The word ringing through the ears of the Giants all season was a reminder of what they could not do last season: Finish.
There were so many times when it appeared as if the Giants were incapable of finishing. Last night, though, they finally cashed in on the marching orders presented to them by Tom Coughlin, the head coach who will be back at the helm again in 2012.
“We finished the game the way we wanted to finish it,’’ Coughlin said. “We finished the regular season the way we wanted to finish it.’
Faced with a regular-season-ending win-and-in, lose-and-out game against the rival Cowboys, the Giants started with a fury, withstood some tense moments and finished off the ’Boys with a flourish in a 31-14 victory before a roaring, towel-waving crowd of 81,077 at MetLife Stadium.
“The last couple of weeks, it’s basically been win or go home,’’ general manager Jerry Reese said. “You can call it the playoffs if you want to. Now it’s the real playoffs. We’re raring to go.’’
The record may be a modest 9-7, but as the NFC East champions the Giants get to stay home for the start of the playoffs and will face the wild-card Falcons (10-6) on Sunday at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium. Judging from the way the Giants blasted the Jets last week and flicked away the Cowboys, there’s a growing feeling now that they’re in, the Giants just might stay awhile.
“I think we’re in the perfect position,’’ linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. “We didn’t get here the way that we wanted to, but regardless of what has happened during the season we’re in the playoffs, we won our division and we have a chance at the Super Bowl. Once you’re in, the slate’s wiped clean and this team is ready to play.’’
The Giants were certainly ready to play against the Cowboys, who head back to Dallas done at 8-8.