EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tom Coughlin isn't ready to relax now that the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants have reached the midpoint of the season with a 6-2 record and a 2½-game lead in the NFC East.
The truth is the Giants have a lot to worry about. Forget their current four-game winning streak. If anyone doesn't believe that, all they have to do is watch Sunday's 29-24 win over the Cowboys in Dallas.
It was a typical game for the Giants.
Instead of rallying for a win, they squandered an early 23-point lead and survived a Tony Romo-led comeback by the length of a Dez Bryant finger, the one that landed out of bounds with 10 seconds to play to nullify a potential game-winning touchdown.
It was that close, which is the story this season.
While the Giants were impressive in beating Carolina and San Francisco, they rallied from 14-point deficits against Tampa Bay and Cleveland, needed a 77-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz with 73 seconds to go to edge Washington and escaped Dallas by the skin on Bryant's hand.
If that isn't convincing enough, let's remember last season. New York went 6-2 in the first half and then opened the second half with losses to San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Green Bay. The team needed a six-game winning streak at the end of the season to win their second Super Bowl in five seasons.
Coughlin knows things aren't going to get any easier with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Washington, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia on tap down the stretch.
"It's a huge plus to be where we are," Coughlin said. "We've battled back from being 0-2 in the division to being 2-2 in the division. We know how difficult this league is. We know how difficult these games are that we play and our divisional opponents play week in, week out. It's not easy to win in this league. There is tremendous parity.
"We have to keep going. We have a really tough opponent (Steelers) coming in this week. It just gives you another something to improve on."
The problems are obvious. The offense is settling for too many field goals — five against Dallas — and the running game has been inconsistent. The defense has given up a few too many big plays and has not generated a consistent pass rush.
Safety Stevie Brown, who had two interceptions and a fumble recovery Sunday, said the players realize they aren't hitting on all cylinders.