Giants must keep their cool against Seahawks

Mathias Kiwanuka celebrates a sack of Green Bay

Mathias Kiwanuka celebrates a sack of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the second half of a game at MetLife Stadium. (Nov. 25, 2012) (Credit: AP)

The Seahawks have a reputation as a feisty, trash-talking team, led by cornerback Richard Sherman. So how do the Giants keep from being drawn into trouble against them Sunday?

"Why'd you come to me with this question?" defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka asked Friday.

Um . . . because you have three personal fouls in the past three games.

"Have I? I don't want that reputation, man," he said. "I'm dedicated to changing it because my number one goal is to get us a win, and that doesn't help the team in any way. So regardless of what they do, I believe myself and my team, we will keep our heads."

The Giants had best hope so because on paper they are the inferior team, and the Seahawks have much to play for, especially coming off a divisional loss to the 49ers.

But when a team descends into standings oblivion the way the Giants have, stuff tends to happen.

"There's no doubt we're a team that's accustomed to winning," Kiwanuka said. "We're not used to being in this situation. We don't like it. It's frustrating.

"But as long as we have games left on our schedule, we're going to continue to push and play and play within the confines of the rules."

Receiver Victor Cruz, who figures to see -- and hear -- plenty of Sherman, said, "That doesn't bother me. I don't really buy into it. It doesn't faze me at all."

The Seahawks' offense ranks second in the NFL behind the Buccaneers in both penalties (104) and penalty yardage (966), but that does not seem to have hurt them, given their 11-2 record.

"Everybody says the man who reacts gets the penalty, so we, myself included, just can't let it come to that," Kiwanuka said.

It should be noted that when Kiwanuka first was asked about all of this, he smiled, knowing full well why he was asked to speak on the topic. Two of his personal fouls came in the season-turning loss to the Cowboys on Nov. 24.

The irony is that his usual demeanor is as mild-mannered as football players come.

"I have always heard that and always worked hard to maintain my calm in everything off the field, and my aggressiveness, up until this point, has helped me on the field," he said.

"When it gets to the point where it's hurting the team, I have to make a decision to scale it back, and that's what I've done and that's what I'll continue to do."

Notes & quotes: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) is out. Has he been advised to skip the rest of the season? "Not that I know of," said coach Tom Coughlin, who added that although the hope is that Pierre-Paul will not need surgery, if he does, it will be done "right away." . . . DT Cullen Jenkins and CB Terrell Thomas are probable . . . Has S Antrel Rolle, the only Giant among Pro Bowl leaders in voting at his position, been pleased with his level of play this season? "Yeah, absolutely,'' he said. "I've definitely been pleased with my overall success. But it's about team."

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