PHILADELPHIA - The Giants are in denial. That's the only way to explain it. They see a glass half full when it's almost completely empty. They aren't just bad, they're historically bad, riding the longest losing streak in franchise history.
And yet …
"We're going to get this thing turned around," said receiver Sterling Shepard.
"I feel like we have the right people and the right talent," added linebacker Alec Ogletree.
"We're one of the best organizations in the world," said running back Saquon Barkley.
Just a reminder: After their heartbreaking, 23-17 overtime loss in Philadelphia - the one where they blew a 17-3 halftime lead - the Giants are 2-11 and haven't won since Sept. 29.
And maybe this is the problem - or at least one of the many problems. The Giants have graduated from the Bill Parcells years of "You are what your record says you are" and into an era where they think that "behind the scenes" progress somehow matters. A week ago, Barkley even said the Giants practice like they're 10-2, as if that was supposed to matter to anyone, anywhere at all.
You know who likely doesn't care about that? Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch - especially Mara, who seems to be about as mad as he's been in recent years, which is saying something considering how bad his team has been since 2011. He cares that the Giants have won just seven of their last 29 games, and 10 of their last 45. That's a 10-35 record since the start of the 2017 season. One playoff berth and no playoff wins since Super Bowl XLVI.
So imagine how little he cares when he hears this from Barkley, after he was asked if he thinks the Giants have the potential to become a winning franchise.
"Yes," he said. "Very soon. I know this is a place we can win big. It's the Giants. We're one of the best organizations in the world. When you come to work you can see it. Not just by the players, but the people upstairs, the training staff, the kitchen staff, every staff up there, the way that we're built, the way that we are the way we operate. We have a winning culture inside.
"We just can't do it on Sundays. It makes no sense to me. At all, actually."
Hooray for the kitchen staff and all the other professionals in the organization, but the paying customers only care about what happens on those Sundays. The fact that they can't is why Mara is almost certainly considering firing head coach Pat Shurmur with three years still left on his contract and hiring a fifth coach in the last six seasons.
Just the thought of that has to be nauseating for Mara, who believes strongly in patience and stability in his franchise. Five coaches in six seasons is something the worst franchises in the NFL rarely even do. That's how hard the Giants have smacked into rock bottom.
But desperate times are here and happy talk and believing isn't enough. The Giants can't just clap real loud or click their heels three times to make them into the team they seem to think they should be. Fairy tales don't come true without help.
"I do believe we're going to turn it around," Barkley said. "When it does it's going to be an amazing story. But for that to happen we've got to find a way to win a game."
That last part, of course, is the rub. It has now been 71 days since the Giants last won a game, and nobody's crazy enough to beat heavily on them when they return home to face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday - not the way the Dolphins have been playing over the last six weeks. And the Giants don't seem any closer to figuring out a winning formula.
Even veteran quarterback Eli Manning, who had 12 weeks to sit back and watch this mess after he was benched for rookie Daniel Jones in Week 3, doesn't seem to have any answers.
"It's tough," he said. "It's frustrating, because we work hard and practice hard. We've been in a bunch of close games. For whatever reason, we can't put the game away."
Here's the reason, and there's no way around it: They are a bad football team that thinks it's good. They shouldn't revel in how they practice, because they're obviously not practicing hard enough or well enough. They shouldn't be mesmerized, wondering how they keep losing games when they have so much talent. Instead they should accept that their talent just isn't good enough.
And they should be angry about that, not dumbfounded. They need less happy talk, less talk about their effort, and more of someone throwing a chair through a wall in the locker room. They shouldn't be content or comfortable with anything that's happened in 2019. And they should be worried about their futures too.
Because this is the Giants' reality - the only reality that matters: They are what their record says they are - and the record says they are awful. One of the worst teams, if not the worst, in the NFL.
The sooner the whole franchise accepts that, the better off their future is going to be.