New York Giants: Breaking Down and Predicting the Entire 2012 Schedule

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst ISeptember 1, 2012

New York Giants: Breaking Down and Predicting the Entire 2012 Schedule

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    As the calendar turns to September, we are less than a few days away from the 2012 season kicking off.

    On Wednesday night, September 5, the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants will be kicking off their season on NBC.

    As the champions, there are many expectations surrounding the Giants this season, and numerous people expect them to be NFC contenders again.

    How will they fare in 2012 after ending the last regular season as the NFC East Champions with a 9-7 record?

    Let's break down every single game of the Giants' regular season schedule with predictions and a final record.

Week 1: Vs Dallas Cowboys

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    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    8:30 p.m., MetLife Stadium, NBC

    Normally, this contest would be played on a Thursday night, but because of the Democratic National Convention, the game moved to Wednesday.

    The Giants open the season with the same team they closed out 2011 with: the Dallas Cowboys.

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has already stated that he wants the fans to come on out to see Dallas kick the Giants' ass on September 5.

    Jones talking is basically bulletin board material, because when all the talking is done, it'll be time to put on the helmets and pads and play some hard-nosed NFC East football.

    In both games against the Cowboys, the Giants, lead by Eli Manning, put up 68 total points of offense, so they are more than capable of moving the ball on Dallas' defense.

    Dallas added defensive backs Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, and they will have the task of trying to stop Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

    On the other side, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka will be coming after Tony Romo every single snap.

    I think on the night the Giants raise their championship banner in front of their hometown fans, they roll over the Cowboys.

    Prediction: Giants 34, Cowboys 13

Week 2: Vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    1:00 p.m., MetLife Stadium, FOX

    This will be the first time in three years that the Giants and Buccaneers will face off, with the last time the Giants shutting out Tampa 24-0 back in 2009.

    This isn't the same Tampa team the Giants will be seeing, as it will now be under the direction of former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano.

    New additions Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson will also be on hand in this battle, as will Josh Freeman, who will be looking for a rebound season of a year ago.

    The pass rush of the Giants will be coming after Johnson in this game, and even with the addition of Nicks to the offensive line, it may not be enough to stop the Giants.

    The last time the Bucs knocked off the Giants: November 24, 2003 on a Monday Night Football showdown where Tampa won 19-13.

    Since then, the Giants are 3-0, including the 2007 NFC Wild Card win at Raymond James Stadium.

    In Week 2, I see the Giants making it 4-0 and going to 2-0 on the season.

    Prediction: Giants 24, Buccaneers 10

Week 3: At Carolina Panthers

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    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    8:30 p.m., Bank of America Stadium, NFL Network/PIX 11

    Four days after the Giants play the Bucs in Week 2, they will head south to North Carolina and play the Panthers on a Thursday night showdown.

    It will be the featured game on the NFL Network, but if you don't have the NFL Network on your cable provider, it will also be broadcasted on PIX 11 as well.

    These two teams met three straight years between 2008-10, with the Giants taking two out of three in New Jersey.

    The last one was the opening game of the 2010 season, a game the Giants won 31-18.

    In that one, Hakeem Nicks had a monster game for the Giants, grabbing four balls for 75 yards and scoring three touchdowns.

    I expect Eli Manning to be looking to do the same kind of damage against the Panthers on the road.

    On the other side, the Giants pass rush will be looking to cause Cam Newton to make mistakes. This is the first time they will see the second-year quarterback in a regular season game.

    If the Giants can create turnovers by forcing Newton to make mistakes, then I think they should be able to go 3-0.

    But, I still think Carolina will put up a fight and make it a game.

    Prediction: Giants 30, Panthers 22

Week 4: At Philadelphia Eagles

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    Sunday, September 30, 2012

    8:30 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field, NBC

    Heading into 2011, the Giants were 1-6 in their last seven games against the Philadelphia Eagles, which includes the 2008 NFC Divisional Playoff loss at Giants Stadium.

    And then in Week 3 of 2011 at Philadelphia, Victor Cruz emerged on the scene and absolutely torched the Eagles' secondary for three catches, 110 yards and two touchdown passes to knock off the Eagles 29-16.

    The Giants were trailing 16-14 heading into the fourth quarter, but Eli Manning engineered another fourth-quarter comeback, leading the Giants to two touchdown drives.

    Since 2006, the Giants are 4-2 against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

    Since 2007, the Giants are 2-3 against the Eagles when they play on Sunday Night Football games.

