As much as Giants head coach Tom Coughlin loathes the topic, even he can’t avoid the deluge of questions concerning yet another late-season collapse.
“Everything is different; every circumstance is different. I know
you’ll continue to bring it up, and you’re welcome to do it, but I’m
not stuck on it as much as you [the media],” Coughlin said. “I’m more interested in knowing how you lose a
game. I’m sure our team is aware of this but we talk about staying
focused. The schedule being what it is, the opportunities diminish and
we’re aware of that. But there’s no connections between [past and
current] teams. We’re trying as hard as we can to help our players be in
a better position to win.”
Following Monday night’s lopsided loss in New Orleans, the Giants (6-5) lost total grip of first place in the NFC East and now sit one game behind leader Dallas. About the only good thing that comes with New York’s brutal stretch is that Big Blue controls its own divisional destiny because they have two games remaining against the Cowboys (7-4).
The Giants have once again put themselves in a precarious position and like last year’s breakdown it began with a late-season loss to the Eagles. Also like last year, morale seems to lower while the margin for error increasingly shrinks with every bad performance.
“We have to remind our players the quality of what they were doing [when they quickly won six games],” Coughlin said, rattling off a stat that hopes to show his team their true mettle. “I believe since 2007 that we are the team that’s won more games on the road in the NFL. We should be performing better than we are. The confidence questions will then go away, but we have to earn that. … We have to find a way to help our players be the best we can be. We’re a better football team than how we played [Monday] night.”
The Giants don’t have time to dwell on the shellacking that Drew Brees and Co. gave them because an even more potent team comes their way next. The Packers, led by reigning Super Bowl MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, are 11-0. The Packers have averaged 34.7 points per game, while allowing 20 per game. The Giants, conversely, are averaging 23 points per game and 25 points per game against. The Saints stand at 33 points per game and 23 points per game against.
That’s a brutal sandwich of opponents, but Coughlin is never one to publicly complain. Although the schedule-makers didn’t do Big Blue any favors in the back-half of the schedule for the third consecutive season, Coughlin said that’s just how things have turned for his team.
“It’s the nature of the commissioner and our league [and] what they decided to do in adding division games later in the season. It’s a short week and we really don’t have time to get stuck on this one game. We have to move forward. We know the schedule so its time to flip the page of preparation,” Coughlin said. “Green Bay is a group that’s confident and are sky-high. … To get where you want to go you have to play the best teams anyway, and that’s the position we have to take.”
The coach then took a breath, gathered his thoughts and said he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“That’s why we play the games. We’re interested in taking our best shot at playing an undefeated team coming off a world championship a year ago,” Coughlin said. “The margin [of error] is thin and we’ll have to play really well. We’ll do everything in our power in a short week to turn around [Monday] night’s negative.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.