The only future Tom Coughlin is concerned with involves the Miami Dolphins on Monday night. The result, however, could play a part in his future as the coach of the New York Giants.
After another questionable coaching decision played a part in yet another tough-to-swallow loss, the Giants attempt to snap a three-game skid and at least maintain a share of first place against the Dolphins.
Coughlin has led New York (5-7) to two Super Bowl titles, but his team has missed the playoffs for three straight years. The Giants' only avenue to end that skid is winning the lowly NFC East, where they're tied for first with Philadelphia and Washington.
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Controversial play-calling for New York has contributed to the logjam with five of its losses coming on fourth-quarter collapses in the final two minutes. The Giants have been outscored by 12 points in those games, including last week's 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Jets.
They blew a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead to their Big Apple rival after Coughlin opted to go for it on fourth-and-2 at the Jets 4 with 8:50 left in regulation instead of kicking a field goal. Eli Manning tossed an interception.
The defeat - which also included Josh Brown missing a 48-yard field goal in overtime - only increased the cries for Coughlin's ouster.
"I don't pay any attention," Coughlin said. "I try to stay focused for the benefit of my team, my coaches and everybody else. You can all disagree. We are trying to win games the best way we can.
"To be honest with you, nobody knows my team better than I know my team. When you sit in judgment of what goes on, it's all been thought out, whether you like it or not and whether it's right or wrong."
The Giants have been outscored by 10 points during their three-game losing streak.
"Coach put us in a position, he trusts us to go make a play, and we've got to do it," Manning said. "We've got to play better at some critical moments in the game. We do some good things, we get close, we do a lot of good things, and it's just kind of that final step, those last few yards, and the difference between winning games and losing games. We're just not making that crucial play to get us the win."
Manning has four interceptions compared to three touchdowns over the last two games, completing 51.8 percent of his passes with a 67.7 passer rating.
The onus is on Manning to get the offense going since the running game ranks 29th in the league with 88.1 yards per game - 62.3 over the last three. The running backs have only managed three touchdowns, and they'll need two over the final four weeks to avoid matching the franchise's 16-game season low in 1996.
Miami's run defense, however, ranks 30th at an average of 134.8 yards against, a big reason it's staring at a franchise-record seventh straight season without a trip to the playoffs.
The Dolphins held Baltimore to 94 yards on 26 carries last Sunday, though, in a 15-13 win over Baltimore. Miami's offense managed just eight first downs while totaling 219 yards.
The Dolphins got 107 of their 137 rushing yards on 20 carries by Lamar Miller in their first game with quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor calling the plays. He replaced offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who was fired earlier in the week.
"I'm a big believer that you do need more balance," coach Dan Campbell said. "We did what we needed to do to win that game. We ran it well, and the defense played really good football. It's a good formula."
The formula could change with the Giants ranking last in the NFL in pass defense, giving up 314.5 yards per game - 355.6 over the last five.
That could be reason enough to get Ryan Tannehill more involved after he completed 9 of 19 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. That came a week after he threw the ball a career-high 58 times, completing 33 for 351 yards with three TDs and one interception in a 38-20 loss to the Jets.
More passes would surely please Jarvis Landry, who had two catches for five yards last week after collecting 34 for 350 with two touchdowns over the previous four.
Landry will be looking to make a lasting impression on national television as he gets to compete opposite his close friend Odell Beckham Jr. for the first time.
The former LSU teammates are known for acrobatic, one-handed catches, and Beckham has 36 overall for 630 yards and six touchdowns in the last five games.
"This game has been marked on the schedule for a long time," Beckham said. "It finally being here is so surreal."
The Giants have never lost in three visits to Miami.