EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) With a crushing win over the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants believe this could be the start of another late-season title run.
While no one was ready to predict a third trip to the Super Bowl since the 2007 season, the Giants (7-4) easily played their best game in a month in the 38-10 rout Sunday night that gave them a two-game lead in the NFC East.
``This is when you need to be playing your best ball heading into the cold weather and the playoff atmospheres that we're about to embark on,'' defensive captain Justin Tuck said Monday. ``This is when you want to be playing your best, so that's very important. A lot of times we see teams start hot and end on a cold note. We've been more of the variety of start hot, get cold and then heat up again. So hopefully we can end this season playing our best ball and heading into the playoffs playing our best ball. That's where you want to be.''
The Giants certainly looked a lot like the team that steamrolled opponents in their final six games last season, capturing a second title in five seasons.
However, this also has been an inconsistent team over the past two seasons.
The goal now is stay on a roll, especially with the young and talented Redskins on tap in Washington next Monday night.
A Giants' win almost eliminates Washington (5-6) from the division race. A Redskins' win puts the division up for grabs with a month to go in the regular season.
``It's a five-game schedule,'' fullback Henry Hynoski said. ``We have to keep staying consistent. We can't get complacent and say we just beat up on the Packers so we can beat up on anybody. Every week is big-boy football. We just have to come out and buckle our chinstraps and prepare every week like we did last week. We have to carry that here on out.''
The Giants had all three phases working against the Packers. The slumping offense converted three of four red zone opportunities in the team's second-largest win of the season. The defense sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and forced two turnovers that led to 10 points against one of the league's top offenses. Special teams didn't let Randall Cobb break any big returns.
One thing that has changed since the Giants went into the bye week following losses to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati was the way the players reviewed games. Normally, coaches watch the film and go over any errors. Cornerback Prince Amukamara said the players now hold a players-only meeting every Monday to go over the previous game, with the offense, defense and special teams each taking an hour or so to discuss the game.
Amukamara called it a debriefing akin to what many armed forces do following a mission. He said the players go over their actions on each play and get good feedback from other players.
Amukamara said the players did it last year, and started doing it again after the Cincinnati game.
``What's great about it is that everyone has a voice, from the scout team to a Pro Bowl guy, so anyone can talk,'' Amukamara said, noting the normal meeting with the coach will take place in addition to the debriefing.
Safety Antrel Rolle said beating the Packers the way the Giants did was an awesome feeling. In typical coach-speak, he added to remain consistent the team has to limit its focus to one team each week and not look at the big picture that also included games against New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
However, he said Sunday's game was reminiscent of the way the Giants finished last season.
``Honestly, it felt good to go out there and get a win and get that nasty taste out of our mouths,'' Rolle said. ``Just being on the same page with the guys and going around and flying around and having fun while doing that (was good). I think we had a lot of fun in that game yesterday and we beat a very, very good opponent.''
Coach Tom Coughlin said if the team practices the way it did last week, the wins will follow.
``It started out a six-game schedule, now it's five,'' Coughlin said. ``Every game is critical, every game is important. This week, when we get started, our preparation will be for a divisional game, a Monday night game. Every game is of the utmost importance. I think the players will respond.''
``We don't get down on ourselves just because of a few bad games, and we've had our share of bad games this year,'' he said. ``We all know what we are capable of once we tie it all together. Last night was a showcase of that.''
NOTES: The Giants placed halfback Andre Brown on recallable injured reserve with a broken left leg. He must stay on the list eight weeks, which would get him back for the Super Bowl if the Giants make it that far. With only Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie David Wilson on the roster, Coughlin said the team is considering signing a running back. Former Rutgers product Joe Martinek is on the practice squad. The Giants worked out free agents Mewelde Moore, Ryan Torain and Joseph Addai recently. ...There was no update on T David Diehl's stinger but Coughlin was concerned. S Kenny Phillips aggravated the right knee that he hurt in late September on Sunday night.