As the hunt for Ernie Accorsi’s successor kicks into high gear, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Mark Garafalo points to a prominent name many suspected would come up.

The whispers about the Giants’ interest in Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli (above, right) as their next general manager are accurate.

As early as this week, the Giants are expected to request permission to interview Pioli, according to someone who speaks to members of the team’s front office on a regular basis. The person requested anonymity because of the private nature of the search.

Pioli likely would be the leading candidate from outside the organization. The team interviewed former Texans GM Charlie Casserly, but he’s considered a long shot.

The in-house favorite is director of player personnel Jerry Reese. That creates an intriguing situation because the Tennessee Titans are interested in Reese to replace outgoing general manager Floyd Reese (they are not related), who resigned last week because the Titans were not going to grant him an extension when his contract expires next month.

New England owner Robert Kraft likely will go to any length possible to keep Pioli, who helped construct a dynasty along with coach Bill Belichick. But in his current job, Pioli would be allowed to leave for the Giants’ GM position because it would be considered a promotion. With the Giants, he would have total control over personnel decisions, which he does not currently have.

For Gary Myers, Big Blue’s loss to Philly yesterday provides the Daily News scribe with yet another opportunity (and there are so many) to take a shot at Colonel Coughlin.

After the Giants melted down against the Saints two weeks ago, I endorsed the Giants firing Coughlin. Nothing has changed. He did become the first Giants coach since Bill Parcells in 1989-90 to get them into the playoffs two years in a row, but he couldn’t get them past the wild-card round either time. He hasn’t been able to develop Eli Manning. He has been unable to get his locker room under control.

Where’s the progress? Well, at least after losing yesterday, none of his players said he was outcoached.

It’s hard to make a case why the Giants should bring him back other than Charlie Weis has insisted he will remain at Notre Dame and Bill Cowher plans to take at least one year off before he looks for a huge contract. But until Weis tells the Giants himself that he’s not interested, they have to ask if he wants to come and save Manning’s career. Two words of advice for the Giants before they give up on Weis: Nick Saban.

The Feed’s Josh Alper, in addition to mocking Coughlin’s claim that getting out of a 1st and 30 spot in the 4th quarter was worth crowing about, sums up yesterday’s debacle thusly ;

Ultimately the end of the game came because the Giants couldn’t make a stop on defense, just as they couldn’t against the Titans in that game months ago that was the nadir of Coughlin’s tenure. I don’t know what game people were watching when heaping praise on Barber but it was that last drive when Westbrook abused the Giants that the best runner in the game stepped forward. Just as Barber couldn’t move the chains when the Eagles were there for the taking, Westbrook stepped on Coughlin’s jugular in the fourth quarter and ended the Giants season, Barber’s career and sent the coach to the unemployment office.

Pro Football Talk kindly provides Tony Romo with a get-out-of-jail card. Sort of.

There’s talk in league circles of suspicion that the Seahawks’ ball boys/men/persons selected the slickest of the new “K” balls and held it back for a key moment in the game against the Cowboys.

The rumor/innuendo/scuttlebutt is that the slipperiest of the “K” balls was first put into play when the Cowboys lined up for a potential game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. Holder Tony Romo caught the snap but lost control of it as he was trying to get it in place for the kick.