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December 16, 2012 8:11 PM

Third-place Giants still control their destiny

BY Ralph Vacchiano

The defending Super Bowl champions are now in third place in the NFC East.

But they still control their playoff destiny.

That's the bizarre reality the Giants are left with after their humiliating, 34-0 loss in Atlanta on Sunday. The Giants (8-6) are technically in a first-place tie with the Washington Redskins (8-6) and Dallas Cowboys (8-6), but they slip to third based on the tie-breaker, which since they split the season series against both those teams, is record in the division.

Right now the Redskins are 3-1 in the NFC East. The Cowboys are 3-2. The Giants are 2-3.

However, despite all that, the Giants are in pretty good playoff position, thanks to their 7-4 record in NFC games. That gives them a tie-breaker advantage over the Vikings and the Bears, two 8-6 teams in the fight for the second and final wild-card spot. It also helps that the Cowboys and Redskins play each other in Week 17, meaning both of them can't get to 10 wins.

So if the Giants do get to 10, they'll finish at least in second place in the division and get the sixth -- or maybe even the fifth -- seed in the NFC.

Confused? Don't be. Just remember this: It's win and in for the Giants, which is what Tom Coughlin has been saying all along.