Football season is right around the corner. When I asked on Twitter what people’s record predictions were, I received votes from 8-8 to 13-3. How difficult, or easy, is the Giants schedule? My thoughts and breakdown of each game:
Week 1: Giants at Dallas Cowboys, Sun 9/10, 8:30 PM
Ah, the NFL, where it’s pretty obvious by now they care more about ratings than they do creativity. For the fifth time in the past six seasons, the Giants will open up the season playing the division rival Cowboys in Week 1. Out of the five games, it is also the fourth consecutive opener that will be played in Dallas. It also always seems as if these two teams start the season as the Sunday Night game (again, ratings much?). So, sticking to tradition, Week 1’s showdown will be played in primetime. The game is very intriguing though; can the Giants rebound from five straight losses to the Cowboys to win their fourth straight against the ‘Boys? Since Dwayne Harris returned a kickoff for the winning score in 2015, it seems as if the switch has flipped in the rivalry. If Dak and Zeke aren’t able to figure out the Giants on defense, then they’ll potentially be in for a long night once again. However, Elliott status may be in doubt anyway following an offseason with numerous incidents which could lead to suspension. The Cowboys current secondary is promising for a potential breakout game for Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, and Brandon Marshall early in the season. This is a game the Giants can win, and I’d expect them to win. Also, this is one of the games I’m most looking forward to. All offseason I’ve argued with Dallas fans about who will be the heavyweight of the East. The Giants swept ‘em in 2016 and will be looking for more W’s right out the gate of the 2017 season. It is a great opportunity to make an early statement.
Week 2: Giants vs Detroit Lions, Mon 9/18, 8:30 PM
And just like that, the Giants are back under the lights in a Monday Night showdown with the Detroit Lions. The Giants will be making their 2017 home-debut against Detroit, after just playing them at MetLife in Week 15 of last season. Eli had a solid game with 201 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, we all remember Odell Beckham Jr’s terrific one-handed catch to seal the victory for Big Blue.
It was a defensive battle, as many games were late in the season for the Giants. I expect there to be more offensive firepower from NYG early in the season, which leads me to the defense; can New York’s defense make a statement early on? 2016 presented a slow start statistically to the D until they found their groove around midseason. Playing under the lights at home, where the Giants were 7-1 last year, will be a good early test against a team looking to once again make a playoff run.
Week 3: Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, Sun 9/24, 1:00 PM
Ugh, Giants AT Philadelphia. There haven’t been any good memories made in Philly for the Giants in a long time. New York has lost three in a row at Philly, with the last win coming in 2013 in a game where the Giants kicked five field goals to win 15-7. The Eagles have actually won five of the last six games against the Giants; hopefully the Giants can start going on winning streaks against both the Cowboys and Eagles. But I don’t feel good about this game just because of it being in Philly. This could easily be a loss for the Giants, which may make a hopeful 2-0 start be even more meaningful. It is a 1:00 game, though, maybe meaning Philly won’t be wearing their all black unis, which always seem to bring bad luck to the Giants.
Week 4: Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sun 10/1, 4:05 PM
As I’m writing this I’m just now realizing the Giants open up the season three out of four games on the road. They end the season playing three of four at home. The Giants have won five in a row against Tampa, including the 2007 postseason victory, and have won most in rather convincing style. Jameis Winston is a star on the rise, the Bucs have a good, underrated defense, and… old friend DeSean Jackson is now with Tampa, as their offense is emerging as a potential powerhouse. This has all the makings to be a great football game. Tampa Bay surely wants to prove last year was no fluke, as they just barely missed out on the playoffs. A 4:00 game on a Sunday, against a playoff team, is the perfect opportunity for them to do just that.
Week 5: Giants vs Los Angeles Chargers, Sun 10/8, 1:00 PM
It’s a shame the Giants will be playing at MetLife instead of traveling to beautiful San Dieg-… oh right, they’re Los Angeles now. The Chargers management has had some embarrassing moments in the past few months, and it would be embarrassing for the Giants to lose this game. To be fair, the Chargers faced many close losses last year and are probably much better than what their record says. But at home after facing four arguably great opponents to start the season, this is a game the Giants can’t afford to lose. It’ll be fun to watch Eli Manning and Philip Rivers duke it out for possibly the last time.
