The Chicago Bears kept their playoff hopes alive with a narrow win over the Detroit Lions, knocking the Giants out of playoff contention in the process. A 9-7 record gave the Giants the NFC East title and led to a Super Bowl victory last February. That same 9-7 record leaves coach Tom Coughlin's team on the outside looking in this time.
"The difficult thing when we go back and analyze will be the fact that we had it in our grasp, we knew exactly what we had to do, we weren't able to get that done," Coughlin said. "We came in today and played like we hoped we'd finish the season. And I'm sure that will be first and foremost on our minds throughout the entire offseason."
This season was lost in the previous two Sundays. The Giants were 8-5 and sitting atop the NFC East before back-to-back losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens in which they were outscored 67-14. The Giants went flat at the worst time, and it cost them a shot to defend their Super Bowl title.
"I really do want to discuss with some of the players what in the world was the last two weeks all about," Coughlin said. "I'm anxious to find out if anybody has any opinions or answers."
Coughlin clearly still is stinging from those losses, and how could he not be? His team wasted the benefits that come with a 6-2 start and ended up putting its fate in someone else's hands.
The Giants easily are the best team that won't be playing January football. There's little solace in that.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.