Giants look to sack second-half funk

The New York Giants are 6-2 yet again at the halfway point of the season.

And Justin Tuck is worried. Not about how the defending champs are playing, but how they may play in these next few games, given that the history in the Tom Coughlin era hasn't been kind to the Giants after Halloween.

"What I am worried about is what we have always done," Tuck said. "We've always been 6-2 at the break or 5-2 at the break."

And then the Giants have a tendency to go into a midseason slump.

Since 2004, when Coughlin took over, the Giants have started every season 5-2 or better. But they are 32-39 in games from November on.

Last season, the Giants got off to a 6-2 start only to finish 9-7. They fell into a midseason funk, losing four straight games before waking up and turning their season around.

Just don't mention anything about a midseason swoon to Coughlin. He grew agitated when asked about the Giants' problems during previous seasons after 6-2 starts and if he will talk to his players about them.

"Here you go again with the problems that we've gotten into," Coughlin replied. "We're going to talk about the string of four games [losses] last year. We're going to talk about the losses.

"I'm telling you like I told you before," he continued. "Throughout the course of those games, we played some very, very difficult opponents. We lost by a couple of points here and a couple of points there, with the exception of one game. There's nobody looking at this as anything other than what it is."

The Giants' second-half schedule is difficult. They host the Steelers on Sunday, travel to Cincinnati, host the Packers, travel to Washington, host the Saints, and travel to Atlanta and Baltimore before hosting the Eagles in the season finale.

The Giants have played some terrific games, looking dominant against Carolina and San Francisco while also producing dramatic fourth-quarter comeback victories against Tampa Bay, Washington and Dallas.

They can get better and healthier in hopes of putting it all together. They certainly showed a glimpse of that during their 26-3 win over San Francisco.

Team co-owner John Mara was thrilled to see his team escape Dallas with a victory after blowing a 23-0 lead.

"It means we're 6-2," Mara said of where his team stands. "It doesn't mean anything. We've still got a long way to go and you earn your money in the second half of the season."

Tuck knows this and he is cognizant of the Giants' tendency to slip in November.

That is why he is trying not to think about another potential slump.

"I know," Tuck said before a reporter could ask a question about the Giants' midseason struggles. "Believe me, I know. I have been here for a couple of them actually.

"You are aware of it, but you don't dwell on it. You don't allow yourself to think about it. The past is the past. Hopefully you learn from it and get stronger from it, but it warrants a little bit of my thought and a little bit of a thought from this team knowing we are on a little bit of a high right now."

Tuck doesn't want the Giants to get overconfident or remain on this high that they are feeling after a four-game winning streak, which includes two stirring victories over division rivals Washington and Dallas.

The way Tuck sees it, the Giants will have to keep winning to keep up with the rest of the NFC.

"We got to figure out a way to make sure we keep this thing going because the NFC is going to be the powerhouse of the NFL this year," Tuck said. "So we got to keep pace.

"Atlanta is still undefeated, San Fran you know is going to be there at the end. You got some surprise teams that are playing well. We don't have time to sit back and gloat about 6-2 because we know that we still got a gauntlet to go through and this thing can turn for the worse if we don't keep focused."