Trying to motivate his squad after it became the first NFL team to blow 10-point leads in the fourth quarters of its first two games, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has turned to pointing out other people's misery.
"The situation in our division is very obvious to all of you, and I'm going to point that out to our team in a couple of minutes," Coughlin said Monday, moments before a team meeting that kicked off a compressed week of preparation for Thursday's game against Washington. "Just a way to try to get over the disappointment of yesterday as fast as you can, realize how important it is to move forward."
The NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys are 2-0 but have lost top wide receiver Dez Bryant and quarterback Tony Romo to significant injuries. The Philadelphia Eagles are 0-2 and averaging 35 rushing yards per game.
So, a home game against Washington, the one NFC East team against which the Giants have had success the past couple of seasons, offers New York a chance to get a win and gives the team the feeling as though all is not lost.
"It's a division where anybody can win it, and we can compete with all the teams," Giants linebacker Devon Kennard said. "We want to do our best and come out and be ready for Washington. Seeing what everybody else is doing, we definitely have all the opportunity in the world."
The Giants are certainly not without their flaws. Through two games, only one team, the Oakland Raiders, has allowed more yards than the Giants have on defense. New York has been in position to win both of its games, but the manner in which the Giants have given them away late reveals deeper issues that could keep them from being the type of team to take advantage of the misfortune of others.
But they need to find some way to make sure they are up for a game that is coming up so quickly, and if Coughlin can sell opportunity at the expense of rivals, then he's going to do it.
"You always look around the division and see what's going on," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said. "Obviously, the Cowboys are 2-0, but they've got some injuries and some things going on. A lot can happen in these next 14 games, and there's a lot of football to be played. We've just got to win some games. We've got to start finding ways to win."
If they don't, it's not going to matter how many problems their rivals have.