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Glum Giants plot strong stretch run

  • New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks over his shoulder as he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The Redskins won 17-16. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks over his shoulder as he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The Redskins won 17-16. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks over his shoulder as he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The Redskins won 17-16. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks over his shoulder as he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The Redskins won 17-16. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III points skyward after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

    Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III points skyward after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III points skyward after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

    Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III points skyward after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
  • New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks over his shoulder as he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The Redskins won 17-16. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
  • New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks over his shoulder as he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The Redskins won 17-16. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
  • New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III points skyward after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III points skyward after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
  • New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A frustrated Tom Coughlin made that assessment Tuesday, knowing that the Giants’ 17-16 loss to the Washington Redskins Monday did more than cut their division lead in half.

The defeat left them at a surprising 2-3 in the NFC East with one division game left — vs. Philadelphia in the season finale. If the Giants (7-5) finish tied with either Washington (6-6) or Dallas (6-6), the second tiebreaker after head-to-head matchups is division record.

The Giants split games with Dallas and Washington, and have already lost to last-place Philadelphia.

The Cowboys and Redskins each already have three wins in the division and they play each other again. So, one or both stands to have a better division record than New York.

“I am looking at it one game at a time, knowing full well it’s a four-game season and we have to win really every one of our games,” Coughlin said. “That’s how I look at it. I am going to be aware of all the things you are talking about. But that is not going to enter into my thinking.

“It’s going to be win the games that are presented, the one that is right in front of you.”

The stretch run is not going to be easy, especially with the defending Super Bowl champions having lost three of the last four, including contests against Pittsburgh and Washington where they blew fourth-quarter leads.

New Orleans (5-7) is on tap at MetLife Stadium on Sunday and Saints quarterback Drew Brees has done a number on New York over the past few seasons. After that, the Giants have road games at Atlanta (11-1) and Baltimore (9-3) before returning home to face Philadelphia in what might be embattled Eagles coach Andy Reid’s final game.

On Monday, the Giants could have damaged the Redskins’ hopes and sent a strong message to their rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III. Instead, Washington is alive and well in the division hunt after New York committed nine penalties and played an all-around ugly game that still had the coach annoyed 24 hours later.

“It was sloppy, careless play,” Coughlin said. “Everyone knows the rules, what you can and can’t get away with.”

“We felt we orchestrated in the right direction for a great deal of the game, but we did not win the game,” Coughlin said. “We didn’t get the ball back when we had to get it back. We didn’t score when we had the ball in position. The penalties are a natural thing that eat away at your gut. How in the world can a team with something this important be as careless as we were?

“Those are the things that still eat away at me.”

The bottom line is the Giants did not take advantage of their opportunities and they didn’t do enough in the second half to finish off the Redskins, who have now won three straight games.

“It certainly would have been a great advantage for us to win,” Coughlin said.

And there is injury on top of the insult. Tackle Sean Locklear, who had started nine games, suffered a serious knee injury in the second half that will require surgery. David Diehl, who hurt a shoulder against Green Bay the week before, took over after the veteran was carted off.

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP—NFL

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