If there's any team in the NFL that deserves the benefit of the doubt, it's the New York Giants.
This was a group left for dead last December, only to raise the Lombardi Trophy in February. There's a healthy amount of rope that comes with an achievement like that.
Still, let's not sugarcoat how poorly this month has started for Tom Coughlin's team. An inability to close out the Pittsburgh Steelers last week was frustrating. Sunday's whooping by the Cincinnati Bengals was alarming.
"I told the team that we certainly got into this mess together and we've got to find a way to get out of it together," Coughlin said Sunday, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
The mysterious struggles of Eli Manning is probably the biggest factor behind the Giants' slump. Manning said Monday he'll use part of the Giants' bye week to detach from football and refresh himself. He won't throw until next Monday, according to ESPNNewYork.com.
Coughlin said Monday he saw improvement from his quarterback against the Bengals.
"I think yesterday there were signs that he's improving, he's getting back on track," Coughlin said. "There were some signs there that were good yesterday. We've just got to build on them. ... I thought he threw the ball better. Many times yesterday he zinged it in there. He had the ball down the seam to Victor (Cruz) that should've been a touchdown."
At 6-4, the Giants still have a one-game lead in the loss column over the Dallas Cowboys. From a talent and coaching standpoint, the Giants are still the best team in the NFC East. They'll use their bye to try to figure out how to play like it.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.