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Victor Cruz: New York Giants best backed against wall

Victor Cruz said this is right where the New York Giants want to be -- in a tight race for their playoff lives. Forget the strategy of rolling through the regular season and getting that first-round bye. The Giants prefer the grimy way.

Statement Sunday

Christmas comes early for NFL fans. There are six Week 15 games with major postseason implications. Take a closer look at these pivotal matchups:

» Giants at Falcons
» Broncos at Ravens
» Packers at Bears
» Colts at Texans
» Steelers at Cowboys
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"We have a group of guys that never want to back down," Cruz said on "NFL AM" on Friday. "I think it takes us to be backed up against the wall in order for our best to come out.

"I know it's unfortunate. I know coach (Tom) Coughlin doesn't like it very much. But it's something that we've been accustomed to doing, and I think it's going to hold true this year as well."

The Giants had to win their final two games to sneak into the 2011 playoffs with a 9-7 record. Those two victories began the run to Indianapolis and a Super Bowl victory. The Giants currently hold a one-game lead over the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys with a 8-5 record in the NFC East. The Giants could win the division or miss the playoffs entirely.

"Every year at this time, people count us out, nobody picks us and then we go on this tremendous run to win the Super Bowl," Cruz said. "We're right where we want to be. Nobody's talking about us, and we want to continue to keep this trend going of the last year.

"Win these last couple games, head into the playoffs with some momentum, and everybody knows what we do when we get that momentum. I think we like it just the way it is right now.

"It's pretty similar. I think guys understand we control our own destiny just like we did last year. All we have to do is win these ballgames."

Some teams just aren't front-runners. They play better with less attention. The 2010 Green Bay Packers were like that. The 2011 Giants certainly were. Cruz and Co. hope that's the case again in 2012.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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