New York Giants wide receiver Derek Hagan celebrates his third quarter touchdown with wide receiver Mario Manningham during a NFL game against the Washington Redskins Monday in Landover, Md. The Giants won, 45-12.ASSOCIATED PRESS
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With control of their playoffs chances out of their hands, Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants are thinking about one thing — winning their final two games.
A day after the Giants (8-6) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 45-12 thrashing of the Redskins in Washington, Coughlin said Tuesday that his approach to the final two games isn’t changing with the Giants chasing Dallas (9-5) and Green Bay (9-5) in the wild-card race.
Coughlin says the Giants need to keep playing well to defeat Carolina (6-8) on Sunday and then win at Minnesota (11-3) to close the regular season. The Panthers beat the Vikings 26-7 on Sunday.
If the Giants win out and either Dallas or Green Bay loses a game, New York holds the tiebreaker and would make the playoffs.
“We just take them one at a time, trying to do the best we can with our circumstance and then we’ll see what happens,” Coughlin said in reviewing Monday night’s game. “We just have to win. We have to win games. We have to win.”
New York has made the playoffs the last four years, but this year’s late-season run is different.
When the Giants made the playoffs in 2006 and 2007, they controlled their own destiny. They made the playoffs in 2006 by beating Washington in the final game of the season and qualified for the postseason in 2007 by beating Buffalo in the penultimate game of the regular season.
Not only does New York need to play well this season, the Giants need help.
Dallas plays at Washington (4-10) on Sunday night and finishes at home against Philadelphia (10-4) in a game that could decide the NFC East title. Green Bay is at home this weekend against Seattle (5-9) and travels to Arizona to play the Cardinals (9-5) in the regular-season finale.
Coughlin was more worried about the Panthers after their performance against the Vikings.
“Anybody who saw it, and our players are going to see it over and over, they had to be impressed by it,” Coughlin said, noting that Carolina was physical in all three phases of the game and got strong play out of their young quarterback, Matt Moore.
“There is an awful lot to look at and again, like I said last week, it’s on tape,” Coughlin said. “There isn’t anything you have to make up. It’s there for the players to see. It was there versus Washington and it’s there versus Carolina.”
Coughlin had no updates on injuries to left guard Rich Seubert (right knee) and rookie receiver Hakeem Nicks (hamstring). Both were hurt on Monday night. The coach also had no updates on cornerbacks Corey Webster (left knee), cornerback Aaron Ross (left hamstring) and right tackle Kareem McKenzie (left knee). All three missed the Redskins’ game.
“These things are going to take a while,” Coughlin said. “We’ve got some guys who are sore and banged up, but who’s going to be able to practice and who isn’t? We’re going to have to give it that extra day.”
Coughlin said that rookie Will Beatty played well filling in for McKenzie and Kevin Boothe also did well after taking over for Seubert in the first half.
Coughlin did not know if the NFL took any action against Brandon Jacobs because the halfback appeared to throw punches at Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall in a fourth-quarter melee.
“I’m not going to speculate on that,” Coughlin said. “Quite frankly, the play was on the other side of the field and a lot of people rallied and got over there, which is something we don’t want.”