EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Despite having a one-game lead in the NFC East with four to go, the New York Giants may need to win out to make the playoffs
A frustrated Tom Coughlin made that assessment Tuesday, knowing that the Giants’ 17-16 loss to the Washington Red skins Monday did more than cut their division lead in half.
The defeat left them at a surprising 2-3 in the NFC East with one division game left -- vs. Philadelphia in the season finale. If the Giants (7-5) finish tied with either Washington (6-6) or Dallas (6-6), the second tiebreaker after head-to-head matchups is division record.
The Giants split games with Dallas and Washington, and have already lost to last-place Philadelphia.
The Cowboys and Redskins each already have three wins in the division and they play each other again. So, one or both stands to have a better division record than New York.
"I am looking at it one game at a time, knowing full well it’s a four-game season and we have to win really every one of our games," Coughlin said. "That’s how I look at it. I am going to be aware of all the things you are talking about. But that is not going to enter into my thinking.
"It’s going to be win the games that are presented, the one that is right in front of you."
The stretch run is not going to be easy, especially with the defending Super Bowl champions having lost three of the last four, including contests against Pittsburgh and Washington where they blew fourth-quarter leads.
New Orleans (5-7) is on tap at MetLife Stadium on Sunday and Saints quarterback Drew Brees has done a number on New York over the past few seasons. After that, the Giants have road games at Atlanta (11-1) and Baltimore (9-3) before returning home to face Philadelphia in what might be embattled Eagles coach Andy Reid’s final game.