Power Ranking New York Giants' 2013 Schedule from Easiest to Hardest Games

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IApril 19, 2013

Power Ranking New York Giants' 2013 Schedule from Easiest to Hardest Games

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    With the NFL releasing the schedules for the 2013 season on Thursday night, it's only natural that we'd bring you the power rankings for the New York Giants' schedule.

    New York's schedule is a bit lighter than it was last season—highlighted by meetings with the Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers—but the G-Men will still have to prove their worth against some of the NFL's best teams in 2013.

    After going 3-3 in the NFC East a season ago, the division is again wide open for the taking, with no team emerging as an indubitable favorite to take the crown.

    Big Blue will open their season on the road against the rival Dallas Cowboys. Where does that game rank on the 2013 schedule, you ask?

    Here are my power rankings for the Giants' 2013 schedule, starting with the easiest games and ending with the most difficult matchups. 

Week 10: Vs. Oakland Raiders

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    2012 Record: 4-12

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: N/A

     

    Coming off a bye week in Week 9, the Giants will play their easiest game of the season when the Oakland Raiders come to town.

    With no more Carson Palmer at the helm, the Raiders lack a solid quarterback under center and frankly don't have the offense or the defense to keep pace with Big Blue. 

    The biggest threat to the Giants will be Darren McFadden, but given his injury woes during his young career, there's always the possibility that the 25-year-old doesn't make it onto the field for this game. 

    After averaging just 18 points per game in 2012, the Raiders will be New York's easiest opponent this season.

Week 16: At Detroit Lions

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    2012 Record: 4-12

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: N/A

     

    Linebacker Stephen Tulloch believes the Detroit Lions are back (via ESPN), but I'm not seeing it that way.

    Of course, Tulloch is referring to the offseason moves made by the Lions—including Pro Bowl running back Reggie Bush—but what else is a guy supposed to say entering a new season?

    The fact is that if the Giants put blanket coverage on Calvin Johnson, their defense has the ability to frustrate Matthew Stafford and limit Bush on the ground, as he's never been a consistent running back in his career.

    Defensively, Detroit still has some work to do and doesn't have the secondary to stick with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz (assuming Cruz is a Giant this season). 

Week 3: At Carolina Panthers

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    2012 Record: 7-9

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: 1-0

     

    The G-Men went into Carolina last season and put a 36-7 smackdown on the Panthers and it'll be no different in 2013.

    No matter how many steps Cam Newton takes to improve his game, the fact remains that Carolina doesn't have the pieces around him to succeed, especially in a division like the NFC South.

    New York's defense frustrated Newton into three interceptions and two sacks in last season's meeting, while Andre Brown tore up Carolina's defense on the ground.

    If the Panthers can get back to running the ball this season and continue playing solid defense, they could give New York trouble in this game, but given the lack of offense on Carolina's part, Big Blue has the edge in this matchup.

Week 14: At San Diego Chargers

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    2012 Record: 7-9

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: N/A

     

    I'll take the Giants defense against the San Diego Chargers offense anyday.

    San Diego's offense ranked 31st in the NFL last season while Football Outsiders tells us that the Chargers sported the NFL's worst pass-blocking offensive line in 2012, as Philip Rivers was the second-most sacked quarterback in the league.

    New York's defense usually excels at reaching the quarterback, and although it had somewhat of a down season in terms of sack production in 2012, the Giants D will be looking to get back on track in 2013.

    And against a weak offensive line like San Diego's, I like their chances.

Week 4: At Kansas City Chiefs

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    2012 Record: 2-14

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: N/A

     

    New York will get an improved Kansas City Chiefs squad in Week 4 but I don't think they've corrected enough issues to beat the Giants.

    Alex Smith is 1-1 in his career against the G-Men but has thrown four interceptions to only one touchdown and will be leading a less talented offense than he had with the San Francisco 49ers.

    The Chiefs may have bolstered the QB position, but the fact remains that their defense ranked 20th in the league last season and surrendered more than 26 points per game. 

    With a new quarterback and head coach, there will be a learning curve in Kansas City and I think the Giants have too many weapons on offense for the Chiefs to be a real threat.

Week 12: Vs. Dallas Cowboys

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    2012 Record: 8-8

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: 1-1

     

    Sandwiched between a home game against the Green Bay Packers and a road matchup with the division rival Washington Redskins, Big Blue will get another foe in the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12.

    The Giants have found success against Dallas later in the season in recent years, which is why I think this mid-season matchup is an easier game than the Week 1 opener.

    The fact is that the Cowboys haven't changed much this offseason. New York knows Tony Romo and the Dallas offense extremely well and I really don't see the Cowboys doing anything that's going to surprise Perry Fewell's defense.

    Regardless, it's a divisional game and they're never easy.

Week 5: Vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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    2012 Record: 4-12

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: 1-1

     

    We're still waiting to see if Chip Kelly's spread offense successfully transitions into the NFL, but one has to think the Philadelphia Eagles will be an improved squad from last season.

    Don't forget—we still have the NFL draft to go through, where I have Philly taking Geno Smith to run Kelly's offense, meaning the Eagles still have more time to improve and give the G-Men problems next season.

    This home game against Philadelphia is the start of what could be a difficult stretch for the Giants, as they'll travel to Chicago and then get Minnesota the following week only to finish the tough stretch at Philadelphia in Week 8.

    This is Giants vs. Eagles. Anything can happen, as DeSean Jackson taught us in 2010.