    This one could go either way, and I think I'm going to go with the home team in this one in a tough game.

    Prediction: Eagles 20, Giants 17

Week 5: Vs Cleveland Browns

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    Sunday, October 7, 2012

    1:00 p.m., MetLife Stadium, CBS

    The Giants and Browns don't play each other that often.

    The last time they met was on a Monday Night game back on October 13, 2008, where the Browns handed the Giants their first loss of the season, routing them 35-14.

    The Giants were in the game at halftime, trailing 17-14, but then the Browns scored an unanswered 18 points in the second half and shut down the Giants offense while forcing three interceptions from Eli Manning.

    Before that game, you have to go all the way back to September 26, 2004: Week 3 of the season where the Giants routed Cleveland 27-10.

    Kurt Warner was starting for the Giants, while Manning was still on the bench as a rookie.

    Speaking of rookies, the Browns will be featuring two rookies of their own with quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson.

    Those two likely won't be enough to compete with the defending champions and I expect the Giants to win in a blowout that is over by halftime.

    Prediction: Giants 35, Browns 10

Week 6: At San Francisco 49ers

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    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    4:30 p.m., Candlestick Park, FOX

    The Giants and 49ers met twice during the 2011 season.

    First, there was the regular season showdown on November 13 in Week 10 where the 49ers held on to win 27-20.

    That loss knocked the Giants to 6-3 and was the start of their four game losing streak.

    Two months later, these two teams met again on January 22 in the NFC Championship Game to decide who would represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVI.

    In overtime, a Kyle Williams punt-return fumble set up the game-winning 31-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes to send the Giants to the Super Bowl.

    Not only will the Giants see Randy Moss playing again, but they will also see two former teammates on the enemy's side; Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham.

    It'll be a close game, but I see the 49ers holding on to get the win with their defense making key stops.

    Prediction: 49ers 20, Giants 14

Week 7: Vs Washington Redskins

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    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    1:00 p.m., MetLife Stadium, FOX

    Last season, the Giants got swept in their two games against the Redskins.

    In the game at MetLife Stadium on December 18, which was Week 15 of the season, the Giants came off beating the Cowboys, but then were absolutely flat against Washington.

    Eli Manning was absolutely terrible in the game, throwing three interceptions in a 23-10 loss.

    It dropped the Giants to 7-7 and put the Giants' playoff chances in serious doubt. After this game, the Giants rebounded to win their final two games and the division.

    This game will be the first time the Giants will see Robert Griffin III as the starting quarterback after seeing Rex Grossman all season long.

    I think the Giants defensive line will give him a rude introduction to the NFC East rivalry and give him trouble all day.

    The Giants get revenge for the series sweep of 2011 and take down Washington for the win.

    Prediction: Giants 27, Redskins 14

Week 8: At Dallas Cowboys

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    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    4:25 p.m., Cowboys Stadium, FOX

    Ever since Cowboys Stadium opened in 2009, the Giants are 3-0 in the building.

    Back in Week 14 on December 11, the Giants' season was in serious jeopardy at 6-6.

    The Cowboys were up 34-22 and had a chance to clinch the win if Tony Romo doesn't overthrow Miles Austin that would have been a touchdown and put the game away at 41-22.

    Instead, the Cowboys give the Giants the ball back, Eli Manning throws a touchdown pass to Jake Ballard to make it 34-29.

    The Giants got the ball back again and Brandon Jacobs scored on a one-yard touchdown that gave the Giants a 37-34 lead.

    Dan Bailey had a chance to tie the game for the Cowboys, but had the game-winning field goal blocked by Jason Pierre-Paul and the Giants hung on to win and saved their season by going to 7-6.

    The Giants find ways to win against Dallas and have yet to lose in the house of Jerry Jones.

    I think they make it 4-0 and roll against Dallas in a shootout to take the series sweep.

    Prediction: Giants 38, Cowboys 30

Week 9: Vs Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    4:25 p.m., MetLife Stadium, CBS

    This is going to be a battle of the former first-round quarterbacks of the 2004 NFL Draft.

    Eli Manning vs Ben Roethlisberger. They have battled each other twice during their careers.

    The first battle was at Giants Stadium during their rookie season on December 18, which was Week 15 of the season.

    The Giants were leading 24-23 heading into the fourth quarter and Eli Manning played well in the game, but the Steelers were the better team that day, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter and knocked off the Giants 33-30.

