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The Giants cannot continue to lose games in their division

JAIME C. HARRIS Special to the AmNews | 10/5/2012, 4:50 p.m.
The Giants cannot continue to lose games in their division

The defeat could be costly but not detrimental. At least not yet. But losing to a division opponent is always a setback that hurts more than others.

The Giants' 19-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the road this past Sunday evening pushed them back to .500 at 2-2. Even more significant, it was their second defeat to an NFC East rival in only four games, having also faltered against the 2-2 Dallas Cowboys to open the season. The Giants host the winless (0-4) Cleveland Browns Sunday at 1 p.m., anxious to put the disappointment in Philly behind them.

The Eagles lead the division at 3-1. The fourth member of the NFC East, the Washington Redskins, are 2-2.

With an opportunity to convert a manageable field goal, wide receiver Ramses Barden was called for offensive pass interference with less than 30 seconds remaining. The 10-yard penalty ultimately pushed the field goal back to 54 yards. The kick was subsequently missed by the Giants' Lawrence Tynes.

"His mind is going up and getting the ball," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said of Barden's infraction. "I don't know what his thought process was. He's trying to make a play. ... So it's a tough call, it's a tough situation; he's got to go make a play on the ball anyway."

One Giant who did make plays was running back and return man David Wilson. And therein rests a dilemma for Coughlin. Wilson, the Giants' first-round draft pick in April from Virginia Tech, is arguably the offense's most explosive player. He displayed his ability as a playmaker by amassing 217 yards on six returns versus the Eagles, including one for 53 yards. Yet because of his penchant for fumbling, as well as his issues with mastering blocking schemes, Wilson been limited to only six attempts and eight yards in the early season, but his proficiency as a returner could be a considerable supplement to the Giants' capacity to score points.

"When you get as close as I did to breaking off some great runs," said Wilson, "it lifts your confidence on doing the job. I do feel like I am going to bring one back really soon."

The Giants also need him to contribute out of the backfield. They currently rank 22nd out of 32 teams in rushing. A season ago they were last in the league on the ground.