Coughlin and the personnel department consciously assembled as much talent up front as possible to fit the defensive scheme he wants to employ. The result: The Giants have the best ability to attack the quarterback with a four-man defensive line as any team in the NFL.
"It's a style and a way in which we prefer to play. It's a position that we place a whole lot of stock in," Coughlin said. "If you can do it with four rather than the rest, then you can cover."
And they've got confidence in their ability, too, which stems from Super Bowl XLII and carried over into their Week 9 victory against the Patriots this season. Defensive linemen like Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka and Chris Canty believe they can rattle quarterback Tom Brady like no one else.
"I feel like we're the only team that really puts pressure on them," Pierre-Paul said. "We've just got to go out there and give it to them again, even at a higher notch."
Coughlin's defensive philosophy is perfect for lining up against an offense like New England's. With quick pressure from a four-man front, the seven linebackers and defensive backs don't have to be as wary of double moves from the receivers. It also keeps Brady and his receivers from staying in sync with their read routes.
"Honestly, I'll say the responsibility we've got all starts up front, and the game is going to be won out of the front four," Pierre-Paul said. "We've got to get to Tom Brady and put pressure on him and give our defensive secondary a little more [opportunity] to cover. The game is going to be won up front. That's all I can really say."
It all goes back to Coughlin's thought process. And because he puts that level of responsibility on his front four, they've accepted the challenge and want to prove him right.
"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves because we know we've been given a lot of responsibility," Kiwanuka said. "It's just fun. It's the job that we have. We have a lot of guys that can rotate in and get to the quarterback. But we have a great secondary. I think that gets overlooked a lot. They give us a lot of time to get to the quarterback. Within that D-line room, we all expect to get [to the quarterback] first, and that's what we try to do."