The Redskins aim to avoid a second straight loss to Eli Manning and the Giants. (Associated Press)

The Redskins on Monday get a second crack at the New York Giants, and enter the game with the belief that they should have been going for the sweep of the defending Super Bowl champs.

In their first meeting of the season, six weeks ago, the Redskins led the Giants 23-20 with 90 seconds left, but then surrendered a 77-yard touchdown from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz.

Washington had a final shot at a game-winning drive, but turned the ball over on a fumble from Santana Moss and lost, 27-23.

The breakdown on defense drew the most attention, but Washington’s offense also didn’t have its finest outing, as the last-minute fumble was one of four turnovers on the day.

“We were supposed to win that game,” Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen said. “That’s the way the chips fall. It’s a game of inches in the NFL, man. The good thing is we have another opportunity, and we’re still right in the mix. … It stings, but it’s nothing we can worry about right now. We’re just worried about playing the Giants this time around.”

At 5-6, the Redskins enter Monday’s game seeking to maintain second place in the NFC East, and remain in the mix for a wildcard berth. Some of the players are using the last loss to the Giants both as motivation and confirmation that they are better than their record suggests.

“You do both. You go back and watch the tape and you feel good about what you’re putting out there,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “Snap for snap, you evaluate and grade yourself. You feel like you did some things well and appreciate that, but at the same time, you look back and think, ‘What if?’ The only way to erase that is by winning this week, and that’s the plan.”

However, cornerback Josh Wilson — who, along with safety Madieu Williams, was in double coverage on Cruz on that winning play — isn’t allowing himself to wonder, ‘What if?’

“If we held on every game, we’d be undefeated. Know what I mean?” Wilson said. “If ‘if’ was a fifth, we’d all be drunk. If we don’t hold on last game [against Dallas], we’d be nowhere near first place. It is what it is, and we accept where we are right now.

“As long as we, mathematically, have a chance to make it, win this division or make the playoffs, I’m always going to play hard,” Wilson added. “Even if we don’t have a chance, I’m going to play hard.”