Week 6: Giants at Denver Broncos, Sun 10/15, 8:30 PM
Back under the lights the Giants go, as they travel out west to Mile High. I’d say the most intriguing question coming into this game will be Denver’s defense; New York’s defense is expected to return to being one of the best, while Denver is a defense hoping to return to championship form. They still had an incredible 2016 season, ranking fourth in the league when it comes to defense, but their 2015 defense is considered to be one of the best to ever do it. With all this defensive talk, maybe the game will come down to Eli Manning vs whatever young quarterback will be playing for Denver, likely being Trevor Siemian. I’ll be honest, I’m a little disappointed we won’t be seeing Tony Romo out there on the field to face off against Eli one last time.
Week 7: Giants vs Seattle Seahawks, Sun 10/22, 4:25 PM
As much as I hate playing in Philadelphia, I also hate playing in Seattle. It always seems like the Giants struggle in Seattle, as they’ve lost four of the past five at CenturyLink Field dating all the way back to 1995. But, this one will be played at MetLife, where the Giants have won five of their past seven against the Seahawks, dating back to 1989. However, those two losses have come each of the past two times Seattle has come to New Jersey, making the other victories pretty irrelevant. The Giants have back-to-back matchups with gritty defenses, both surely presenting a test to the offensive line which will be crucial against such opponents.
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Giants vs Los Angeles Rams, Sun 11/5, 1:00 PM
I’m calling it right now: Odell Beckham Jr will take a pass on a slant 80 yards for a touchdown in this game. He will most likely make plenty of those plays in his 2017 campaign, and a November home game against a questionable secondary has the look of being a good fantasy football outcome for Giants receivers. Also, coming off the bye, this is a game the Giants cannot afford to lose. Hey, we’re not playing in London, but could we see another “London” Collins pick-6 against the Rams?
Week 10: Giants at San Francisco 49ers, Sun 11/12, 4:25 PM
Is Kirk Cousins in San Fran yet? I guess not. A 2-14 team that has improved just slightly and has Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as its quarterbacks is a team that would be an absolute embarrassment to lose to, especially at the point of the season when playoff pictures will start coming into form and division races will be heating up.
Week 11: Giants vs Kansas City Chiefs, Sun 11/19, 1:00 PM
This is an interesting one. The Chiefs have been a team that has flat out dominated in the regular season the past few years but have not been able to take that extra step in the playoffs. Arrowhead is up at the top of the hardest stadiums to play in, and the Giants were rocked last time they played there: they suffered a 31-7 loss to the Chiefs in 2013. But a positive for the Giants on this one is that the game will be played at MetLife. Kansas City has consistently found themselves in the top-10 of the league’s teams, with a defense that ranks as one of the best. They force turnovers, and a lot of them, presenting a challenging test to Eli Manning. This will be a tough game for the Giants; if they don’t play solid football, chances are things could get ugly quickly. But, that’s also why they don’t play games in July, we’ll just have to see how the season pans out leading up to this game.
Week 12: Giants at Washington Redskins, 11/23, 8:30 PM (Thanksgiving Night)
Oh boy. Giants vs Redskins, Thanksgiving night. It doesn’t get much better. It’ll take until Week 12 for these two teams to face off since the Giants eliminated Washington from playoff contention (on this same field) Week 17 of last year. Kirk Cousins threw two picks, both of which were to DRC, and the second one was the nail in the coffin to the Redskins’ playoff hopes. Paul Perkins had a breakout game, rushing for 102 yards for the first time in his career and helping him make the case to be the starting RB this year. As of right now it’s hard to tell if Washington will be in serious contention at this time of the year, however there has been speculation of all four NFC East teams standing a legitimate shot at the division title. And how could I not mention every Giants fans’ favorite player, Josh Norman? He guaranteed that things will ‘get ugly’ with himself and Odell Beckham. If OBJ does what he did against Norman the past couple times he faced him, things will surely get ugly for Norman. The Giants will look to be feasting at FedexField on Thanksgiving night against a hated division rival.
This is most definitely the matchup I’m most looking forward to this upcoming season. Thanksgiving night with Odell Beckham, Josh Norman, and two teams which suddenly have a serious rivalry again? Too good.
