The New York Giants want to go all out to make a final positive impression in case coach Tom Coughlin's job is insecure — which it almost certainly is not. How the Washington Redskins respond to Mike Shanahan's potentially final day as coach is more uncertain.
New York was awful and seemingly disinterested two weeks ago in a home loss to Seattle. But the Giants responded nicely in winning at Detroit to knock the Lions from postseason contention. Many Giants cited their respect for Coughlin, who has won two Super Bowls with them but also has had non-playoff finishes in five seasons at the helm.
"I'm looking ahead," defensive leader Justin Tuck said. "Anytime you go into a season like this, you always take time out at the end of the year to go over the goods, the bads and the ugly. I'm looking forward to getting back to the top of the heap.
"You have to shift your focus to thinking about what next year can be because, obviously, this year is kind of a lost cause. Again, we've got one more game to go, and we're going to go out there and play it just as if we were a playoff team and needed the win."
Even if the Redskins (No. 31, AP Pro32) can beat the Giants (No. 24, AP Pro32), who are favored by 3½ points at the Meadowlands, it figures to mean little for Shanahan. Given Washington's collapse from division champion to 3-12, criticism of the coach's handling of quarterback Robert Griffin III, and the fact Shanahan is 24-40 in charge in D.C., well, not even a rout of the Giants might matter.
"We've got a very mature football team and guys are taking care of business the last couple of weeks," says Shanahan, whose team has dropped seven in a row. "It's no different. I like the way they handle themselves. I like the way they prepare. This week will be no different."
As far as the Redskins losing again, Shanahan is correct.
BEST BET: GIANTS, 24-16
No. 3 San Francisco (plus 3) at No. 10 Arizona
Niners still thinking they can steal NFC West.
UPSET SPECIAL: 49ers, 20-19
No. 19 St. Louis (plus 10½) at No. 1 Seattle