EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Giants need lots and lots of help to make the playoffs.
But none of it will matter if New York can’t get its act together and beat the Eagles in Sunday’s home finale at MetLife Stadium.
“Whatever the scenarios represent, that’s fine,” said coach Tom Coughlin. “That should give us continued motivation, in terms of what can happen, and stranger things have happened, obviously. I would like to be playing better football than we’re playing right now and it’s going to take that in order to win our last game of the year and even give ourselves that opportunity.
“I have our focus completely geared on our business and we’ll work as hard as we can to rejuvenate our team, try to put ourselves in position where we can win a game and be 9-7.”
The Giants (8-7) need a ton of assistance to avoid missing the playoffs for the third time in four years. They have to beat Philadelphia, have Minnesota and Chicago (both 9-6) lose and have Dallas (8-7) tie or lose to Washington.
Quarterback Eli Manning said “the worst feeling will be if all those teams lose, and we lose.”
“The scenario is possible,” said Manning. “It’s not like a bunch of huge upsets have to happen.”
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora refuses to even think about it.
“I think we can’t really concern ourselves with that right now,” he said. “We have to concern ourselves more with getting better as a football team for this final game, which is the most important thing. After that, whatever happens, happens.”
Coughlin, perplexed after seeing the defending Super Bowl champions outscored 67-14 by Atlanta and Baltimore, is hoping his team plays well after stumbling down the stretch with losses in five of the last seven games.
Neither Coughlin nor Manning nor Umenyiora could explain the collapse, although injuries have played a big part, especially in the second half of the season.
Halfback Ahmad Bradshaw (foot, knee), receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot, knee), defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee), safety Kenny Phillips (knee), offensive linemen David Diehl (knee), Chris Snee (hip) and David Baas (shoulder) all have played with nagging injuries.
Manning blamed some of the offensive woes lately on players not being able to practice much of the week and then showing up for games. Coughlin said the team isn’t making many big plays on either side of the ball.
Manning believes this team wants to finish the season on a high note, even if that doesn’t get the Giants in the postseason.
“We want to have something we can be proud about, and see how the other games (end up) ” Manning said. “I can guarantee you that the worst feeling we can have is if we go out there and don’t play at a high level, and all those teams lose that we need to and we don’t handle our own end. All we can worry about is improving our performance and getting back to playing quality football.”
The Giants certainly haven’t done that lately. A week after being embarrassed 34-0 by the Falcons, New York dropped a 33-14 decision to the Ravens.
The combined 14 points is their lowest total in back-to-back games since Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 2004, when they lost to Philadelphia 27-6, and to Washington, 31-7.
The offense was pathetic against a Ravens defense missing Ray Lewis. It gained 186 total yards with just 67 on the ground, was 2 of 10 on third down and held the ball for 20:29.
Baltimore gained 533 yards, the second-highest total in Coughlin’s nine years as head coach.
Coughlin was at a loss to explain how a team loaded with veterans from two Super Bowl wins failed to step up and make plays.
“I’m sure it will be an incredible investigation and study,” Coughlin said when asked if that was something the team would be looking at in the offseason.
Umenyiora said the ball just hasn’t bounced the right way this season. They have been close to making plays and just missed or had breakdowns, something which didn’t happen in their late-season six-game winning streak that carried them to a title last season.
It has led to a fair amount of frustration, but not anger, Umenyiora said, adding only one team walks away happy at the end of the season.
“Did this year play out the way out any of us wanted it to?” Umenyiora said rhetorically. “No, but at the end of the day we still have a chance to go out there and give one last good impression or one good showing of ourselves and I think we’re going to do that.”
Umenyiora agreed with Coughlin that the Giants aren’t a very confident team right now.
“The pedigree of this group is very, very good and for us to be getting beat the way we’ve been getting beat these last two weeks, obviously there’s something lacking. Is it physical talent?” Umenyiora said. “You can’t say it’s physical talent because we have the ability, but obviously it has to be something, and so the only thing I think you can point to is confidence. It just doesn’t seem like we’re playing with a lot of confidence and it’s showing out there on the football field.”
There is a good chance this will be Umenyiora’s final season with the Giants. He said he would like to finish his career with the franchise, but he knows changes are coming if New York’s season ends Sunday, and there is a “high probability” he would be a casualty.
Manning said the Giants’ failure to make another late-season push was disappointing but not really a surprise because every season is different.
“You have to play your best football at the end of the season, especially for those in playoff contention, for playoff chances, you have to put yourself in the best possible position to be playing great football,” Manning said. “We haven’t done that.”
Will the Giants hold up their end of the bargain? Be heard in the comments…
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