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Giants looking to bounce back from bitter loss

Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle #26, defensive end

Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle #26, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul #90 and outside linebacker Jacquian Williams #57 of the jump during a pregame huddle before their game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 5, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

The Giants were somber, angry, moody, touchy, focused and intense at various points in the last seven days.

The 27-0 loss to the Eagles defined their week. Now they are out to make sure it doesn't define their season.

"It's this week," safety Antrel Rolle said when questions inevitably tried to reach back in time. "This game. Nothing we did last week was obviously good enough. We lost a game last week. Not the end of the world. We don't need to change anything. We know how to win. Last week is last week."

As the Giants prepare to face the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium Sunday, their challenge is to bury the past and learn from it. To move beyond the humiliation of the Eagles loss and make sure it doesn't happen again.

They lost their focus. They lost the game. They're hoping that it serves as a call to attention rather than the beginning of the end.

"There is a way it can be a positive," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "You get knocked down, so you've got to get back up again. And when I say get back up again, not in the sense that, 'Hey, you've got to dust your pants off, you've got to find that fire, that energy and that cockiness that you may have had.' You've got to step back and say: 'OK, I've got to go back to work, I've got to work even harder, I've got to focus even more.' "

If the Giants can beat the Cowboys -- a difficult task considering they are without their best running back (Rashad Jennings) and best wide receiver (Victor Cruz) and their best cornerback (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) might be limited in both his snaps and his performance -- they will head into their bye week still in the thick of the NFC East race. They'll be one game behind the Cowboys and 11/2 games behind the Eagles, and they have home games against both on the back end of the schedule.

Which is why Tom Coughlin was quick to put the Eagles loss in the past. If the domain hadn't already belonged to the political organization, he probably would have had the team change its website from Giants.com to MoveOn.org.

"Who wants to be called every name in the book and looked at as a second-class citizen? Nobody," Coughlin said. "But getting them going again, believing. In my opinion, when you have an experience like that, you lose some of the team thing that you built. It is games like that, the aftermath of games like that, when you realize how short a week you really have to get a team turned around and ready to go again."

Coughlin said that by the end of this week, he was starting to see signs of the team coming around from the gloom. He peppered his players with positives: The Giants' 4-1 record in Dallas in recent years. The fact that they scored 31 points there in last year's opener (even though they lost and had five turnovers). "Hopefully," he said, "they're back up now."

Just in time to save the season. Again. They pulled out of an 0-2 nosedive to start the schedule. They need to do it again to end the first half.

"Yeah, this is a big one," Eli Manning said. "We're already two games behind in the division, we've dug ourselves into a little hole and this is a huge game for us. We've got to go out there and play well."

Can last week's loss help to motivate the Giants?

"No," Fewell said. "Hell, no."

But Manning said it might. And he seemed to imply that the Giants were a little too high on themselves as they brought a three-game winning streak into the Eagles game. "I think we treat every game and each week like you lost your game and have that focus," he said. "You're usually a little upset, a little ticked off and you want to kind of have that determination, come into the next week like you're not going to let it happen again."

They couldn't manufacture that attitude last week. This week, they didn't have to.

With John Jeansonne

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