COMMENTARY | When New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said Big Blue must win its last four games of the regular season in order to make the playoffs, his players didn't blink. They've been down this bumpy road before. It's a road that led them to a pair of Super Bowl victories.
Really, the Giants may not need to win their four remaining games to make the playoffs. Let's say they go 3-1 down the stretch. That would require either the Washington Redskins or the Dallas Cowboys (both one game behind New York) to win out, forcing a tie for which they hold a tie-breaker. But the defending Super Bowl champions aren't taking any chances. They're going all in.
"If you look at it right now, we're first," safety Stevie Brown told Giants.com. "We have a game lead in the standings, so if we win them all, no one can pass us. That's how we're looking at it. If we can win all these games, we're in the playoffs."
That's how the Giants looked at it last season, when in week 15 they suffered a crushing loss to the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. The G-Men responded with back-to-back wins over the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys in the final two weeks of the regular season to claim the NFC East. In fact, including the playoffs, they won their final six games to take home the Lombardi Trophy. It was the second time in five seasons that the G-Men ran the table at the end of the season. So asking them to win the next four is not asking too much.
"We've been in this position before," Victor Cruz told the team's official Web site, "where we've had to win games to continue to stay alive for the playoffs. We're no strangers to that, so we've just got to be able to stay focused and get these wins under our belt."
Of course, it hasn't always worked out for the Giants. Between happy endings to the 2007 and 2011 seasons, New York suffered second-half meltdowns. In 2009, the G-Men ruined a 5-0 start by finishing the season 3-8, including brutal losses in three of their last four games. In 2010, they gave away a second-half lead and the division to the Philadelphia Eagles in an epic, last-season collapse at Giants Stadium. So the Giants know what it's like to let it all slip away, too.
It may be asking too much from a lesser team, but this is business as usual for Big Blue. Let's just hope the Giants take care of business this time.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. He proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. Adam follows back Giants fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.