Camp: Path to the Playoffs

TGI looks at some factors that be in play and have an effect on the Giants' playoff hopes this year.

Firing on all cylinders – This isn't to say that Eli Manning must step up or that the two tailbacks must make everyone forget about Tiki Barber, or even that Plaxico Burress needs a career season. This is just to say that New York's offense has a ton of talent and they need to translate that into points. No moving the ball down the field and settling for field goals all the time and certainly no more red-zone and third-down problems. The Giants have all the pieces offensively; they just have to make sure to put them all together.

Beasts of the East – Three of New York's first four games are against NFC East opponents with both the opening-night Cowboys contest and Redskins matchup in Week Three coming on the road. The Giants finish their rough first month by hosting the Eagles in Week Four. There's no realistic way to believe the Giants can bomb out during these early-season tests and still rebound in time to make a run at it. A fast start, which includes winning the one ‘softie' in Week Two against Green Bay, is imperative.

Under the headset – The Giants have a bunch of new coaches on board, not to mention that all three coordinators are new. We need to see a noticeable difference on defense under Steve Spagnuolo, better play-calling from OC Kevin Gilbride and more consistent special teams under Tom Quinn. However, the most important new man on board is QBs coach Chris Palmer. And we don't even need to tell you why.

Good bounces – Every good team not only makes its own luck, but receives a little help along the way. Whether a key opposing player gets injured, whether your team somehow miraculously stays healthy all year long, whether a blown call or two changes the course of a key game … whatever it is, you'll take it. The Giants are plenty capable of surprising many and contending for the division title. But a little help along the way sure wouldn't hurt.

In the next couple days, TGI will look at several key topics Giants fans should keep their eyes on once training camp opens on Saturday.

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