Eli Manning had to be protected by the fourth right guard the Giants needed this season, had to make a throw to a tiny receiver who hadn’t done much of anything in three years and had to hand the ball off to a tight end because there wasn’t any running back on the field.

And before any of this, coach Tom Coughlin on Sunday had to decide to roll the dice and go for broke, keeping his offense on the field on fourth-and-7 from the Giants’ 42-yard line, which might not have been especially prudent but seemed to make sense in this head-scratcher of a season.

All of these strange and unusual series of events preceded Josh Brown nailing a 45-yard field goal with 7:32 remaining in overtime to lift the Giants to a 23-20 victory over the Lions inside Ford Field. That eliminated the sagging Lions from the playoffs while ensuring the Giants did not add any more misery into their holiday season, with players named Dallas Reynolds and Jerrel Jernigan filling unexpected roles.

“Any time you get a win, man, the next day is going to be a good day,’’ defensive end Justin Tuck said. “I’m happy to be flying back to New York with a win.’’

There is nothing about this season the Giants (6-9) want to extend, but there they were, building and then blowing a 10-point halftime lead, falling behind 20-13. They pulled even when safety Will Hill plucked out of the air a pass from Matthew Stafford that deflected off the hands of Lions tight end Joseph Fauria for a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:57 remaining in regulation.

With a chance to win it in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, Manning misfired over the middle to an open Jernigan and safety Glover Quin got in the books with the career-high 26th interception of the season for Manning.

In overtime, a third-down pass to Rueben Randle went for 26 yards but Manning faced fourth-and-7 and Coughin wasn’t sending Brown out for a 59-yard field goal try. Manning didn’t come off the field.

“I’d say that’s about as close to lobbying as he gets,’’ Coughlin said.

Manning got the time he needed, which might have been remarkable, considering Reynolds at right guard, in his first action of the season, was blocking against Ndamukong Suh, as Brandon Mosley — making his first NFL start — was forced out in the first quarter with a broken hand. Manning fired to Jernigan — subbing for injured Victor Cruz — and Jernigan went to his knees to make the catch for 15 yards on the Detroit 27-yard line.

“Great catch,’’ Manning said. “I guess he made a catch.’’

Not sure if it was a reception, Manning rushed to get off a play but suddenly realized he had no running back, as Andre Brown had exited with a concussion after losing a fumble on the previous series. And so, Manning stuck the ball in the gut of tight end Bear Pascoe, who had never, ever previously had an NFL rushing attempt. He gained 2 yards.

Brown earlier in the game hit field goals of 41 and 52 yards and instructed the offense to set him up on the right hash mark. His request was ignored.

“[Manning] moved it into the middle,’’ Josh Brown said. “I said ‘OK, I guess we’ll kick from the middle.’’’