Quarterback Eli Manning and Coach Tom Coughlin will try to reverse the Giants'… (Julio Cortez / Associated…)
There's something about the second half and New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin that don't work out well.
His teams have squandered playoff position the last two seasons, and have finished with a worse second-half mark than in the first half in all of Coughlin's seven seasons.
After starting 6-2 and leading the NFC East, the Giants have lost narrowly at San Francisco and against division rival Philadelphia.
Monday night, the Giants visit NFC South leader New Orleans and quarterback Drew Brees.
"The opponent does have outstanding players," Coughlin told reporters. "Those outstanding players will test you and in order to win, you have to come out on the plus side of those matchups … it will be a game-to-game situation."
Coughlin chided New York reporters for bringing up the Giants' knack for slumping as the calendar turns to winter, projecting another downfall with the Dallas Cowboys closing in.
"I know that this is something fanatically involved with all of you, but each team is a new team and each year is a new year," Coughlin said.
The Saints (7-3) are 4-0 at home, and Brees is one of those "outstanding players" Coughlin was referring to, throwing for an NFL-best 3,326 yards with 23 touchdowns.
Tight end Jimmy Graham has 62 catches and six touchdowns.
Not only does Coughlin have to get an inspired performance by pass rushers Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora to disrupt Brees, he is forced to compensate for the loss of running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and left tackle Will Beatty (detached retina surgery).
Coughlin probably will use David Diehl to protect quarterback Eli Manning's blind side.
Manning, who returns to where he was reared, has 2,952 yards passing and 18 touchdowns.
Coughlin noted that the Giants had the chance to tie the 49ers and Eagles with the ball inside and near the red zone in each of the two losses.
"We had many games prior to that where we did [convert]," Coughlin told reporters. "Those are issues that we do have to be more consistent."