NEW YORK (WFAN) – The Giants lost a heartbreaker to the division-rival Washington Redskins, 17-16, on Monday night, as they were unable to close with a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Giants were beset by terrible field position, penalties and an inability to convert in the red zone.

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Quarterback Eli Manning did connect with tight end Martellus Bennett for a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter, but the G-Men had to settle for Lawrence Tynes field goals in the first quarter, second quarter and third quarter.

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The two-time Super Bowl MVP knows that if the Giants are going to have any chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they’re going to have to maximize their opportunities in the red zone.

We’ve got to score more touchdowns, we’ve got to score more points,” Manning told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Tuesday in his weekly spot. “It can be frustrating because you feel like you played well. Afterward you kind of say, ‘Hey, we hit big plays, we were great on third down, we ran the ball well, we threw the ball accurately.’ … (But) we still left some plays out there, and that’s the difference.”

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The Giants’ moved the ball very well despite the defeat, producing nearly 400 yards of offense and not turning the ball over.  Manning, who was only sacked once, was efficient, completing 20 of 33 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown.

But now at 7-5 and having lost three of four games, Big Blue only sits one game ahead of the Redskins and Cowboys in the NFC East.

Late-season scares are nothing new for Manning and company — it’s these times when the Giants usually kick it into gear — but the 31-year-old quarterback acknowledges that his team is in a less-than-ideal situation.

“Obviously it’s not the situation you want to put yourself in, but that’s football,” Manning said. “A lot of teams are in a very similar circumstance. You’re not always going to be able to clinch your division in the first week of December. (For) a lot of teams it’s a tight race, and it’s all going to come down to, ‘How do you play these next four games?’ …  It’s all going to come down to, ‘Hey, can we go win these four games?’ It starts this week with the Saints.”

After the Giants host the Saints on Sunday, they hit the road to take on the Falcons and the Ravens before concluding the regular season at MetLife Stadium against the lowly Eagles.

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With four games to play and just a one-game lead, how concerned are you that the Giants will choke and miss the playoffs? Or are you confident that Big Blue will rise to the challenge as always? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…