Giants rallying around coach with Redskins looming
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
The New York Giants want to go all out to make a final positive impression in case coach Tom Coughlin’s job is insecure — which it almost certainly is not. How the Washington Redskins respond to Mike Shanahan’s potentially final day as coach is more uncertain.
New York was awful and seemingly disinterested two weeks ago in a home loss to Seattle. But the Giants responded nicely in winning at Detroit to knock the Lions from postseason contention. Many Giants cited their respect for Coughlin, who has won two Super Bowls with them but also has had non-playoff finishes in five seasons at the helm.
“I’m looking ahead,” defensive leader Justin Tuck said. “Anytime you go into a season like this, you always take time out at the end of the year to go over the goods, the bads and the ugly. I’m looking forward to getting back to the top of the heap.
“You have to shift your focus to thinking about what next year can be because, obviously, this year is kind of a lost cause. Again, we’ve got one more game to go, and we’re going to go out there and play it just as if we were a playoff team and needed the win.”
Even if the Redskins (No. 31, AP Pro32) can beat the Giants (No. 24, AP Pro32), who are favored by 3½ points at the Meadowlands, it figures to mean little for Shanahan. Given Washington’s collapse from division champion to 3-12, criticism of the coach’s handling of quarterback Robert Griffin III, and the fact Shanahan is 24-40 in charge in D.C., well, not even a rout of the Giants might matter.
“We’ve got a very mature football team and guys are taking care of business the last couple of weeks,” says Shanahan, whose team has dropped seven in a row. “It’s no different. I like the way they handle themselves. I like the way they prepare. This week will be no different.”
As far as the Redskins losing again, Shanahan is correct.
BEST BET: GIANTS, 24-16
No. 3 San Francisco (plus 3) at No. 10 Arizona
Niners still thinking they can steal NFC West.
UPSET SPECIAL: 49ers, 20-19
No. 19 St. Louis (plus 10½)
at No. 1 Seattle
But Seahawks hold on in NFL’s best division.
No. 11 Philly (minus 7)
at No. 16 Dallas
Wherefore art thou, Romo? Not in the playoffs.
No. 21 N.Y. Jets (plus 6½)
at No. 15 Miami
Dolphins grab the final AFC wild-card spot.
No. 13 Baltimore (plus 6)
at No. 6 Cincinnati
Defending champions don’t even get to postseason.
No. 4 Carolina (minus 8)
at No. 25 Atlanta
From also-ran in 2012 to first-round bye and division crown for …
No. 26 Tam. Bay (+ 12½) at No. 9 New Orleans
Saints don’t lose at home, where they won’t get to stay in playoffs.
No. 22 Buffalo (plus 9½)
at No. 5 New England
How did Brady and Belichick get these Patriots to 12 wins?
No. 7 Kansas City (+ 9½)
at No. 12 San Diego
Chargers’ late run falls short, Chiefs gear up for postseason.
No. 2 Denver (-12½)
at No. 30 Oakland
Peyton will settle for 55 TD passes or so. No, not in this game, but for season.
No. 28 Cleveland (plus 7)
at No. 18 Pittsburgh
A .500 record means something after 0-4 start for …
No. 29 J-ville (+11½)
at No. 8 Indianapolis
After November malaise, Colts seem ready to impress in playoffs.
No. 32 Houston (plus 7)
at No. 23 Tennessee
Texans won their first two, will finish with 14 losses and top overall draft pick.
No. 20 Detroit (plus 3)
at No. 27 Minnesota
Both coaches might be on the way out.
No. 17 Green Bay (OFF)
at No. 14 Chicago
Aaron Rodgers’ shoulder injury most impactful of season for anyone.
Against spread: 12-3 (104-116-7). Straight up: 9-7 (142-95-1).
Best Bet: 7-9 against spread, 13-3 straight up.
Upset special: 6-10 against spread, 3-13 straight up.
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