Giants hoping Monday night is their night for first win

Eli Manning celebrates a touchdown in the first

Eli Manning celebrates a touchdown in the first quarter of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 6, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

Last weekend, when the Giants weren't playing a game, safety Ryan Mundy had an opportunity to visit with some of his old Steelers teammates, in town to play the Jets.

"It was," Mundy said with a wry smile, "the fellowship of the miserable."

That's because at the time of their quick get-together for a Saturday evening dinner, neither Mundy's Giants nor his buddies' Steelers had won a game.

The following day, the Steelers beat the Jets, leaving only three winless teams in the NFL.

On Sunday, two of them -- the Bucs and the Jaguars -- continued losing. The third? They get their chance Monday night.

The Giants started the season with dreams about first. First place in the NFC East. First team to play a home Super Bowl. First players to win the Lombardi Trophy three times in franchise history.

Now, after six fruitless weeks of the regular season, they're just trying to avoid being last. As in the last team to chalk up a victory.

Twenty-nine other teams already have jumped into the pool and splashed around in the joy and relief that comes with a win, including the Vikings (1-4), who visit MetLife Stadium Monday night. The Giants remain in dry dock, yearning for a chance to cannonball into the win column waters. And they're getting desperate.

"Even if it's by one point, even if it's at the last second, even if it's lucky, even if the refs blow the game, as long as we get a win; we just need it right now," cornerback Terrell Thomas said.

Facing one of the weakest teams on their schedule and a quarterback, Josh Freeman, making his Vikings debut might be just the thing for the Giants.

"Hopefully, it'll be this week," defensive tackle Linval Joseph said. "Everybody feels confident about it. I think Monday is going to be the first win."

For a couple of weeks during this losing streak, the Giants could look at the division standings and envision themselves making up the ground they were ceding. But they entered this weekend three games behind the Cowboys and Eagles and with no way to get closer because those teams played each other. With the Cowboys' 17-3 victory on Sunday, a win would leave the Giants three games back. A loss would make the deficit four with nine games to play.

Not that they are even thinking about those standings anymore. That was a crutch at 0-3, at 0-4. Now, at 0-6, even the most optimistic of the Giants is taking a much more myopic view of the situation.

"Are we still playoff-bound? Who knows?" Antrel Rolle said. "That's not the most important thing right now. The most important thing right now is coming together as a team and focusing on getting a win."

Just as a team on a winning streak talks about taking each game as a single entity and not lumping them together so they become a burden, so too are the Giants during this losing streak. At least in theory.

"I think you treat it the same every week," Eli Manning said. "You try to go out there and get a win, and whether you won the week before or lost, you just keep going at it . . . I guess you kind of feel that eventually we're going to win, we're going to get a win, we're going to put everything together and play at a higher level."

Mundy said he was angry that his Steelers buddies were able to snap their dry spell before the Giants could win the race for that first victory.The Giants' best shot at getting a win -- the "eventually" that Manning talked about -- could be Monday night.

If they don't, the next fellowship of the miserable dinner party could be at a table for one.

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