The damage has already been done. The immediate mission for the Giants is to prevent further damage to their playoff aspirations.

The devastating 38-31 defeat suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Meadowlands last Sunday will not be forgotten. It will be difficult to reconcile losing a 31-10 lead in the final seven minutes and 28 seconds.

But the Giants cannot allow any lingering thoughts to master their psyche while getting ready for this Sunday’s meeting with the Green Bay Packers on the road.

“I think you just get back to work,” said Giants QB Eli Manning on Monday when asked how he and his teammates will shake off the emotional sting. Hours earlier, Manning requested a players only meeting for the first time as a pro.

“I think you just man up for mistakes and you take responsibility,” he maintained. “We have good players, and we have to make sure we keep that mindset in our preparation and everything going on to make sure we stay at our best.”

The what ifs and whys have been ceaselessly discussed and contemplated since the Eagles multi-talented wide receiver DeSean Jackson crossed the Giants’ goal line as time expired in the fourth quarter. It culminated a 65-yard punt return that incinerated all hopes the Giants held of winning the NFC East title.

The day ended with the Eagles going back to Philly 10-4, leading the division by one game over the 9-5 Giants with two more to play for each team. But the Eagles are 2-0 against the Giants this season and have a 4-1 record in the division in contrast to the Giants’ 2-3 mark.

The Eagles must finish the regular season with two losses and the Giants two wins for the latter to steal the division crown. But smart money says that won’t happen. The Eagles will finish the regular season with home games versus the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys while the Giants home schedule is done. They will face the Redskins in Washington following the Packers.

The Giants have proven to be resilient this season. They will step onto the field in Green Bay fifth in the conference, which means they have a playoff spot for now. But the loss to the Eagles should serve as a harsh reminder that nothing in life, or the NFL is guaranteed.