The door leading to the playoffs remains open for the Giants (40063)

Looking back, there was a feeling of both accomplishment and disappointment permeating the Giants’ locker room after their hard-fought 38-35 loss to the Green Bay Packers. It took a 31-yard field goal by the Packers’ Mason Crosby as time expired to finally end the Giants’ belief that they were going to come away victorious.

Their admirable performance against a team that is 12-0, chasing perfection and on a quest for a second straight Super Bowl title reassured the Giants that they are capable of beating anyone. Yet, a more tangible reality is that the defeat, the Giants’ fourth in a row, dropped them to 6-6, significantly decreasing the probability that they will make the playoffs.

Looking ahead, the Giants have four games remaining. Beginning this Sunday against the 7-5 Dallas Cowboys on the road, the team they must beat out in the NFC East division to make it to the postseason. The Washington Redskins at home, the Jets and the Cowboys again in New Jersey will follow.

The Giants are at place in which they almost certainly have to win both meetings with the Cowboys and take care of the Redskins to solidify their chances of securing the advantage over the Cowboys in the event they end the regular season with identical records.

If the Giants play with the same intensity and purpose the rest of the way as they did against Green Bay, then they have a good chance of meeting their goal. “Hopefully we can take some momentum from the game,” said Giants quarterback Eli Manning. “A lot of good things-a great fight, great determination, coming back from being down at times and fighting back and tying up the game-those are the things you like to see.

“I thought there was great energy, great enthusiasm and great confidence throughout the whole game. We have to make sure we take those things into practice this week and into the game next week.”

The characteristics Manning spoke of were nonexistent the previous two weeks, when the Giants lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 17-10 at home and then put up a pitiful effort in getting blown out 49-24 against the Saints in New Orleans.

“We are headed up,” said safety Antrel Rolle. “We are going to fight extremely tough. We are going to make it to the postseason.”

That remains to seen.