EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The door to the New York Giants' locker room had no sooner opened than visitors got the feeling they were walking into a party.
Players on one side of the room were letting loose with uncontrollable laughter, halfback Derrick Ward apparently the target.
Even quarterback Eli Manning had to stifle a chuckle at the start of his interview Monday before answering questions.
Two weeks into the season, life is good for the Super Bowl champions. Coming off a 41-13 win over the St. Louis Rams, they are 2-0 and getting contributions from everyone.
The defense that was expected to struggle with the retirement of Michael Strahan and the season-ending knee injury to Osi Umenyiora has been outstanding. It has given up 20 points in two games, and it got a spectacular interception return for a touchdown on Sunday from defensive end Justin Tuck, the guy who replaced Strahan.
w that, and so it is fun to come in here. Good spirits for everybody. So we know what it takes to have these good Mondays is winning on Sunday.''
The atmosphere almost makes it easy to forget that exactly a year ago there was nothing but doom and gloom with the Giants.
Remember, they lost their first two games and allowed 80 points under then-new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The start was their worst in 11 years, and no one expected coach Tom Coughlin to survive the season, knowing he had come into the year on a short leash after an 8-8 record that somehow still got New York a playoff spot.
``We're a little more loose,'' Tuck said in comparing this year to last. ``Other than that, there isn't too much different. Our confidence is still the same. Even being 0-2, we knew we were a better football team than that. Right now, guys are having fun. You are seeing smiles in the locker room. There are no burdens on people's shoulders and it is allowing us to play loose. It's a lot of fun right now.''
One thing that has not changed is the Giants' focus. A win was forgotten almost as quickly as a loss.
Guard Rich Seubert laughed as much as anybody on Monday, but he had his game face on when asked about playing the winless Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
about the game we were playing. Being 2-0, we're don't care what happened last week. We're worried about this week.''
Although happy, defensive tackle Barry Cofield said no one is satisfied.
``Just as fast as things turned around last year, they can turn around this year for the worse,'' Cofield said. ``We are excited about the way we are playing, every facet. Maybe we want to get the penalties down, but other than that we are excited.''
It was not surprising that Manning provided the reality check, noting there are still 14 games left in the regular season.
``We still have things we need to improve on,'' he said. ``This week we have to get better. As good as we played at times yesterday, we still had some mistakes and things we have to fix. If you are in a tighter game or in a different situation, those can cost you. So we have to work on those things.''
The two most glaring weaknesses on Sunday were the kickoff return game, which averaged 23.3 yards, and the penalties, seven for 69 yards.
The other issue that makes Sunday's game important is that it is New York's final game before a bye week.
``We don't want to head into a bye after a loss,'' said defensive tackle Fred Robbins, who had two of New York's six sacks on Sunday.
That would make for a very quite Monday next week.
and is getting closer to being ready. It might be hard for Coughlin to replace John Carney as the kicker now, since he has made all five of his field goal attempts. ... Rookie CB Terrell Thomas (hamstring) will take part in individual drills this week. He has been inactive for the first two games.

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