Look, no one's going to sit here and claim the 2015 New York Giants are a good team. Losers of three straight games and four of their last five, they may well be out of gas. While they are technically in a three-way tie for first place at 5-7, they have major tiebreaker issues that will require them to outperform the other teams in the tie. And the way they look right now, there's no guarantee they'll win another game all year.
That said, it's the holiday season -- a time for hope and good cheer. And with that in mind, and four weeks left in the dirty, lowdown NFC East, here are five reasons the Giants can still emerge with the division crown:
1. They have the best quarterback. Eli Manning has his faults, and his greatest glories have come when surrounded by considerably more talent than he has around him now. But if you had the first pick in an NFC East quarterback draft for the rest of this season, you'd run to the podium with Manning's name. He's the only one of the four you'd trust to lead a game-winning drive in a must-win game. And in a league in which the team with the best quarterback wins, you can't count out Manning in a division that features Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford and Matt Cassel.
2. They have the best coach. I know, I know, the clock management. Tom Coughlin's decisions have backfired at nearly every critical fourth-quarter juncture this season, which he admits. And Sunday's decision to reject three free points with his team up 10 in the fourth quarter was unconscionable. But those who would fire Coughlin over fourth-quarter game management ignore the larger part of the head coach's job. Few are as good and experienced as Coughlin is at managing his team through the game week. None of his NFC East counterparts has brought a team back from late-season adversity to win a title. Coughlin's teams always win at least as many games as they should, and the fact that he still has a mathematical chance to post a winning record with a roster that looks like one of the thinnest in the league on paper is more proof of same.
3. Odell Beckham Jr. The quarterback issues in Dallas downgrade Dez Bryant enough to leave Beckham as the division's most dangerous player. Manning is throwing to him at an incredible rate, and Beckham is delivering dazzling catches and game-breaking plays. He'll be the best player on the field in every game they play from here on out, with the possible exception of Cam Newton. And his presence gives them a chance every week.
4. They may have found something with the pass rush. If they keep Jason Pierre-Paul at left defensive end the rest of the way, his first-step quickness will make him a nightmare for right tackles and could force teams to direct some extra attention his way. Robert Ayers benefited from that Sunday, and if Ayers can keep himself healthy, he could have a big pass rush finish in him. The Giants' defensive line was more disruptive against the Jets than it's been all season. Should they keep it up, they could outperform expectations against the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater and Bradford.
5. It's their turn. The Giants won this division in 2011. Washington won it in 2012, the Eagles in 2013 and Dallas last year. So it makes sense that the Giants would get their turn to win it this year, right? No? Pfft. Makes as much sense as anything else about this division.