Week 6: At Chicago Bears

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: N/A

     

    It's only fitting that ex-Giants' tight end Martellus Bennett will have the opportunity to square off against his former team when his Chicago Bears host New York in Week 6.

    Bennett joins an offense that ranked 28th in the league in 2012, as the addition of Brandon Marshall wasn't enough to propel Chicago into the playoffs.

    With the Bears sporting a new coach in Marc Trestman and presumably playing without eight-time Pro Bowler Brian Urlacher, Chicago still has the defense to compete with the Giants, but not the offense.

    As long as the G-Men contain Brandon Marshall and put pressure on Jay Cutler, New York should leave Chi-town with a win.

Week 7: Vs. Minnesota Vikings

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: N/A

     

    After making the playoffs last season, the Minnesota Vikings have the same core pieces in 2013 to make the postseason.

    While they did lose Percy Harvin, the star wideout didn't factor into the Vikings' season toward the latter portion, as he missed a slew of games at the end of the season due to injury. Minnesota replaced Harvin with Greg Jennings but still needs another wide receiver to complement him.

    The Giants will need to bring their best rushing defense to stop Adrian Peterson, which doesn't bode well for New York, as it ranked 25th against the rush in 2012.

    This is the type of middle of the road game that can go either way for the G-Men, especially against a Vikings defense that looks to have improved from last season.

    For the more complete package of offense and defense, I'd give the Giants the edge in this matchup.


Week 1: At Dallas Cowboys

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    2012 Record: 8-8

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: 1-1

     

    Remember how the Giants started the 2012 season when they opened up against the Dallas Cowboys?

    Let me refresh your memory. Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns on the Giants defense as Eli Manning was sacked three times in a 27-17 season-opening loss at home.

    With a new starting running back and few other new pieces on both sides of the ball, New York likely won't have full cohesion in the first game of the season, especially inside Cowboys Stadium.

    Road games in the division aren't easy, as we all know, especially when it's the first game of a brand new season.

Week 13: At Washington Redskins

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: 1-1

     

    It took a last-minute bomb from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz to down the Washington Redskins in the Giants' first ever meeting with Robert Griffin III last season and I think fans should expect more of the same excitement in 2013.

    Washington won the division last season and went on to lose in the playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card game, but the Redskins' 2012 season speaks volumes about what this team is capable of with RGIII under center.

    I think it's going to be the Giants and Redskins fighting for the NFC East title next season, making this one of the more difficult games on New York's 2013 schedule.

     


Week 8: At Philadelphia Eagles

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    2012 Record: 4-12

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: 1-1

     

    You can throw out all records and statistics when the Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles get together, especially when the G-Men travel to the Linc.

    As the game right before New York heads into its bye week, this will be one of the harder games for the Giants given that it's a divisional opponent and they will be looking to head into the bye week on a positive note.

    Big Blue lost at Philly last season before blowing them out in the season finale in Week 17.

    It's Giants vs. Eagles in Week 8 in what should be the usual gritty, grind it out type of game for both sides.

Week 17: Vs. Washington Redskins

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    2012 Record: 10-6

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: 1-1

     

    With a wide open NFC East, New York's Week 17 matchup against the division rival Washington Redskins will be one of the most difficult games for the Giants.

    There will be a lot riding on this game, as I'm expecting there to be huge playoff implications on the line when the G-Men travel to FedEx Field this season.

    While going into Washington to face RGIII and the 'Skins is obviously no easy task (the Giants fell 17-16 to the Redskins on the road last season) this will be a more difficult task, as it is the last regular-season game. 

Week 11: Vs. Green Bay Packers

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    2012 Record: 11-5

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: 1-0

     

    New York played one of its best games of the season in 2012 against the Green Bay Packers, winning 38-10 and sacking Aaron Rodgers five times.

    But this is Aaron Rodgers we're talking about.

    Despite losing receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, Rodgers still has plenty of weapons in his arsenal with the likes of James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley.

    Eli Manning and the Giants have played well against the Packers in big games in recent years, which makes this one of the most intriguing and difficult games of the season for Big Blue.

Week 15: Vs. Seattle Seahawks

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    2012 Record: 11-5

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: N/A

     

    With one year under his belt in the NFL, Russell Wilson is only going to be better in 2013.

    Aside from the versatility of Wilson and the tough running style of Marshawn Lynch, the Seattle Seahawks will only be better this season after acquiring star wide receiver Percy Harvin and bolstering its defense with the signings of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.

    Defensively, I think the Giants can have some success up front along the defensive line, but the Seahawks' physical defense will make it tough for the Giants to get their offense going.

    Luckily for the Giants they'll get Seattle at home, but regardless, this is easily one of the toughest games on New York's schedule.

Week 2: Vs. Denver Broncos

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    2012 Record: 13-3

    Head-to-head record vs. opponent last season: N/A

     

    The NFL sure knows how to put together a schedule, don't they?

    In just their second game of the season, Eli Manning and the G-Men will go up against big brother and the Denver Broncos. With the freshly acquired Wes Welker becoming another target for Peyton, a weak Giants' secondary from a season ago will have their hands full trying to stick Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

    Peyton has gotten the best of Eli both times the brothers have gone head-to-head, but that was of course when the older Manning was quarterbacking the Indianapolis Colts.

    Nonetheless, given the way Denver dominated the AFC last season and the fact that it got stronger on offense during the offseason, the Broncos undoubtedly present the hardest game for New York in 2013.

     

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