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Barry Cofield will check scoreboard

"This team plays better than we're an underdog," said Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield, above. Credit: AP

Giants coach Tom Coughlin is bound to stress to his players that they should focus on winning their game Sunday at Washington and not worry about Chicago's game at Green Bay, where a Packers win would eliminate the Giants from contention for the final NFC wild-card berth. But players are human, and defensive lineman Barry Cofield admitted this is one time he plans on ignoring the coach's orders.

"It doesn't affect the way you play," Cofield insisted I"'m not going to lie and say I'm not going to pay attention to the score because I am. Coughlin might tell us not to, but I'm going to be peeking. I want to know how that's going."

Asked if he's worried about losing concentration on the task at hand, especially if the Packers are winning, Cofield said, "I'll just peek occasionally. Maybe in a break between every quarter."

If you play like you practice, then the Giants should be primed for a good showing against the Redskins. Coach Tom Coughlin said the team had a productive week of practice, and Cofield added, "I think everyone is focused. There's a lot of energy and intensity. At this time of year, guys are beat up and it will show more on the practice field…I haven't seen that. Guys have been intensive in the meeting rooms, and they 've showed a high level of energy on the practice field. I think we're prepared."

A year ago at this time, the Giants already had been eliminated from the playoffs, and they failed to show up in a dismal season-ending 44-9 loss at Minnesota. That resulted in the firing of defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, who was replaced by the popular Perry Fewell, whose defense performed at a high level until the past two games.

Describing the atmosphere this week, Cofield said, "It's completely different. We were eliminated last year, and guys were down. We had been to the playoffs several years in a row, so, it was very uncommon for us. It was a different feeling.

"I don't see that at all this year. I think guys are confident, and you feel good about getting to 10 wins. If you get to 10 wins, you know you did some things right. Now, whether we make it to the playoffs or not, that's a whole other scenario we can't control. That's our own fault because we had everything right in our hands. It's not the ideal situation, but if we get our 10th win, we've done everything we can."

As for how speculation about Coughlin's job status might have affected the Giants this week, Cofield said it's not a factor. "We definitely don't take time to talk about the coach's job security," Cofield said. "We're worried about our own jobs and winning on Sunday. We hold ourselves to a very high standard just like our fans do. So, we're going to try to play Giants football and give our fans something to smile about."

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