The New York Giants can be a mystifyingly inconsistent team, looking like the defending champions they are at times and an expansion team at other times. That, of course, is why they are 7-5 and in a fight that did not have to happen for the NFC East title.
Watching the week to week ups and downs and inconsistencies of this team is frustrating for everyone, including the head coach.
"How in the world can a team with something this important be as careless as we were?," Tom Coughlin asked on Tuesday, the day after the 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins, during which the Giants committed nine penalties.
"We've been averaging four penalties a game, and now we jump to nine. The lesson is pay attention, pay specific attention to the way in which games are lost in this league if you're sloppy with your penalties, if you turn the ball over, you don't give yourself much of a chance to win," Coughlin said. "The penalties, quite frankly, not only were they greatly disappointing, they were so shocking to me because they're out of character with how we've been playing."
The Giants lead the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys by one game with four to play. Coughlin said the Giants, losers of three of their last four games, have to win out.
"It's a four-game season and we have to win, literally, every one of our games. That's how I look at it," Coughlin said.