The NFL released the 2016-17 schedules on Thursday, which gives me an awesome opportunity to kick off this blog by breaking down each game. Based off of last season’s records, the Giants are tied with Green Bay for the second easiest strength of schedule, but now that we have the order of those games, it’s easier to determine where fortunes may be better or worst depending on short or long weeks, and early or late games. Check out my breakdown of the Giants through half of the season below. My second half will be released tomorrow.
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 11 at 4:25 p.m.
L @ Dallas Cowboys (2015: 4-12)
For the fourth time in five years, the Giants will open the season against Dallas, and like the last two games, it’s at AT&T Stadium. These games are always close, but the Giants have found a way to lose each of the previous three openers to Dallas. This year will be no different as New York’s new defensive additions get used to Steve Spagnuolo’s system. Eli Manning and company will do enough to keep the game competitive, but a re-energized Cowboys offense with Tony Romo back under center will do enough to exploit the defense. Cowboys win another nail-biter.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m.
W vs New Orleans Saints (2015: 7-9)
The Giants return to New Jersey for their home opener against New Orleans in a rematch of last year’s shootout. Most people believe the Saints are in decline, and I tend to agree, but this game won’t be a waltz. I don’t think Manning and Drew Brees will produce a combined 13 passing touchdowns like last year, but they’ll exchange scores until Manning’s offense comes up with the final dagger.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.
W vs Washington (2015: 9-7)
The Giants stay at home in Week 3 for their first shot at last year’s NFC East champions. The game will be Washington’s first on the road, and unfortunately for Washington, New York’s first as a cohesive defensive unit. The Giants rattle Kirk Cousins in a game easily won.
Week 4: Monday, Oct. 3 at 8:30 p.m.
L @ Minnesota Vikings (2015: 11-5)
Minnesota is a team on the rise although its MVP, Adrian Peterson, may be in decline. Either way, he’s still really good and will prove to be too much for a Giants defense that hadn’t yet been tested against the run. It’ll be a close game, but New York loses on the road in its first prime time game of the season.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9 at 8:30 p.m.
L @ Green Bay Packers (2015: 10-6)
New York faces its third straight opponent which made the postseason in 2015 on a shortened week, on the road. To make the task of playing Green Bay in prime time more daunting is the fact that the Packers had plenty of time to prepare, coming off of a bye. The Giants put up a fight but Aaron Rodgers is too much in a two-score loss that drops New York to 2-3.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.
W vs Baltimore Ravens (2015: 5-11)
Baltimore hits the road for the first time since Week 3, but runs into a Giants team determined not to fall too far behind the eight ball. Joe Flacco is a sitting duck and Baltimore’s defense is uncharacteristically weak. New York wins by two scores to gain momentum before taking a long flight.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23 at 9:30 a.m. (Wembley Stadium in London)
W at Los Angeles Rams (2015: 7-9)
Both teams are looking for a win before heading into the bye, but the more talented quarterback prevails. The Giants wreak havoc on whoever is under center for the Rams, Janoris Jenkins plays with fire against his former team, and Eli Manning make Los Angeles wish it kept Jenkins. The Giants play a game unusually clean for a team playing in London and improve to 4-3 heading into the break.
Week 8: Bye
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.
W vs Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia is better than most people thought it would be, but still lacks the collective experience to close out games. This one will be no exception. The Eagles play New York close as can be expected from a division rival, but the Giants prove to be too talented for Philadelphia to keep up with over four quarters.
Giants midway record: 5-3