Jordan Raanan, ESPN Staff Writer 288d

Bend or break: How the Giants are approaching 0-4

TAMPA BAY, Fla. -- The odds are against the New York Giants. Strongly.

"We need to win a damn game," coach Ben McAdoo explained with more than a hint of anger.

After Sunday's 25-23 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped them to 0-4, they are now the longest of longshots to return to the playoffs. Teams that start the season with four straight losses have a 1.1 percent chance of reaching the postseason since the start of the current playoff format, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

So the Giants have 99 percent odds of NOT making the playoffs. To put it bluntly, that's terrible, much like their play over the first four weeks. It left just about everyone in the Giants' locker room on Sunday in a sour, expletive-filled mood.

"Right now, after this loss, we feel like s---. We do. Everybody does," linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. "It's going to feel like this for a while. People always say 24-hour rule, it might take a little longer than that. Nobody ever predicted for us to do anything like that."

The Giants were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders. Not in the running for the No. 1 overall pick. And practically no one would have predicted before the season that the Giants would start 0-4 while the crosstown rival Jets went 2-2.

While it now seems improbable at best that the Giants can make any postseason noise with their uber-slim 1.1 percent chance of making the playoffs, several key Giants are doing their best to be optimistic.

“One percent? So, this is what I'll say about 0-4: How cool is it going to be when we make the playoffs? How cool is it going to be when we go on this run? That's what you have to look at it as," said offensive lineman Justin Pugh, noting the Giants had no other options on how to approach the situation. "We're gonna go on this run and it's going to be epic and you guys will be like, s---, in Tampa Bay Pugh was like, 'We're gonna go on this run, and it's going to be f---ing awesome.'

"Can't wait until we do it."

It would be epic. One percent provides the slimmest margin for error. The Giants have games remaining against the Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs.

But as the legendary Lloyd Christmas (from "Dumb and Dumber" fame) once said: So you're saying there's a chance.

Add star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to list eternal optimists.

"There's a one percent chance in making it to the NFL, so there's still a percentage. There's still a chance," Beckham said after catching seven passes on 12 targets for 90 yards. "Twelve games, I guess you have to win all 12. You've got to win 11. You have to do what you have to do. The Giants need to put their foot down and we need to start.

"It's time to win. There's no way to put it, but it's time to win."

Well, if you want a real tinge of optimism the Giants do host the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Chargers are among the NFL's remaining winless quartet. Somebody has to win. The Giants opened as 4.5-point favorites for the matchup.

But then they go to Denver for a prime-time game against the Broncos. Then they host the Seahawks. But they can't look ahead. Right now the Chargers will be a challenge for a team that has proved incapable of winning.

In the meantime, the Giants need to make sure they don't fracture. Losing wears on players. This is four straight weeks. It was evident in the locker room that the losing is starting to take its toll. Players didn't want to talk. The ones that did were cursing mad.

The way it usually goes: first comes the anger, then comes the finger-pointing, then comes the in-fighting. The Giants have avoided it so far. But as each loss mounts, so will the internal pressure.

They can't be a "good team" as quarterback Eli Manning still said they were after Sunday's loss when they keep losing games. Week after week after week. Everything has gone wrong. And now the Giants have a 1 percent chance to make the playoffs.

They can put a happy spin on it if they want. One percent is better than zero. They have no other choice. They still have to play the final 12 games.

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