The New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin believes that back-to-back defeats have been quickly forgotten by the defending Super Bowl champions.
Coughlin confident Giants will bounce back
The New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin believes that back-to-back defeats have been quickly forgotten by the defending Super Bowl champions as they prepare to go into Sunday's showdown game against the Carolina Panthers. The Giants and the Panthers both carry 11-3 records into their Giants Stadium clash with the winner securing the top-seed status and home field advantage for the NFC play-offs on the road to the Super Bowl.
"We won the division and we are in the play-offs," Coughlin said. "It is terrific. "Can you imagine being this time of year, being 11-3 and playing at home for the chance to have a first-round bye and play at home throughout the play-offs? "If you can't be excited about this, I'm not sure what the heck you can be excited about," said the coach. Coughlin professed amnesia when asked about defeats to NFC East rivals Philadelphia and Dallas, intent on putting a positive spin on the chances for his team, which has also been hit by off-field issues that cost them top receiver Plaxico Burress.
"What two weeks? What are you talking about?" feigned Coughlin. "I have no idea what you are talking about. Forget about yesterday. Yesterday does not matter. What matters is this coming weekend. It is a defining game, if you will, because of what is at stake." Besides the loss of Burress, who wounded himself in an accidental shooting at a Manhattan nightclub and was suspended by the team, the Giants' receiving corps could also be without Sinorice Moss, who has a calf strain.
New York signed wide receiver Derek Hagen, a third-round pick out of Arizona State in the 2006 draft, and they were also working out veteran receiver Joe Horn, who played last season for Atlanta. However, the offensive line is returning to health after allowing eight sacks last week to the Cowboys. The tackle Kareem McKenzie reported his ailing back felt better and guard Rich Seubert is over an illness that sidelined him from the 20-8 loss to Dallas.
The powerful running back Brandon Jacobs, who has been out with a sore knee, said he was intent on getting back on the field and Coughlin acknowledged how much the Giants missed him. "[Jacobs] does allow us to establish again who we are and the physical tone," the coach said. "And that is, to me, what has been what we need. We need to have that physical tone again." Justin Tuck, named on Tuesday a starting Pro Bowl defensive end, said the Giants had to go back to basics. "We've got to go out there and be physically dominant. Winning the physical battle and playing Giants football," he said.
Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce agreed: "There's a lot of stake. We won the division, that was one goal. We want the bye and we want home field advantage and we want the number one seed. One game can get that all for us." * Reuters