EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The result of the fourth and final preseason game is meaningless. The individual performances are not.
There are dozens of players on each team fighting for roster spots and to keep their professional dreams alive. Their futures and financial well-beings are at stake.
Even if their fates have already been sealed with the New York Giants -- most of the roster decisions likely have already been made -- they want to amass quality tape. It could help them land the next job. Or this job.
These are the positions where the Giants still have uncertainty heading into Thursday's preseason finale against the New England Patriots.
Landon Collins and Darian Thompson are the starters. Nat Berhe has solidified his standing as the third safety with what coach Ben McAdoo called a "good week" leading into and through the win over the New York Jets on Saturday.
It's the fourth safety spot that remains a crapshoot. Mykkele Thompson, Justin Currie and Andrew Adams are in the running. Mykkele Thompson appears to be the frontrunner. Expect to see plenty of him against the Patriots. He snuck in some first-team reps in practice this week as the Giants try to get a better feel of what he is as a player.
Mykkele Thompson missed all of last season with an Achilles injury. He suffered a concussion against the Bills and missed Saturday's game against the Jets.
"I don't have any film for them to go off of," Thompson said. "They really have only a game and a half to evaluate me. So being productive is important. That's about it.
"[This game] it's very important."
Thompson is a draft pick (fifth round in 2015). Currie and Adams were undrafted free-agent signings in 2015 and '16, respectively. But they've made their presence felt, jumping the recently released Bennett Jackson and Cooper Taylor on the depth chart.
The Giants liked Currie enough last summer to keep him around on injured reserve after an ugly leg injury in the preseason. He's a quality special teams player. Adams has flashed in recent weeks, and brought energy to the field. He intercepted a pass against the Jets and near the goal line at Tuesday's practice. The latter earned him a spirited high five from McAdoo.
Currie and Adams are seriously in the running for the roster spot, but may need Mykkele Thompson to flop.
It's a crowded group that likely will have seven on the final roster. The wild card here is veteran linebacker J.T. Thomas. He missed most of the summer with a hamstring injury, but with a strong performance Thursday night could affect the Giants' thinking. Thomas is respected in the locker room and would cost the Giants $500,000 in real money and $2 million in dead money against the salary cap if cut.
But whose spot does he take? Keenan Robinson appears set as the nickel linebacker. Jasper Brinkley is the favorite at middle linebacker and would cost $1.7 million to release. Mark Herzlich is set as a special teams staple and short-yardage contributor. Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas and fourth-round pick B.J. Goodson are locks. It could be Thomas vs. Kelvin Sheppard, who has been splitting time as the first-team middle linebacker.
Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Dwayne Harris are certainties on the final roster. Victor Cruz has been working with the first team since he returned from a groin injury and just needs to remain healthy in his 8-10 snaps on Thursday night. Geremy Davis started the summer strong and should be OK.
It comes down to Tavarres King and undrafted rookie Roger Lewis. King has impressed all spring and summer. He's outplayed everybody not named Beckham or Shepard. It would be hard for McAdoo to explain to the remainder of the locker room if he didn't make the team.
But Lewis has flashed talent. So has undrafted rookie Darius Powe. This is one final opportunity for them to state their cases.
It's a total crapshoot after the starting five, Bobby Hart and the recently signed Will Beatty. Emmett Cleary, Adam Gettis, Brett Jones and Ryan Seymour seem to have the slight edge for the final spot or two. Don't be surprised to see the Giants scour the waiver wire over the weekend.
Assuming Jay Bromley has shown enough after missing most of the summer with an ankle injury (and I think he has), it's between Louis Nix III, Montari Hughes and Jermelle Cudjo for the fourth defensive tackle job. It's anyone's guess who will grab this spot. The Giants haven't showed their cards at all on this one.