The good news for the New York Giants is that despite their current three-game slide, they're still very much in the thick of things regarding a postseason berth.
The bad news is, they'll have to try to snap their losing streak against their toughest opponent to date, the undefeated Green Bay Packers, who this weekend, can lock up a playoff berth with a win.
One of the Giants' objectives this week in preparing for the Packers will be to purge the stench of losing from their locker room. It's a task made harder by Monday night's thrashing by the New Orleans Saints, which left the Giants searching for answers.
Head coach Tom Coughlin -- who said he still believes the team that defeated the AFC East-leading New England Patriots four weeks ago is still present in his locker room -- recognizes the mood in his locker room.
"We have had three setbacks here which are very disturbing because the first two were only a touchdown difference and then (Monday) night," he said. "We feel like we have to find a way to help our players be the best that they can be."
To do that, Coughlin has come up with ways to remind the players that they're still a very good football team.
|Giants Eli Manning evades Patriots Rob Ninkovich Nov 6, 2011 (Elsa/Getty Images)|
"We've taken a look at the plays from our six wins to remind our players of the quality of their play and what we're capable of doing," Coughlin said. "We've reminded them that from '07 to '11 we were the team that has won more games on the road than anybody else in the NFL."
Another challenge Coughlin has been trying to help his players overcome is the fear of the second-half collapse, which has been a black mark against his Giants coaching record. In order to do that, he said he's not as hung up on historical trends as the rest of the outside world seems to be.
"As I have tried to explain to you before, I think every team is different, every circumstance is different," he said. "I am very interested in finding out how you lose a game by a touchdown when you do so many good things or (Monday) night. How is it that we are unable to defend or cover things that we have practiced all week and seem to do a pretty good job of?
"I am certainly aware of (the fact) that our team is well aware of this and we have talked about staying focused. We know what the schedule is and each week. I don't see any connection between teams, I just see the reasons why you don't win and why you do win. We are trying as hard as we can to help our players so that we are in a better position to win."
So what then, is his message to the team as they prepare to face the Packers this weekend?
"We are going to prepare as hard as we can," he said. "We are going to work as hard as we can. We realize that the margin is thin and we are going to have to play very well in order to accomplish this but we think we can.
"We are going to do everything in our power in this short week to turn around the negatives from last night and get it going in the right way again."