Eli Manning is enjoying the New York Giants' winning streak
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Eli Manning is one of the few players on the New York Giants who knows what it is like to make a playoff run.
The previous time the Giants did it was in 2011 and Manning went on to lead New York to its second Super Bowl title in five seasons.
The past four years have been dismal, including consecutive 6-10 seasons the past two years that forced Tom Coughlin out and led to the hiring of Ben McAdoo.
New York (7-3) will head into this weekend's game at Cleveland riding a five-game winning streak and in position to end a four-year playoff drought.
It has the best record among NFC teams not leading a division, but the schedule will get tougher in the final six weeks.
''It feels good. We're winning football games and doing some things well,'' Manning said Tuesday. ''We just have to stay hungry and keep competing. Keep working on getting better each and every week. We just have to stay the course. Definitely room for improvement.''
If there is an area of concern for Manning, the offense just isn't putting up a lot of points. The Giants are averaging under 21 points and their seven wins have been by a total of 27 points.
Winning close games was something the teams in 2007 and '11 did in their title runs.
''That's what you have to do in this league,'' Manning said. ''Those teams, win the close games and on the line, we tend to play our best football. That's a good thing. That's a great quality to have.
''You have a confidence that when you get in the fourth quarter and in these close games, we're going to be able to pull it out.''
Manning isn't worried about a letdown in a trap game against the winless Browns. He said the team has done a good job of focusing on the weekly task.
''For us, we have to understand and be prepared for every game and situation,'' the 13-year veteran said. ''If you don't go about and you don't prepare, you're going to lose.
''We have to have great preparation. It's not a team we've played a whole lot. We have to get familiar with the personnel, their scheme, have a great practice, go into a tough environment and win a football game.''
Winning also has created a loose locker room. There is a lot of work, but also a lot of kidding around.
''The locker room should be fun,'' Manning said. ''You win football games, five in a row, it should be fun. You're enjoying that time and in contention to win a division. All of those things. It's an exciting time. There should be a lot of good energy around the locker room.''
NOTES: The big question mark this week will be who plays left guard. Justin Pugh sprained a knee two games ago. Backup Brett Jones had a calf injury two games ago and Marshall Newhouse sprained his knee last week. Adam Gettis, who was recently signed off the practice squad, finished against the Bears.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and – http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL