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Giants vs. 49ers: Coughlin plays the underdog card

New York Giants' coach Tom Coughlin wasted no time this week casting the Giants in the role of underdog when they visit the San Francisco 49ers this weekend at Candlestick Park.

Streeter Lecka - Getty Images

The 'lack of respect' card is always the ace in the hole for the New York Giants. With the defending Super Bowl champions heading across the country to face the 4-1 San Francisco 49ers, commonly thought of as the best team in the NFC, Giants' coach Tom Coughlin is wasting no time laying that card on the table this week.

"Nobody gives us a chance to win. We'll see," Coughlin said Wednesday.

The 3-2 Giants opened the week at three-point underdogs, and in some quarters that line has risen as high five points.

The Giants are beaten up, with 13 players on their injury list again this week. They are traveling across the country to face the 49ers. The Giants' defense has been gashed by running backs the past two weeks, and this week it faces a team averaging a league-best 6.1 yards per rushing attempt. The San Francisco defense has looked virtually impenetrable, giving up an NFL low 13.6 points per game.

[Related: Full Coughlin transcript]

Coughlin wouldn't bite when asked why he thought no one was giving the Giants a chance on Sunday. He did, however, add that he "may take an occasion" this week to remind his players that the experts aren't giving them much of a shot this week.

"They're a good football team. They have played extremely well," Coughlin said of the 49ers. "They've got a lot of numbers. They're going to test you in a lot of categories, they want to run it. If you're going to play football with them, you're going to have to stop the run and run the ball. They are very good in their offensive and defensive lines."

Yep. Coughlin and the Giants are in full underdog mode this week. Right where they like to be.