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Eli Manning says Giants ‘definitely’ will make playoffs next season

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Eli Manning has doubled down on recent comments he made about how the New York Giants are a playoff-caliber team heading into the 2016 NFL season.

The Giants haven’t qualified for the playoffs in the past four seasons, a dry spell that ultimately ended the longtime coaching tenure of Tom Coughlin, who was replaced by Ben McAdoo.

But between new blood on the coaching staff, the team spending $200 million in free agency — highlighted by the signings of Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins — and a well-received showing in the NFL Draft, Manning believes the Giants can “definitely” end their playoff drought.

“We added some great players in the offseason,” Manning said during a Wednesday appearance at a Gatorade Beat the Heat program event, via NJ.com’s James Kratch. “We were aggressive in free agency, but we still have a lot of our core guys, especially on offense, back. And I think we made some good moves on defense, we’ll get some guys back healthy.”

While Manning’s comment is a guarantee in some respects, it’s hardly surprising for a player to express optimism about their team’s postseason prospects. And Manning also understands that many variables beyond the team’s control are in play.

“You never know how it’s going to all play out, you don’t know how the injury situation is going to be, and how you’re going to respond in critical situations of games. That’s something that’s hard to know until you’re in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Does the level of play rise, or do people get uptight and nervous? Hopefully we have the guys who know how to make the plays and rise to the occasion.”

Coming off consecutive 6-10 campaigns, the defense will need to play much better in 2016. After all, this is a team that put up 26.3 points per game last season. Manning previously stated he sees the team being capable of scoring 28 points per game this season, something that compelled him at the time say he’s “looking forward to getting back to making the playoffs.”

And his most recent comments explicitly illustrate that he believes the Giants are playoff-bound come next January.