The old imagery of a cornered animal and a pursuer applies to next Monday's game in Dallas, whether Wade Phillips and Tony Romo want to admit it or not.
As the Dallas media swarms over the 1-4 team, both coach and quarterback tried to spread some calm. No, their season is not on the brink. No, nobody's panicking.
They may not be lying. But it's a good bet that Phillips and owner Jerry Jones have spread the gospel of aggressiveness in their talks with their team, which has fallen victim to mindless play the likes of which the 4-2 Giants haven't seen since, oh, what, Week 3 against Tennessee?
If the besieged Phillips can clean that up, the Giants could be in for a tough, competitive game in the Cowboys' mammoth stadium. Indeed, Phillips hasn't counted his team out of anything yet.
"We've lost some close games, you know," Phillips said. "The Giants know how we feel now about three weeks ago.
"I mean, against Minnesota, they had 188 yards. I don't think I ever had a game where we lost and they only had 188 yards. It happens. We just have to keep playing and try to get better. That's what we have to do, and that's we plan on doing."
Though Phillips would not share specifics of Jones' Monday message to the team, the coach did characterize the owner as optimistic. That's a bit different from the discouraged Jones who only grudgingly admitted to the media that a playoff spot was still possible.
But things are funny in the NFL. One big win can turn around an entire season. And Giants safety Kenny Phillips knows that's exactly what the Cowboys are gunning for.
"This is a big game because it's a division rival and Dallas is desperate for a win," Phillips said in his personal blog Wednesday. "They know they can get back on track with a win against us.
"We just have to keep doing what we've been doing, which is first, stop the run and make them one-dimensional, then get pressure on the quarterback. I think we match up well with them."
The Cowboys would probably agree, considering they lost the teams' nailbiter in Dallas last year 33-31 on Lawrence Tynes' fourth field goal as time expired.
"I don't know that you'd think of one game – you know, it's not a playoff game where win or lose and your season's over or you keep going – but it's very important and we do need to win," Romo said. "You never know who gets into the playoffs, whether it's 8-8 or 12-4. The season will play itself out the way it's supposed to.
"I do know this is very important. And I also know it's very important for us to play well this weekend."
The Giants need to be ready to take the Cowboys' best shot. Because that's all Dallas might have left.