    The other time was at Heinz Field on October 26: Week 8 of the 2008 season.

    It was a heavyweight matchup between two potential Super Bowl contenders.

    Trailing 14-9 heading into the fourth quarter, Eli Manning lead a fourth-quarter comeback and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Kevin Boss to give the Giants a 21-14 victory.

    That win put the Giants at 6-1 on the season and at the time, they looked unstoppable.

    Now in 2012, these two teams again are potential Super Bowl candidates who likely will both be in the playoffs.

    This game will be a rough and physical one that will likely be a defensive battle, and I think the Giants will make one more big play over Pittsburgh to pull out the win at home.

    Prediction: Giants 20, Steelers 17

Week 10: At Cincinnat Bengals

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    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    1:00 p.m., Paul Brown Stadium, FOX

    The Giants will be put to the test heading into their bye week on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals, another team they haven't seen in a while.

    The last time these two met was back in Week 3 of the 2008 season on September 21.

    Cincinnati fought the Giants hard in the game and even forced it into overtime at Giants Stadium, but a 22-yard field goal by John Carney gave the Giants a 26-23 victory and sent them to 3-0.

    Before that game, you have to go back to Eli Manning's rookie season of 2004, which was Week 16 the night after Christmas.

    The Giants were up 22-17, but Jon Kitna lead a game-winning drive, throwing a four-yard touchdown pass to Chad Johnson that won the game 23-22.

    That loss was the Giants eight straight, dropping them to 5-10 on the year.

    Eight years later, Eli has a chance to beat the Bengals on the road.

    Gone are Chad Johnson, Carson Palmer and Jon Kitna and now in Cincinnati are Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.

    The Bengals are going to give the Giants a really good fight, but I see the Giants pass rush coming up big in this one and getting to Dalton, making crucial stops and confusing the second-year quarterback.

    Prediction: Giants 27, Bengals 24

Week 11: Bye Week

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    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    Bye Week

    With the Giants on their bye, I have them at 8-2 and dominating in the NFC.

    They are known for having poor second half finishes, but can the Giants avoid the bad second half and finish strong in 2012?

    Last year, they finished 3-2 in the month of December and made the playoffs as a result, so I think they can have a great finish to the season.

Week 12: Vs Green Bay Packers

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    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    8:20 p.m., MetLife Stadium, NBC

    Another playoff rematch on Sunday Night Football when the Giants come off their bye week.

    The Giants shocked the world in the NFC Divisional Round by knocking off the 15-1 and defending champion Green Bay Packers 37-20 at Lambeau Field back on January 15.

    During Week 13 of the regular season at MetLife Stadium, it was a battle of the offenses lighting up the scoreboard. The Giants had tied the game up at 35-35 with about a minute left in the game.

    Aaron Rodgers marched the Packers down the field on the Giants to set up a 30-yard game winning field goal by Mason Crosby which allowed Green Bay to hold on with a 38-35 win and improve to 13-0.

    During the game though, the Giants knew they could play with anyone on the field with regards to their offense, but had to make adjustments on defense.

    I could see this one being another slug-fest on offense, but I see Green Bay getting a little revenge for the game back in January.

    Prediction: Packers 35, Giants 31

Week 13: At Washington Redskins

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    Monday, December 3, 2012

    8:30 p.m., FedEx Field, ESPN

    The one and only game for the Giants that will be on Monday Night, which will have them taking on Robert Griffin III and company.

    These two opened up the 2011 season in Week 1 and the Giants looked lost and made a ton of mistakes in a game that saw Washington triumph 28-14.

    Eli Manning threw a costly interception in his own territory that got returned for a touchdown, and the Giants never recovered from it.

    With the Giants playing on a national stage against their rivals, I see the Giants' offense having a big night and Manning having a better game than he did last season in our nation's capital.

    The Giants win and give Washington a taste of their own medicine by sweeping the 2012 series.

    Prediction: Giants 40, Redskins 21

Week 14: Vs New Orleans Saints

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    Sunday, December 9, 2012

    4:25 p.m., MetLife Stadium, FOX

    We all remember what happened last year when the Giants played against the Saints in the Superdome.

    It was by far one of the worst performances ever for the Giants, especially on defense.

    The Giants gave up 577 yards of total offense and allowed 49 points to Drew Brees and company in a 49-24 thrashing, which sent the Giants to 6-5 on the year.

    Eli Manning actually had a decent performance, throwing for over 400 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to stop Brees from throwing 363 yards and four touchdowns; three of which were in the first half.

