Will Giants continue to slump as calendar turns to winter?

There is something about the second half and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin that does not work out well.

His teams have squandered playoff position the last two seasons, and they 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.

Tonight, 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.

Not only does Coughlin have to get an inspired performance by pass rushers Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, but he also has to compensate for the loss of running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and left tackle Will Beatty (eye surgery).

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