Giants co-owner John Mara watches from the sidelines during training...

Giants co-owner John Mara watches from the sidelines during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Aug. 1. Credit: Brad Penner

IRVING, Texas — John Mara has defined a successful season in recent years by whether the Giants play meaningful games in December.

Now that they are doing just that, though, the team’s co-owner is adding a little tweak.

“Of course we want to win and get in the playoffs,” he told Newsday on Wednesday at the NFL Meetings.

They are 7-5-1, technically in last place in the NFC East but also currently the No. 7 seed to be in the NFC postseason. Sunday night they will play at Washington, which is also 7-5-1, with the winner — presuming there is one since they tied the last time they played — dramatically increasing their odds of advancing beyond the regular season. For the Giants, that would be their first such accomplishment since 2016. No one on the current active roster was with the Giants for that.

With four games left, the Giants internally feel they need two more wins to play an 18th game this season. It’s possible they could make it with just one, but two should secure the ticket. After Washington the Giants play at Minnesota, host Indianapolis, then close the slate at Philadelphia. If the Eagles have clinched the top seed in the conference by then they may not play all of their starters against the Giants, an irony since it was the Eagles’ decision to play second- and third-stringers in their 2020 finale that cost the Giants a postseason opportunity the last time they came this close to one (albeit with a meager 6-10 record that year).

But even with the most wins in a season since that 2016 team and those meaningful December games Mara uses as his barometer, he was reluctant to call 2022 a success just yet. That’s not because he has moved the goalposts on the team. It’s more about the approach the Giants are taking to everything this season under their new leadership with general manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll. They are staying in the present and will do their forensics on everything — the season, the roster, the value of their running back, the future of their quarterback — when all of the evidence is compiled and not a moment before.

“I don’t want to characterize it,” Mara said of the season. “We’ll see how it finishes out. But right now I feel good about the team, the direction we are going. You are always disappointed if you don’t make the playoffs but we are trying to take it one week at a time at this point. I know that sounds like coachspeak but that’s really the only way you can look at it right now.

“I just know the vibe in the building is the best that it has been in a long time,” he added. “People are all pulling in the same direction.”

That “vibe” has been put to the test lately. The Giants are 1-3-1 in their last five games and on Sunday they suffered a 48-22  loss to the Eagles.

“That certainly was a disappointment,” Mara said. “I didn’t think there was that big of a gap between the two of us but obviously they proved that there is. We’ll see. We get to play them one more time. It was disappointing but you have 17 games and you’re going to have one or two games like that. Hopefully, it won’t happen again.”

If it doesn’t, the Giants should have a good chance at being a playoff team.

And then they can play even more meaningful games in mid-January for the first time in six years.

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