NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – While struggling to find answers for his team’s three-game losing streak, Tom Coughlin believes the Giants are still as good as they showed in beating the New England Patriots earlier this month.
Coughlin insisted Tuesday that the Giants (6-5) are not as bad as they played in a 49-24 loss to the Saints Monday night and that they have the talent to knock off the undefeated Green Bay Packers (11-0) this weekend.
But the problem that has beset the Giants in their most recent second-half skid is a failure to play a complete game.
Against the Saints, Eli Manning and the offense played well and the defense didn’t. It was pretty much the opposite the week before in a 17-10 loss against the Eagles and a combination of failures in the 27-20 loss to San Francisco.
But Coughlin’s squad isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. Safety Antrel Rolle told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Tuesday that the team will “absolutely” make the playoffs.
“When we want to play ball … We play ball,” he said. “We need to find a way to get back to that.”
Later, in an interview with Mike Francesa, defensive end Justin Tuck said the Giants will “keep fighting.”
“One game could be the difference maker in a season,” said Tuck. “Hopefully we can go out and shock the world. If that happens we are right back where we want to be.”
The skid has put the Giants a game behind the Dallas Cowboys (7-4) in the NFC East with New York facing the prospect of another loss as Green Bay looms Sunday.
“We can’t have that and we shouldn’t be having that at this time of year,” Coughlin said. “We should be playing much better, much more consistently. We should know who we are. We should be performing much better. That’s the answer I would give. A win would help a lot, no question, and the confidence (would come) and the questions would go away.
“Nevertheless, we have to play better. We have to earn that right.”
Coughlin and the coaching staff have pulled highlights from the team’s six wins to show the Giants how well they can play and reminded them that heading into this season they were the NFL’s top road team since 2007.
Still, Coughlin said the losing streak is as frustrating as it is disappointing.
“I am struggling to try to answer all the questions in our own minds,” Coughlin said. “We had two outstanding road wins and felt good about our team at that point. We’ve had a couple of setbacks, three setbacks, very disturbing, The first two being a touchdown difference and last night. So, we have to find a way to help our players be the best they can be. We understand, the quality of the competition, everybody does.
“But we are a better football team than we played last night.”
The Saints gained 577 yards in total offense against the Giants, the second highest total given up by New York in franchise history. Coughlin noted his defenders didn’t cover well despite practicing well and being prepared for everything they saw.
The 65-year-old coach said he is not focusing on what seems to be another collapse in the season’s second half. New York missed the playoffs the past two seasons with dismal performances after eight games and is now 0-3 this year after the midway point. But he is more interested in telling his team what went wrong.
“There are reasons why you win and why you don’t,” Coughlin said. “I am trying to get players in better position to win.”
And now, here come the punishing Packers, a team that beat the Giants, 45-17, late last season in Green Bay, in what almost was a playoff game for both.
“We’re just as interested in taking our best shot as anybody who gets a chance to play against a very good football team that was world champion a year ago,” Coughlin said. “We are going to prepare as hard as we can and we are going to work as hard as we can.
“We do realize the margin is thin and we are going to have to play very well in order to accomplish this.
“And we think we can.”
NOTES: Defensive end Osi Umenyiora (ankle) and rookie middle linebacker Mark Herzlich (ankle) were both being examined at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City to determine the extent of their injuries.
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