The New York Giants are 5-7, a bad record that is good enough for first place in the head-scratchingly inept NFC East.
The Giants -- like their division mates -- are incredibly fortunate to have such uncomely bedmates. But while the Redskins, Eagles and Cowboys have all looked every bit their records this season, the Giants remain the NFC East's morbid curiosity. With some better luck, execution, a basic sense of the moment, New York could be 9-3 and perhaps -- we kid you not -- 10-2.
So what the hell is happening at the Meadowlands? The Giants' season (and Tom Coughlin's job) is in serious jeopardy because of five games where defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. Having one of these types of losses will age a fan base in dog years. Putting your fans through five of them is potential ground for criminal prosecution.
This feels like a good time to look back at the late-game carnage that has transpired:
How they blew it: The Giants had a 23-20 lead and first-and-goal from the Cowboys' 4-yard line with 1:54 to play. Instead of running the ball three times and forcing Dallas to burn both its remaining timeouts, the Giants passed on third down, a senseless throw away by Eli Manning that -- after a Giants field goal made it 26-20 -- left Tony Romo 87 seconds to do his thing.
Wait, that really happened?: Yes.
Which led to: The Falcons took over and marched down the field for a touchdown. After a defensive stop, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan hooked up on a 37-yard reception to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Devonta Freeman with 1:15 to play. Preston Parker dropped a low Eli Manning throw on fourth-and-10 to end it.
Wait, that really happened?: It really did.
How they blew it: Powered by Eli Manning (who threw a career-high six touchdowns) and a Trumaine McBride fumble return for a score, the Giants scored 21 straight points in the second half to wipe out a 42-28 deficit. But Drew Brees' seventh touchdown pass of the game tied the score at 49 with 36 seconds to play.
Which led to: The Giants took over and went three-and-out (a nearly impossible feat in a game that featured a record 13 touchdown passes). On the ensuing punt, Saints return man Marcus Murphy took the ball past the 50 and fumbled. The ball was recovered by Saints wide receiver Willie Snead, who was grabbed by the facemask by Giants punter Brad Wing while being brought to the ground. After the 15-yard penalty was assessed, Kai Forbath hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
Wait, that really happened?: Seriously, how could I even make that up? Science fiction, man.
How they blew it:Josh Brown kicked his fourth field goal of the day to give the Giants a two-point lead with 1:47 to play. After a touchback, Tom Brady served up an apparent game-ending interception to safety Landon Collins, but Collins couldn't hold on to the ball as he crashed to the turf. Incomplete.
Wait, that really happened?: Somehow, yes. Yes it did.
Which led to: Given new life, Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Jets to 10 points in the final 4:24 of regulation, capped by an 9-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall with 27 seconds to play. The Jets won the coin toss in overtime, drove back down the field and kicked a 31-yard field goal to take the lead. The Giants then marched into Jets territory, but Josh Brown pulled a 48-yard attempt, his first miss in 26 tries this season.
Five losses by a combined 12 points, a lead with 1:45 to play in the fourth quarter of every game. I have no idea how Coughlin hasn't been committed yet.
Uh oh ...