Red Zone Blues

The Giants, once again, could not punch the ball into the end zone when it mattered most. Two consecutive possessions in the second half illustrated why Big Blue is hanging onto its postseason hopes by a thread, as opposed to talking about catching the Cowboys and winning the division.

"We had opportunities in the green area and we just couldn't score," Jeremy Shockey said.

Trailing 14-10 late in the third period, New York moved to Philly's 10-yard line after a 52-yard catch-and-run by Plaxico Burress. On first down, Tiki Barber was thrown for a loss of two yards. On second down, Eli Manning hit David Tyree over the middle for a seven-yard gain to the 5-yard line. Manning's third-down pass to Jeremy Shockey was incomplete and New York was forced to settle for three.

After a great defensive play by Will Demps and a penalty set the Giants offense up at the Philly 7-yard line, Barber was stopped for no gain. On second down he was stuffed trying to run up the middle and gained only one yard. On third down, Manning, rolling to his left, probably should have tried to run it in instead of throwing a pass that was batted down before it even came close to its intended target (Burress). After that, New York had to accept another Jay Feely FG.

Instead of the 24-14 lead two touchdowns would have given New York, the Giants were clinging to a 16-14 edge.

"That is a problem that we have had all season long," Barber said. "Kicking field goals in the red zone against as good a team as we played today, you are going to lose those battles. It is frustrating; it definitely is because we had ample opportunities despite some of the miscues that we had. We let it slip away. It's tough, especially considering what was at stake in this game, how close we were to taking great steps toward the playoffs and we took an enormous step back. It's frustrating. We have been a roller-coaster team all season long."

"They did a good job of mixing coverage and pressure," Manning added. "We tried to run the ball a few times and didn't have much success. So both times we were stuck and we not able to get into the end zone. We did not execute well enough down there."

Only once out of three tries were the Giants able to convert after they moved inside Philadelphia's 20-yard line. Brandon Jacobs' one-yard fourth quarter TD run gave New York its very short-lived 22-21 advantage.

Coughlin was at a loss to explain his club's troubles in the ‘green' zone.

"We were expecting blitz more than we got it there," he said. "We just didn't do a good enough job."

As for Jacobs, he was taken for X-rays following the game for an undisclosed injury. He appeared to be limping after the game.

Playoff picture

The Giants lost for the fifth time in six games and fell to 7-7. They are tied with Atlanta for the NFC's sixth and final playoff berth. But because they beat the Falcons on Oct. 15, the Giants own the tiebreaker advantage and will be guaranteed a postseason berth if they win their final two games – at home against New Orleans and at Washington. However, if the Giants only split their final two games and the Falcons win out (vs. Carolina, at Philadelphia), or the Vikings win out (at Green Bay, vs. St. Louis), Big Blue will be officially home for the postseason. If that scenario unfolded, Minnesota would have a better conference record than the Giants, and thus get the final playoff seed. The 6-8 Packers, who host Minnesota and play at Chicago, could also forge a tie and if so would also have an identical conference mark as the Giants. Carolina, San Francisco and St. Louis all also have 6-8 records, but would not win the tiebreaker over the Giants should New York split its final two contests.

Not so friendly confines

The Giants lost their third consecutive home game and fell to 3-4 at home. They were 7-1 at home last season. They have lost two division home games for the first time since they dropped all three in 2003.

Coming full circle

Carlos Emmons had one of the Giants' two sacks, dropping Jeff Garcia for a 10-yard loss. It was his first sack since Sept. 26, 2004 against Cleveland. The quarterback that day was Jeff Garcia.

Splitsville

The Giants and Eagles split their season series for just the third time in the last 22 years. They also split in 1990 and 2002. In every other season since 1985, one of the teams has swept the season series.

Since the series began in 1933, the teams have met twice in the regular season 72 times (they played just once in 1967 and '69). Fifty of those 72 series have ended in sweeps, 28 by the Giants and 22 by Philadelphia.

Climbing the charts

Tiki Barber's touchdown was his second of the season and the 65th of his career, tying him with Joe Morrison for second on the Giants' career list. Frank Gifford is first with 78 touchdowns. It was Barber's 52nd rushing touchdown, extending his team record.

Barber has scored 398 career points and needs two to become the fifth Giant with 400.

Barber rushed for 75 yards on 19 carries to lead the Giants for the 78th consecutive game, extending the longest streak in NFL history.

Strahan shelved again

For the sixth straight game, Michael Strahan was unable to play due to his sprained foot. CB Corey Webster (toe), C Shaun O'Hara (ankle) and Luke Petitgout (leg) were also on the inactive list. With O'Hara out of the lineup, Rich Seubert started at center. Seubert suffered a sprained ankle during the game and had to be replaced by Grey Ruegamer. Big Blue's healthy scratches were WR Michael Jennings, LB Tyson Smith, and DT Titus Adams. Tim Hasselbeck was the third QB.

One of Philadelphia's inactive players was cornerback William James, who once played for the Giants as William Peterson. James strained a calf muscle in warmups.

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