Tom Coughlin hopes he is able to read this article Friday.

That would mean the Giants beat Washington Thursday night. It would mean they snapped their two-game losing streak to start the season, figured out a way to finish off an opponent, and is back in the thick of a division without a clear front-runner.

And it would mean Coughlin's boycott of the media is over.

"I don't read anything," he said, "and I don't like that. I don't like being someone who really doesn't know what's happening in the world, but I've decided that I don't want to be affected by what's being said on the outside. So I really don't care for that."

Coughlin, who spoke of his shuttered lifestyle Thursday in his weekly interview with the team's website, said he encourages his players to ignore the noise from the outside as well. But he knows that's less likely.

"They're young men, they're bombarded," Coughlin said. "They're out in the world a hell of a lot more than I am. They leave here, I don't leave here, so I don't have to listen to that stuff. I would like to shield them, but I can't, it's the world we live in. And they understand it, they really do. But everything that happens of a negative nature, unless they're really strong, provides that little bit of invisible shield about coming fully together."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Coughlin has spoken in the past about the losses getting more difficult to deal with as he gets older. He is 69, the oldest coach in the NFL. His last few seasons have been especially arduous. The more the Giants lose, the more soul-baring Coughlin seems to partake in.

This week was no exception.

"I'm just praying that the lightbulb comes on, that they start to play good, sound football," he said.

Adding to Coughlin's angst is how close the Giants have been to being 2-0. They're the first team in NFL history to open a season with two losses in which they held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. They have only one turnover in two games.

With such a young, inexperienced team, Coughlin said the Giants need to learn how to close games out.

Giants videos

"It happens all of a sudden, and then they get it," he said. "But until it happens, the positive reinforcement is critical, so critical. Until it happens, it's just verbiage again."

Coughlin usually finds five or so plays that he calls "critical" plays that can make a big difference. Last week against the Falcons? He pointed to 18.

"Eighteen plays that could have, one way or another, made a difference in the outcome of the game for us," he said. "It's got to stop. It's got to happen . . . That's so frustrating.''

Coughlin said he believes the Giants have enough talent to be better than their record. He said earlier in the week that the Giants, even with all of their missteps, should be 2-0 and not 0-2. He reiterated that thought in the Giants.com interview.

"The quality of the men is very good," he said. "Sometimes we certainly don't play to that level, but nevertheless, something good needs to happen here."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

If it does, then he'll be happy to read all about it.

Notes & quotes: The Giants took one step forward but three steps back in regard to injuries. Jon Beason (knee) made his regular-season debut after missing the first two games and started at middle linebacker, but the Giants were without three other starters: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion), LT Ereck Flowers (ankle) and DE Robert Ayers Jr. (hamstring). The surprise was Ayers, who had been listed as questionable. His absence left the Giants without a true pass-rushing end; George Selvie and Kerry Wynn started at DE . . . Rodgers-Cromartie and WR Victor Cruz (calf) were running in warm-ups, an indication that both should return in Week 4 against the Bills . . . Justin Pugh made his first career start at left tackle in place of Flowers, while John Jerry started at left guard. The two played side by side last year, only on the right side . . . Two former Giants-killers -- WR DeSean Jackson and QB Robert Griffin III -- were inactive for Washington . . . Commissioner Roger Goodell conducted a sideline interview for a future segment of "60 Minutes" during pregame activities . . . Iona Prep will dedicate its football field to honor former Giants owner and Hall of Famer Wellington Mara at its homecoming Saturday in New Rochelle . . . Eight families of pediatric cancer patients attended as special guests of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.