Healthier Giants hope to end mistakes, stop losing
EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J. -- Both the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers may already be facing that "must win" situation when they meet in only the third game of the season on Sunday.
The Panthers want to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2010, when they finished 2-14.
The Giants are also trying to avoid their first 0-3 regular season start since 1996, when they ended up 6-10.
Whichever team that stops making untimely mistakes is the one most likely to end its skid. And for the Giants, one step in that direction is just being healthy.
Carolina, which lost the two games by a combined six points, has been stopped by mistakes that turned the tide.
Against the Seahawks, the Panthers made a critical late-game turnover inside the red zone, which cost them a chance to take the lead.
Against the Bills, they picked off a pass, but it was called back because of a defensive pass interference penalty.
"They haven't made a whole lot of mistakes; when they have, it's definitely hurt them," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin noted. "Their games have been very tight, very competitive, and they've had chances to win in both games."
The Giants, meanwhile, have committed turnovers at an alarming rate -- 10, to be precise. These mistakes turned what started as close games into losses.
"We've played two very good football teams, but you can't have the field position (and) the lack of opportunity," Coughlin said. "Even if it's something that hasn't been crippling in terms of the other guys taking advantage of it, it's kept us from being what we need to be."
So where do the Giants go from here as they begin their preparation?
For starters, New York will take a mostly healthy roster into Carolina on Sunday, as only two players -- tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) and offensive tackle David Diehl (thumb) -- were listed on the injury report.
"I hope it helps," Coughlin said. "You'd like to be able to have a full menu every week. This may be a week where, God willing, we have a good week of practice (and) everyone stays on their feet without getting in any trouble in that regard."
The team is also looking to have a solid three days of practice before they board their charter flight on Saturday afternoon.
"It has to start on the practice field," receiver Hakeem Nicks said. "I thought we had a nice practice today. We have to go out there and translate it over to the game."
The most important thing for the Giants, at least as far as Coughlin is concerned, is to play 60-minute, mistake-free effort.
"The fact of the matter is we need to play better," he said. "We've got to get the football right. We've got to stop hurting ourselves, we have to play as one, (and) we've got to finish the fourth quarter (and) play four solid quarters."
Nicks said the team is confident that their sloppiness is behind them.
"I think the turnovers can be nipped in the bud," he said. "I think things are going to start going our way."
NOTE: Coughlin was called away from the team on Monday to be with his family after the unexpected passing of 63-year old John Coughlin, his only brother. The coach began his Wednesday press conference by thanking reporters for their condolences.