Tom Coughlin counting on character down the stretch

The Giants have two games distancing themselves from the playoffs. Both have just become must-win situations.

First, New York (8-6) travels to Baltimore, where the Ravens once trailed 31-3 to Eli Manning’s older brother, Peyton Manning. They end the season with a home game against Philadelphia, a team that has been a bit more competitive since Nick Foles was inserted into the lineup.

The defending Super Bowl champions, New York has its work cut out for them. Head coach Tom Coughlin is relying upon that same drive that helped them to the Promised Land last year to do the same this winter.

“There is a lot of fire and a lot of character in that locker room,” Coughlin said. “We have to come back from a devastating loss and shake it off somehow, someway. We have to comeback as competitors and prepare ourselves for a very difficult game next Sunday and then one to follow.”

With a loss and wins by both the RGIII-less Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, New York lost its hold on the NFC East. Though all teams own an 8-6 record, the G-Men lose all tiebreakers with their division rivals.

Should the season ended today, New York is not a playoff team. But because Dallas and Philly square off in Week 17, their playoff hopes are still very much alive.

“We are not worried about nothing. We are just trying to win two more games. That’s it. There’s no destiny,” defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. “We are just trying to win two more games and that’s it. We’ll see what happens then.”

This is the fourth time this season in which the Giants have followed up a win with a loss. Since the bye week, New York has exchanged each win with a loss the following week.

Their struggles have never been more evident than yesterday in Atlanta. But just last week, they showed how high their ceiling is, and you can say the same about their efforts against Green Bay or San Francisco.

For now, becoming a consistent team is the sole goal of the season, said Osi Umenyiora.

“When you play like the way we played last week. And to play like this, this week, it’s always going to be a mystery to me,” he said. “But, hopefully we will be able to play like we did last week, next week.”

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