Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
HC Tom Coughlin's team lost its seventh game of the season.
Seven might as well mean heaven, because with seven losses, the Giants' playoff hopes are all but dead. The ascension has clearly ended after four consecutive wins, as New York's devastating loss to the Cowboys sets the once-rising team up for free fall.
Sure, they made the playoffs with a 9-7 record in their 2011 Super Bowl season, but rattling off five straight victories seems even less likely than the four improbable ones they claimed in the weeks leading up to the Dallas loss. The Cowboys brought the Giants back down to Earth, tapping their divisional foes on the shoulder and reminding them that they just aren't very good.
The four-game winning streak had the Giants thinking, "Ugly is the new good," according to former Super Bowl-winning linebacker linebacker Carl Banks, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. But against the Cowboys, ugly was just the same old ugly, as familiar problems prevented New York from winning for the seventh time this season.
Even during their successful stretch, the Giants still hadn't played their best game of ball; they certainly didn't do so versus the Cowboys.
With a 4-7 record, the Giants' hopes of claiming a divisional title outright have been all but shattered. And now, at 1-3 in the division, New York's shot at winning in it via tiebreaker is quickly dissipating.
There are five games still to be played for each of the NFC East's four squads. However, with a two-game buffer separating the Giants from both the Cowboys and Eagles, New York can only hope for both teams to collapse down the stretch.
That scenario is unlikely since the Cowboys and Eagles still have to face each other in the final week of the season. Since they both can't lose that game and a tie—like the one we saw between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers on Sunday—is highly unlikely, there's a good chance one team wins the game and, in turn, the NFC East crown.
If that's the case, it'll be the third consecutive Week 17 "play-in" game in which the winner earns a trip to the postseason. The Cowboys have been losers of the past two, falling to the Giants in 2011 and the Washington Redskins in 2012.
The Giants were able to rally some hope thanks to a string of opportunistic victories, but the Cowboys have since crushed it.
(Un)lucky No. 7.