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Giants hoping to avoid their third straight 0-2 start

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin takes

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin takes the field before a game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. Credit: AP / Tony Gutierrez

It's a copycat league, so who can blame Tom Coughlin for taking a page from Bill Belichick's book on crisis control?

"I'm going forward to Atlanta, thank you very much," Coughlin said Wednesday in the face of questions about Sunday night's mental meltdowns in Dallas, echoing Belichick's now famous "We're on to Cincinnati" line from a year ago after the Patriots lost an early game to the Chiefs.

Coughlin said he spoke to the parties involved in the fiasco, from Eli Manning to Rashad Jennings. But he had no desire to discuss those talks publicly.

"We've had those conversations," Coughlin said, "and we're on to Atlanta."

For some, not soon enough.

"This is one of those weeks when you wish you were a baseball player and you had a game the next day," Manning said.

Instead, he and the Giants must wait until Sunday's home opener to truly put the Cowboys behind them.

Asked to assess the morale of the team, Odell Beckham Jr. glanced around the locker room.

"It looks straight to me," he said. "I think we're moving forward. You can't change it. You can't go back to the past. So there's really no point in focusing on it . . . It's not the end of the season, it's one game. Of course you want to win it, but that didn't happen and today is Wednesday and we play Sunday against Atlanta so that's the focus."

That may be the only way for the Giants to cleanse themselves of the Dallas disaster. A win over the Falcons at home would even their record at 1-1 and straighten them out as they head into a short week with Washington looming next Thursday.

The Giants have not shown that ability recently. They've lost their opener in each of the last two seasons, and a loss to the Falcons on Sunday would make it a franchise low three straight 0-2 starts.

Then there are the fans, many of whom have been shaking their heads in disgust since throwing their remote controls late Sunday night. This will be the Giants' home opener, and if things don't go well early there is a good chance that pent-up frustration will boil over and sour the afternoon.

Beckham and others have pointed out the positives to take away from the Cowboys game. The offensive line played well. The cornerbacks played well, and against the Falcons' Julio Jones and Roddy White they'll need to repeat that type of performance. The Giants' defense was opportunistic with three takeaways and a touchdown (it also set up the only TD by the offensive unit after Trumaine McBride returned an interception to the 1-yard line).

The only thing they didn't do, really, was win. And that's what they are now focusing on against the Falcons.

"It's important to get a win," safety Brandon Meriweather said. "Turn it around? I don't know if I would use those words, but I think it's important for us to get a win just like every week is."

It's bad enough now. The Giants don't want to be 0-2 and "on to Washington."

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