EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. >> In a season marked by inconsistency, the New York Giants haven't failed to squander chances to take command of the NFC East.
It's been the constant in what is proving to be a frustrating season for Tom Coughlin, his team and its fans.
Every time the Giants (5-6) have a chance to open daylight, they have come up short.
Two weeks ago against then-undefeated New England Patriots, the Giants lost on a field goal in the waning seconds, costing them a chance to open a 11/2-game lead in the division.
The 20-14 loss to the Redskins in Washington on Sunday was more frustrating.
New York fell behind 20-0, rallied in the final 11 minutes and then couldn't make a play on defense to give the offense a chance to stage a season-changing comeback.
Instead of a two-game lead, the Giants are tied for first place with Washington with five games to play. Washington has the tiebreaker at this point.
It's left many wondering whether this team is going to run out of chances or if they really want to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
"Of course, we want to make the playoffs and we're fighting our tails off and trying to do it," quarterback Eli Manning said Monday. "We didn't have our best performance yesterday, that's disappointing, and I wish we played better."
The Giants were their own worst enemy. Manning threw three interceptions, with the first happening on the opening series when running back Shane Vereen had an easy pass bounce off his hands.
The second came on a deflected pass that should not have been thrown and the third was a combination of a bad pass by Manning and a poor route by receiver Rueben Randle in the end zone early in the second half.
Coughlin had no explanation for why the Giants have not played better with so much at stake.
In fact, he said he was optimistic after the Giants held Washington without a point after turning the ball over on their first two possessions.
Cornerback Prince Amukamara said the Giants didn't seem very hungry in the first half.
"I seriously can't speak for everybody, but all I know is we fought in the second half and the first half we were just disgusted with how we played," he said.
The Giants have three of their final five games at home, starting this weekend with the rival Jets at MetLife Stadium. They are at Miami the following weekend and finish with games against the Panthers at home, the Vikings on the road and the Eagles at home.
"I think we're well aware that inconsistency is our biggest problem," Amukamara said. "We're definitely trying to fix that, because, you're right, I feel like when we're on, we're on and when we're off, we're off, so we just have to be consistent with that light switch."
Amukamara said the Giants are not discouraged.
"We're excited that we have another game this week to go out and prove ourselves and we feel like our goal, which is winning the NFC East, is still achievable," he said. "Guys just have to be excited about that."
It starts with the Jets on Sunday.
"Not just because it's Giants versus Jets and both teams share a stadium in the same city and everything, but it's important because of what it means for our playoff hunt. It'll be a great test for us," Manning said.
NOTES: G Geoff Schwartz is going to be placed on injured reserve after breaking his lower left leg in the game. ... Coughlin said rookie guard Bobby Hart played OK in his first serious action this season. ... Coughlin hopes that either C Weston Richburg (ankle) or G Justin Pugh (concussion) will be able to play this weekend. ... CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injured an ankle in the game, but returned to action. ... Manning had no problem targeting Odell Beckham Jr. 18 times. He just wanted more than nine completions (142 yards and a touchdown).