already-lost season is dangerous enough. It's even more dangerous considering the Giants don't have enough healthy talent left. What happens if the effort slips, too? I can only remember two Giants teams that seemed to give up in the last decade or so. The 2009 team lost their last two games by a combined score of 85-16. Coughlin survived that because he was two years removed from a championship. Then the 2015 team was an emotional no-show in a 49-17, Week 16 loss at Minnesota (when Odell Beckham, Jr. was serving his one-game, Josh Norman-related suspension). Eight days after that, Coughlin was gone.
Will the players -- particularly the cornerbacks -- behave?
The amount of disciplinary problems McAdoo has had to manage has been crazy. Two suspensions (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins), one benching (Eli Apple), two other players given an undisclosed punishment for returning late from the bye week (Apple, Paul Perkins). And these are just the ones we know about. Players breaking team rules isn't a good sign for the coach, and it's a terrible indication of a lack of locker-room leadership. McAdoo has started coming down harder on players in the hopes of gaining control. If the benchings and suspensions don't stop, he'll have real issues.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the Giants' second-half storylines...