Jon Beason wants to make it official.

"Two games? Eh," the Giants' defensive captain said with a shrug, referring to the team's current run of consecutive victories. "Three games, that's a streak."

It certainly would be, and if the Giants can pull it off against the 49ers Sunday night, they'll be in some unfamiliar territory. Not only could it boost them into sole possession of first place in the NFC East, a place they haven't been since the collapse late in 2012, but it would give them an above-.500 record for only the second time in the last three years.

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They would be something that has eluded them for what seems like an eternity: a winning team.

Which is why players have used words such as "huge" and "pivotal" to describe the opportunity to improve to 3-2 after starting the season with two straight losses (was that a streak, Jon?).

"Obviously, that'd be great," Eli Manning said. "That would be big and we just have to keep it going. We got two in a row and we have to keep it going."

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From the outside, it seems as if the schedule favors them. There is a good possibility that the Giants will not face an opponent with a winning record until they get to the Patriots game in mid-November.

But the Giants know what kind of fight a losing team can have, because they too were on the skids just a week ago. They see in the 49ers -- careful not to look beyond them -- a team that is capable of ending their winning ways and depriving them of that winning record.

"We have to understand that just a few weeks ago, we had to grind to get out of that circumstance," Manning said. "I think that's the kind of way San Francisco is going to be coming in. They're fighting and they're going to be grinding to get a win and we have to match that same intensity. Our preparation has to be great and we have to come out playing hard and playing determined to keep this thing going to get a win."

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Said Tom Coughlin: "They're 1-3 and they're desperate to win. And we're desperate to win."

Things certainly have changed for the Giants since they broke into the win column. Coughlin spoke about how much easier it is to review video and coach the deficiencies -- and there still are many for the Giants -- with a smile from the victory. The philosophy that pulled them through the first two games, though, still is in place as they deal with their modicum of success.

"If you think about the phrase we've been using, 'So what? Now what?', it applies to whatever last week was. It's over," Coughlin said. "Now the idea is to keep going, to continue, to develop, to embrace any challenge that comes your way."

The next challenge is the 49ers. The reward, if the challenge is met, is an over-.500 record.

"Obviously, it's a big deal," right tackle Marshall Newhouse said. "It comes from being on a roll and playing the right way, so in that sense it's a big deal. But if we win and get to 3-2, there are still 11 games left. There are going to be a lot of teams at 3-2, some that won't even make the playoffs. Three-and-two is a small goal. It's a good goal, but in the long term, that's not where we want to be."