EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22: Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants looks on against the Atlanta Falcons on November 22, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Falcons 34-31 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The story of the 2009 Giants, to use a thoroughly overused cliche, has been a tale of two seasons to this point.
New York came out of the gate guns-a-blazin,' beating Washington by a touchdown in week one. They followed that up with a two-point victory over your Dallas Cowboys in the JerryWorld opener in week two. Three easy victories against over-matched opponents later--Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Oakland--and the New York Giants, we were told, just might be bound for the Super Bowl.
Of course, five losses in six games will change the complexion of a season quickly. Now, the Giants find themselves sitting in third place in the NFC East, dealing with widespread injuries and a very real chance that they could be left on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
To come back from such circumstances, while difficult, is far from impossible in the National Football League. The key, many analysts and coaches tell us, is to peak at the right time; to play your best football when it counts the most. This was a common refrain of head coach Tom Coughlin's remarks on Wednesday.
"At one point [in 2008], the Eagles were 5-5-1 and the Cardinals were 8-7," Coughlin said in a conference call. "We can point to that. But ultimately, it's up to your team. It's in your hands. We've got to play well."
Echoing the comments of Eli Manning on Tuesday, Coughlin spoke of a return to form of sorts for a team that looked--regardless of competition--dominant early on in the season.
"We've got to believe in who we are and what we're capable of doing," said Coughlin. "We have other players on our team who have to step up their play."