NFC East supremacy on line

It's a tale of two 6-2s. What's going to make this year's version of the Giants more successful than last year's club? It's simple. They still have all hands on deck.

Now to think the Giants are going to remain as healthy as they've been for the first half of the season is too much to ask. But it's also fair to think they can get full seasons out of the likes of integral players like Michael Strahan, Amani Toomer and Justin Tuck, all of whom they were forced to play without during last season's second half.

"I don't think we have a different mindset," Tuck said. "We're healthy right now. I think that was the biggest thing going into (the second half) last year. We had some key pieces (missing) at that point. But as far as mindset, I don't think so. This team has a lot of experience and a lot of leadership, and the guys are pretty much the same way they were last year."

We all know last season turned on New York's key ninth-game loss to Chicago. This time around, the Giants have a better chance to capture this season's game of the year this Sunday against the Cowboys. Last year, New York and its fans went into the Bears contest talking about capturing home-field advantage throughout the entire playoffs. They lost in embarrassing fashion and never recovered.

This year Big Blue is fully aware that the second-half schedule is going to prove much more difficult than its first eight games. Perhaps that's why the talk has subsided and the Giants fully intend to do their talking with their play. Believe it or not, Tom Coughlin's offseason motto seems to have hit home: "Talk is cheap. Play the game."

That's what the Giants have done all season so far. And, at this point, you'd have a heck of a time trying to get them to try to fix something that isn't broken.

While their good fortune in the health department allows them to put their best foot forward, the Giants are wise enough to realize that they still need to continue to make their mark between the white lines.

"Just because you're 6-2, you know nothing's guaranteed," quarterback Eli Manning said. "We've been 6-2 before," Coughlin said. "The good thing is it's an eight-game schedule. It's the end of the second phase of our season. Our team has earned the right to be in the position that we're in. We've done many, many good things along the way."

Now the goal is to continue the positive roll they bring into their big matchup with the Cowboys. It didn't take Tuck long to shift his mindset after the Giants held off Miami in London. Tuck hadn't even left Europe and he already had Cowboys on the mind.

"My focus has already shifted to Dallas," Tuck said.

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