New York Giants 2012 Schedule: Power Ranking All 16 Games
In their final 11 games, all teams either made the playoffs last year or are within the division. That's a brutal 11 game stretch considering the three teams in the Giants division all figure to be better in 2012.
This slideshow will power rank the toughest games for the Giants in 2012, though this will change as the season draws closer and we know which team drafted who, and who gets themselves injured in the preseason.
16. Week 5: Cleveland Browns
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Despite having two picks in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, I do not imagine the Browns fixing their quarterback situation over night with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III expected to be picked first and second.
They are abysmal offensively, but the Giants should not sleep on their defense. Could be a hard fought game, but the Giants should win.
15. Week 7: Washington Redskins
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Washington did not do much in free agency other than trade three draft picks to move into the No. 2 spot, presumably to take Robert Griffin.
Now that the Colts have told Andrew Luck he'll be the first pick, expect the Redskins to take RGIII. As ESPN's Adam Schefter said on SportsCenter today, "The Redskins did not make this move to take Fletcher Cox, they wanted a quarterback."
They will be improved, and this should give you a preview of how tough the Giants' schedule is this season.
14. Week 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a ton of cap space and were very active in free agency. They improved offensively with Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson, and also tried to help their 32nd ranked scoring defense by signing Eric Wright.
They could get even better with the No. 5 pick in the 2012 draft. The Giants should not sleep on the Bucs, as they tend to do against inferior competition.
13. Week 10: At Cincinnati Bengals
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12. Week 13: At Washington Redskins
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Although I have this as the fourth easiest game for the Giants, I could see them losing this game. They lost to the Redskins twice last season with Rex Grossman at the helm.
RGIII and Monday Night Football on the road could be a tough matchup.
11. Week 3: At Carolina Panthers
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I expect the Panthers to take a step forward and be a much better team in 2012, but what makes this game so tough is the Giants have a home game against the Bucs on a Sunday, then play at the Panthers on the next Thursday.
Cam Newton could eat up some tired legs.
10. Week 4: At Philadelphia Eagles
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One reason this game does not get pushed up the list is the Giants will have a full nine days between their matchup with the Panthers and this one.
That could go a long way in making the difference between two teams very close on paper. The Eagles underachieved last season but I expect big improvements. This will be a huge game to set the tone for the Giants' season.
9. Week 1: Dallas Cowboys
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The Giants and Dallas Cowboys will open the season on Wednesday, Sept. 5 in order to avoid President Obama's speech.
Since the NFL began putting the Super Bowl champion in the NFL opener, the defending champs are 8-0 in those games.
The pressure is on for the Giants' title defense, and it starts with a division rival in a tough matchup. The Cowboys were active in free agency, improving their defense that cost them the division title last season.
8. Week 14: New Orleans Saints
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You would think this one would be further up the list given the pounding the Giants received from the Saints the previous two times they have played.
However, with Sean Payton (head coach, play-caller, motivator) missing the season, and the fact that the Saints are a much different team on the road, they don't look as tough an opponent for this year.
7. Week 15: At Atlanta Falcons
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Yes, the Giants did drub the Falcons in their playoff matchup 24-2, but it is a whole different story when you take in to account this game is in Atlanta.
Since Matt Ryan arrived in Atlanta, the Falcons have never lost more than two games at home, going 26-6 over that time frame.
The Giants won an overtime thriller 34-31 the last time the two met in Atlanta in 2009.
6. Week 8: At Dallas Cowboys
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We should hopefully have a feel for what the Giants are capable of by the time this game roles around. The eighth game of the season and midway point is a good measuring stick for your ball club.
Hopefully the Giants will be off to a good start, because it doesn't get any easier from this point on. The Cowboys will be a much better team in 2012, so a sweep will be very tough.
5. Week 17: Philadelphia Eagles
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This second matchup between these two teams falls on the final week of the season, and could have some serious playoff implications on the line.
The Giants and Eagles split the season series last year, with each winning on the road. I wouldn't expect much different in terms of the season split, and any time you have two hated division rivals playing in the final week of the season, expect some fireworks.
4. Week 9: Pittsburgh Steelers
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Given that the Steelers are a great cold weather team, this will be a very tough matchup for the Giants in the first week of November.
The Steelers love to pound the ball and control the clock. The Giants' run defense better be up to the task if they want this game to be close.
3. Week 12: Green Bay Packers
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Although the Green Bay Packers nearly pulled off perfection in 2011, I expect them to come down to Earth a bit in 2012.
Still, this is the toughest home contest for the Giants this season, pending some crazy injury. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game (to me), and is always dangerous with his bevy of weapons.
2. Week 6: At San Francisco 49ers
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This has the element of a very tough team that got even better with the addition of a few free agents as well as a cross country trip to Candlestick Park.
Both games last year between these two teams were close, heavy hitting contests. Expect nothing less from these former rivals in 2012.
1. Week 16: At Baltimore Ravens
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This is the hardest game for me (as the teams are currently constructed), and it isn't even close. The Ravens are an incredible team at home and feature one of the league's best defenses with the best motivator in NFL history, Ray Lewis.
You think he doesn't remember the pounding the Ravens took in 2008 from the Giants? Revenge will be on the minds of that defense, making it very tough for the Giants to pull off the win.
If the Giants play up to their potential they can win every one of these games. We all know that's never going to happen, as the Giants have always played up and down to their competition. Expect some frustrating losses and surprising wins, but in the end expect the Giants to be in the playoff hunt.
The combination of Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning have never finished worse than 8-8. Hopefully that tradition continues in 2012.