Giants at crossroads with 6-5 record
The New York Giants have reached a crossroads in their season after losing five of six games. Following a 26-6 loss at Denver, the Giants are 6-5, with three NFC East opponents up next on the schedule, two at home. "We have a five-game schedule," coach Tom Coughlin said Friday. "It's one game at a time with these divisional games coming up. We have got to see how we come back now and rally back from a loss which none of us is proud of. We'll use every aspect of motivation we can to get our guys back on track and get them to realize you are one game away from turning this thing back around." But with New York having lost to nearly every winning team it has faced this season, a turnaround might not be within reach. Defensive tackle Barry Cofield said Friday it was "good to know you have control over what happens" because the Cowboys and Eagles come to Giants Stadium, then New York is at Washington. A sweep of those games would make the Giants contenders again. "I have a good feeling that if we go out and play well and win these next three games, we're in a real good spot," Cofield said. "Obviously, it's a stretch of games that can make or break you." How do the Giants avoid it breaking them? "We can play better, more physical, smarter and faster," he said. "A lot of things that can be better. This is the type of game you can either go up or down; this can be the closing statement to our season or this little break can rejuvenate. It's just going to be up to us which is the case." The Giants are off until they host Dallas on Dec. 6. Of course, the Cowboys also have that extended break. Coughlin said the Giants will use some of the time to self-scout, as they did during their bye week before beating the Falcons to snap a four-game slide. Cofield knows how he wants the team to use the extra time. "I am a guy who always leans towards individual accountability," he said. "Guys just have got to make plays, guys have got to be in their gaps. Last night, there were times when guys were not in gaps, not beating their guys off the ball." That was true on offense and defense; Coughlin did commend the special teams for their work in Denver. Otherwise, it was a matter of the Broncos making the key plays, and the Giants not responding when challenged by a club that had lost its past four outings. That surprised Coughlin after the Giants lost in the last minute to San Diego, took a week off and then beat Atlanta in overtime. "I thought that having played two good football games, we brought ourselves back to playing pretty good football," Coughlin said. "I thought we were beginning to ascend right there and would continue to build momentum. Yesterday was a disappointment."