Week 13: Giants at Oakland Raiders, Sun 12/3, 4:25 PM
Back out to the west coast for the Giants in Week 13. The Raiders are expected to be one of the only teams, perhaps along with Pittsburgh, that will be able to give New England a serious run for their money in the AFC. They have all the pieces; a great young and poised talent in Derek Carr at QB, a solid defense, and they were able to nab Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. Depending on if both sides are healthy, this has all the makings to be a good, competitive late season matchup, and also is one of the games I’m most looking forward to this upcoming season.
Week 14: Giants vs Dallas Cowboys, Sun 12/10, 4:25 PM
Three of the last four games for the Giants in 2017 are against NFC East rivals, all of which will be played at MetLife, and you have to figure all of them will be of some importance. First on the bracket is the second meeting with the Cowboys. When was the last time the Giants and Cowboys played a 1:00 game? I’m actually interested because this is yet another game which will surely be on national television on FOX, with Giants fans’ favorite commentators, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Hopefully you all can sense sarcasm through text. This already has the feel of a game where the Giants have to defend home field, more so than most other home game. Having hated rivals come into your house and getting a big win may be very deflating this late in the season. However, the Giants have had that happen quite a bit in seasons where they do eventually make the postseason.
Week 15: Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles, Sun 12/17, 1:00 PM
It’s quite the couple of weeks at MetLife Stadium, as it’s not often to have the Giants play back-to-back home games against the Eagles and Cowboys this late in a season. The Giants are fully expected to be in a playoff race, should we expect the Eagles to be as well? The huge improvements Philly has made during this offseason so far must be noted and they deserve credit for it. My one question is of just how much better Carson Wentz will be. He has the pieces to succeed now. Maybe Landon Collins will greet him with a pick again, and Odell Beckham score an early touchdown. Again.
Week 16: Giants at Arizona Cardinals, Sun 12/24, 4:25 PM
Big Blue will make one last regular season trip out west in a clash with the Cardinals in Week 16. Arizona has had an interesting ride the last four seasons: a 10-6 record in 2013, 11-5 in 2014, 13-3 in 2015, and then plummeted to 7-8-1 last year. It seemed not much had changed with the Cardinals other than Carson Palmer aging. All of this is why I don’t know what to expect in this game, or from the Cardinals at all. Arizona isn’t expected to contend like other teams in the NFC, but I am definitely not going to have the mindset this will be an easy game to win, especially with it being in hostile territory.
Week 17: Giants vs Washington Redskins, Sun 12/31, 1:00 PM
The Giants once again close out the season playing the Redskins, this time at home. Where will each team stand at this point? Will this be a win or go home game like last season was for Washington? The Redskins wanted to go to the playoffs, DRC had other plans.
I could see Washington being somewhere between 8-8 and 10-6 next year, which puts them in the playoff race. Giants fans would all hope this game wouldn’t be of too much significance for New York, but it is very possible. Either way, a showdown vs the Redskins at home to close out the season is exciting.
The Final Prediction
The way I like to predict the Giants’ record for this upcoming season is based off of different scenarios. Let’s say the offense returns to 2015 form: the O-line paves the way for Paul Perkins to make a name for himself, Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham become the best WR duo in the league, and Evan Engram has a ROY campaign. That is the dream scenario for the Giants’ offense, and if it all pans out I can see the team having a ceiling of 13-3, with 12-4 being more realistic. If the hopes for the offense don’t completely pan out, no need to worry, because they will be better than last year and the Giants would still be a playoff team. Perhaps 10-6 would be more realistic, with 11-5 as a goal to reach once again.
This is a tough schedule for sure. Philly has improved, while I believe Dallas will regress. I don’t think we will necessarily sweep Dallas again, and probably will split the series with Philly as well, meaning a possible sweep against Washington would be a major help in a competitive division. Tough western opponents in the form of Kansas City, Oakland, and Seattle pose serious problems outside of the division. I believe the Giants will win one out of those three games. There are a couple possible trap games (Tampa, Arizona, LA Chargers) and with how good the Giants are expected to be, they shouldn’t have to worry about such games. But I’ll be fair and throw an unexpected loss in from an opponent somewhere along the way. With all this math being done, my final prediction sits at 11-5 for the Giants 2017 season. They could fall to 10-6, they could also have 12 wins for the first time since 2008. For now, however, 11-5 sounds like a good bet.