EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Antrel Rolle is a 10-year veteran and a team captain, but even he isn't certain what the Giants will deliver from one week to the next.
"There's times where I've felt like we can play as good as any team in this league," Rolle said. "And there's times where I think we can play as bad as any team in this league."
The Giants covered that spectrum in the first half of the season. They lost their first two games, won their next three and have now dropped three in a row, the most recent a 40-24 decision Monday night to the Indianapolis Colts, a game in which they trailed by 30 points early in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Rolle was asked if he is worried about the team and where it's headed.
"We're 3-5," Rolle said. "There's a lot to be worried about. We're not winning the games. When we're out there on the field as players … not to disrespect any team, not to take any credit away from any team, because the teams that win deserve to win. That's how the game unfolds. I feel like we could do so much different. This game is about attitude. It's 2014. You have to have a lot of passion about this game and you have to want it. No team is gonna give you anything in this league and right now we're not taking it. We're not taking it. We're not capitalizing on opportunities. We have to fight harder. We have to get dirty. We have to get nasty sometimes in this game."
It gets no easier for the Giants, who this week will travel to Seattle to face the defending Super Bowl Seahawks.
The Giants are without their best wide receiver (Victor Cruz, out for the season after surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon), best running back (Rashad Jennings has missed the last three games with a knee injury), plus three players who are arguably the finest the team has at their position groups: linebacker Jon Beason (toe, out for the season), guard Geoff Schwartz (toe, has not played this season) and now cornerback Prince Amukamara, who suffered a season-ending torn biceps injury vs. the Colts.
"We obviously have Seattle staring us right in the face and a very short week to get ready," said coach Tom Coughlin. "We have got to get going."
The Giants have a half a season to play and are resolute in their belief that they will become factors in the NFC playoff race, despite the injuries. Coughlin has grown weary of the weekly question about whether the Giants have enough talent to compete against a team like the Colts, which has the league's top-ranked offense.
"I responded the way I'm going to respond and am always going to respond: We have enough talent," he said. "We do have to play at the top of our game."
They have not in their last three outings. Last night the offense had trouble running the ball and the receivers dropped four or five passes. Eli Manning did not throw an interception for the fourth consecutive game, a career-high, but lost a fumble that Indianapolis turned into a touchdown.
The defensive players also had trouble holding onto the ball as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Amukamara and Rolle all dropped potential interceptions, and the Giants recovered none of the Colts' three fumbles.
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If the Giants are going to halt their slide and re-enter the NFC race, they must believe they can play better than they have – and then go out and do it.
"We've got to keep fighting," Manning said. "We've got to find a way to be better offensively, to find a rhythm. We're just not helping ourselves. We're making it tough on ourselves. We've got to find a way to move the ball more efficiently as an offense. I've got to play better, I've got to hit my targets and have a great control of the offense with protections and getting into better plays and doing some things. All around, we've got some moving parts and some different guys playing, it's my job to play better and to raise my level of play and raise their level of play."
"Whatever the reason is, we're not winning games," Rolle said. "That's the only thing that matters. Whether it's fight or not enough fight. Whether it's lack of execution. Whatever it may be, we have to figure it out. We have to get it right, otherwise we'll just keep digging ourselves a hole. Like I said, this is a game where the strongest team will survive. The team that fights for 60 minutes strong, no matter how the game is going, is gonna be the team to win the game. We've got to do a much better job out there."