The NFL playoffs begin this weekend without the Giants.

Three weeks ago, this scenario seemed unlikely. The reasons why the Giants aren’t in the tournament are debatable. What is inarguable is they had ample opportunity to handle their business and failed.

The Giants’ most painful and enduring moment came against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Meadowlands on December 19. Both had records of 9-4. Then the Giants blew a 31-10 fourth quarter lead and their season.

So today they are left to pick up the pieces, evaluate where they fell short, and come up with solutions before starting all over again when training camp begins in seven months, which seems like an eternity.

“I’m certainly disappointed about the results in some of the games, the Philadelphia game in particular, but they played hard like we expected them to play,” said Giants co-owner John Mara on Monday.

“But whenever you don’t achieve your ultimate goal there’s going to be disappointment.”

The Giants will be moving forward with head coach Tom Coughlin despite widespread speculation leading up to their 17-14 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday that his job was hanging in the balance.

Mara squashed all conjecture about Coughlin’s status hours after the Giants concluded the 2010-11 campaign with a solid record of 10-6 but little to show for it.

He said there was never a doubt among the Giants’ primary shot callers, including fellow co-owner Steve Tisch and senior vice president/general manager Jerry Reese, that Coughlin would be retained.

Mara also maintained that wholesale roster changes aren’t necessary.

“I think we just tweak. I don’t think we’re in a situation where we need to blow anything up. (But) obviously there are improvements that need to be made.”

The Giants had enough collective talent to not only make the playoffs, but to be an authentic Super Bowl candidate. However, they were a schizophrenic bunch that was consistent in their inconsistency. Something the coaches and players alike have to own.

However, in the end, safety Antrel Rolle placed the accountability with the men wearing the helmets. “I’m a firm believer that players should take care of what happens on the field,” asserted Rolle.

“Once we take care of what happens on the field there wouldn’t being any concerns about head coaching (changes) and things of that nature.”