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New York Giants Notes: 'Exciting' Challenge Ahead

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The New York Giants are well aware of the crowded playoff picture in the NFC. At 8-4, the Giants still face a difficult road to the playoffs, and they are braced for the challenge.

"I think that's what you live for and that's what you play for. That's exciting. You get to the end of a long, hard season and you're beat up and it's physically taxing, you want to have pressure and you want to have something to play for. You want to have excitement and things on the line at the end of the season and that's what you play for. I'd definitely rather be in this scenario than 2-10 and just packing up your stuff for the offseason," said Barry Cofield. "I would hope that everyone has all the motivation that they need, and if nothing else, you have to keep peace in this NFC. This NFC took a lot of criticism saying that the conference was mediocre, but it seems like a lot of teams are playing well. We have some good records, and you're going to have to finish with a strong record to be in the playoff hunt."

Offensive lineman Chris Snee echoed Cofield's thoughts on the playoff race.

"It's exciting actually. You get down to the games that are crucial, you're challenged to play your best and that's where the true competitors step forward and I feel that we're loaded with those on this team, so I am really looking forward to what we can do down the stretch," Snee said. "We're just trying to keep up with everyone else. You look at the score and you think New Orleans is going to lose and fall one back, but they come back and win and Green Bay had a huge second half and they win, Chicago wins, so just trying to keep up and not to mention most importantly, Philadelphia won, so the goal is always to make the playoffs, but we want to win the division, too, so the only way to do that is to win out."

As far as motivation for this week is concerned, last year's embarrassing 44-7 season-ending loss to Minnesota is still fresh in the minds of the Giants.

"Let's just say we haven't forgotten what happened there. I'll just leave it at that. We know what the final score was and we know what happened in there," said Snee. "It's already been talked about. Let's leave it at that.

"It's all about us. All we're concerned about is the way that we played and what we showed on that field is not indicative of the team that we are and the reputation that we have had over the years as a team that is going to play you for four quarters - we didn't do that and most guys were embarrassed by that performance, me included, and I never want to have that feeling again."

The Giants, of course, have survived the past couple of weeks despite being seriously short-handed on offense. Here is coach Tom Coughlin talking about this team.

"What we've learned about our team is that we have a number of guys who have got outstanding hearts, outstanding attitudes and they give outstanding effort and whatever we've asked them to do, they've done it and they've tried to do it to the best of their ability," Coughlin said. "It's not perfect, but we're getting some things accomplished and we're growing in that we've won a couple of games, we are in December - it is a critical time of the year - and more people are responding and when they are called upon, they have performed."

Coughlin was asked Monday about Bear Pascoe, whose shift from tight end to fullback in place of the injured Madison Hedgecock has worked out better than anyone could have anticipated.

"It's a tribute to his versatility that he's been able to play at first just to fill in at that spot and now literally to be able to play the second tight end spot or the fullback spot depending on what the play or the personnel combination calls for," Coughlin said. "His attitude is tremendous, his work ethic is outstanding and he will do whatever you ask him to do and he does do it with all of his effort and energy and he does it to the best of his ability, so he is a guy that just goes out and doesn't get a lot of attention, just does his job, but in the long run does it very well."

Coughlin did give updates on many of the injured Giants, and it seems the ones who have the best chance of playing this week would be wide receiver Steve Smith and offensive lineman David Diehl. Smith knows he won't be 100 percent, but is prepared to "deal with it."

"I know I’m going to have to deal with pain," he said. "It’s tough, but that’s how it’s going to be probably for the rest of the year. I’m going to have to learn to deal with it."