    The last time these two met up in New Jersey was Week 16 on Christmas Eve of the 2006 season.

    The Giants were trying to avoid a second-half collapse after starting out 6-2, but had dropped to 7-7 and against the Saints, it was ugly.

    Reggie Bush and Deuce McAlister ran all over the Giants defense in a 30-7 beating, which sent the Giants to 7-8 and Tom Coughlin was on the coaching hot seat if the team didn't make the playoffs.

    The Saints will be a playoff team, but how will they do without Sean Payton, who will be suspended for the entire season?

    I actually like the Giants to win at home in a big NFC showdown against the Saints, but they will have to score a lot in order to do it.

    Prediction: Giants 34, Saints 28

Week 15: At Atlanta Falcons

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    Sunday, December 16, 2012

    1:00 p.m., Georgia Dome, FOX

    Week 15 will be a rematch of the January 8 NFC Wild Card game between the Giants and Falcons.

    The Giants defense pitched a shutout in the game as the only points Atlanta got was a safety on Eli Manning, but other than that, Matt Ryan didn't do squat.

    The Giants were winning 7-2 at halftime, and then in the second half, Manning took apart the Falcons' secondary, throwing touchdown passes to Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham in a 24-2 route at MetLife Stadium.

    This game will be down in Atlanta where the Falcons are a much different team than they are on the road.

    Ryan and his offense play a lot better in their own building with the crowd behind then, and they can put up a lot of points.

    I'm going to take Atlanta at home in this one, getting a little revenge on the Giants for the playoff game beat-down.

    Prediction: Falcons 31, Giants 21

Week 16: At Baltimore Ravens

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    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    1:00 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium, FOX

    This was nearly the Super Bowl XLVI matchup this past February, but the Ravens fell a little short in the AFC Championship Game to the Patriots.

    This game during Week 16 will be one of the biggest games on the schedule, not just for the Giants, but for Baltimore as well given they will likely be fighting for the AFC North division title.

    The last time these two met was November 16, 2008; a game the Giants absolutely dominated and pounded the Ravens with their running game.

    With a combination of Derrick Ward, Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants rushed for over 200 yards and scored two touchdowns from Jacobs.

    The Giants went on to win 30-10 and improved to 9-1 at the time.

    That game was also during Joe Flacco's rookie year, and the Giants picked him off twice, once was for a touchdown.

    Since then Flacco has gotten better and helped make the Ravens an AFC contender every season.

    This one will be a grueling, physical game; one that might see it decided by a field goal in the end.

    Prediction: Giants 23, Ravens 20

Week 17: Vs Philadelphia Eagles

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    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    1:00 p.m., MetLife Stadium, FOX

    If this is deciding the NFC East division, do not be surprised to see this game get flexed to the Sunday Night Game like the Giants-Cowboys game did last year in Week 17.

    What a way to finish out the season. Giants vs Eagles.

    The Giants have not beaten the Eagles at home since 2007 where they won 16-3 in a game where the Giants' defense sacked Donovan McNabb 12 times; Osi Umenyiora had six of them.

    Since then, the Giants are 0-6, which includes the 2008 playoff loss and the Meltdown at the Meadowlands in 2010.

    Last season, the Eagles who were lead by Vince Young stunned the Giants in a 17-10 upset at MetLife Stadium, a loss that sent the Giants to 6-4.

    If the division is on the line, and if this game is on national television, it could be one of the most anticipated games of the whole season.

    Can the Giants snap their six-game losing streak against Philadelphia at home on December 30?

    I say yes, finally. The Giants end the streak and knock off the Eagles in Week 17 to get the burden off their backs.

    Prediction: Giants 34, Eagles 17

Overall 2012 Record

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    I see the 2012 Giants as a 12-4 team that will win the NFC East division for a second straight year.

    Against the NFC East, the Giants sweep the Cowboys and Redskins and split against the Eagles.

    On total offense, they will score 449 points, while allowing 332 points. Do I think the Giants can score that many points? Yes I do, considering all of the weapons Eli Manning has at his disposal.

    With a 12-4 record, I can see them either getting the No. 2, 3, or 4 seed in the NFC playoffs and having another home game at MetLife Stadium in January.

    2012 should be a fun and exciting year if you are a Giants fan, and trying to defend the Super Bowl title will be an exciting thing to watch them try to do.

    September 5 can't get here soon enough. Are you ready for some football?