Must-Watch Games, Matchups and Storylines from New York Giants' 2013 Schedule
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
After a two-day delay, the 2013 NFL schedule was finally released on Thursday evening. The New York Giants once again have a schedule that promises to bring intrigue, marquee matchups and exciting rivalries most weeks during the season.
New York will visit old friend Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4, the Chicago Bears at historic Soldier Field in Week 6 and welcome quarterback sensation Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15. The best part is that these aren't even the best matchups in the Giants' slate of games.
The following slides will first detail the most anticipated, intriguing matchups of Big Blue's 2013 schedule. The slideshow will wrap up with some more general themes of the Giants' schedule that will play a big part as to the level of success the team will have in the upcoming season.
Sunday Night Prime-Time Opener Against the Dallas Cowboys
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
The Giants starting their season against their hated NFC East rival from the state of Texas is nothing new.
They did it last year, also in prime time, in the marquee, opening-night home game bestowed on the Super Bowl champion from the previous year. More long-term, when the Giants take the field in Big D on September 8, it will be the third time they have opened a season against them in seven years (they also did it in 2007).
Big Blue should be looking to enact a measure of revenge against the Cowboys in this game. Sure, they split the season series in 2012, but it was an underwhelming split to say the least. They ruined what could have been a celebratory, post-Super Bowl home opener with a lackluster 24-17 loss in the first game. They won the second game in Week 8, 29-24, but as many Giants fans remember, they could have easily lost if Dez Bryant had smaller hands.
The Giants will also try to keep an impressive streak going in this game. They have yet to lose at the new Cowboys Stadium, with four wins in four seasons since the stadium opened in 2009.
While you never want to overreact to the outcome of the first game of the season, a win in Week 1 would be huge. Beating a division rival on the road is always a good way to start the season and could be exactly what the Giants need to put together another strong first half.
Eli vs. Peyton, Part 3
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Get ready for another week of intense, brotherly hype.
Eli versus Peyton will likely be the main story in the NFL leading up to their Week 2 matchup. Every media outlet will cover it ad nauseam the entire week and we'll probably be sick and tired of hearing about it come 4:25 p.m. on Sunday, September 15. Expect more than a few Archie Manning appearances to be part of the hype machine as well.
Sarcasm aside, this is always a fun matchup. Despite the obvious "quarterback brothers facing each other" angle, this should be the third time that Eli and Peyton's teams are playoff-caliber. When they faced each other for the first time in 2006, both the Giants and Colts ended up making the playoffs that season. In 2010, when they met for the second time, the Colts made the playoffs at 10-6 while the Giants barely missed the postseason with an identical record.
Heading into 2013, the Giants look to once again be a threat to make the playoffs, coming off a 9-7 season and a free-agency period that didn't see them lose anyone from their core (though some would argue that Ahmad Bradshaw, Osi Umenyiora and Kenny Phillips were part of the core).
The Broncos were 13-3 in 2012, the best record in the AFC, and figure to still be an elite team with the only significant free-agent loss being Elvis Dumervil. Signing Wes Welker, though, and to a lesser extent, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, more than offsets this loss.
Eli is 0-2 against his big brother, but it certainly is not due to poor play on his part. In the two previous games, he has combined to throw for 408 yards off a 57 percent completion rate, with four TDs and two INTs. These are not great statistics, but they are certainly good enough to win.
The Rivalry Continues Against the Green Bay Packers
Al Bello/Getty Images
Two of the oldest, most storied franchises in the NFL have put together a fantastic rivalry over the last six years.
Since 2007, the Giants and Packers have faced each other six times, with each team winning three games apiece. In addition, both of the Giants' recent Super Bowl championship runs, in 2007 and 2011, have gone through Lambeau Field.
Big Blue has had the upper hand in the rivalry as of late, winning the last two matchups (in the 2011 playoffs and in Week 12 of last season) in dominant fashion by a combined score of 75-30. Their most recent victory was particularly overwhelming, as New York dismantled Green Bay at home, 38-10, sacking Aaron Rodgers five times and intercepting him once in the process.
This year, the matchup between these two teams takes place in Week 11 at MetLife Stadium. Expect the Packers to put up a better effort this time around, as they are simply too good of a team year in and year out to get blown out for a third straight time against the Giants.
Easier Second-Half Schedule
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Both Games Against the Division Champion Redskins in December
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
The NFC East is not the same division as it was a few years ago.
While the Giants are still formidable, the Eagles are down after a 4-12 season in 2012, which officially put an end to the Andy Reid era. With former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly now leading the ship and either the fragile, aging Michael Vick or the inexperienced Nick Foles quarterbacking the offense, another losing season appears to be in the cards for Philadelphia.
In Dallas, the Cowboys missed the playoffs the last two seasons and haven't exactly done much to improve the team so far this offseason.
The Redskins, however, are suddenly the team to beat in the division after capturing the NFC East title in 2012 with a 10-6 record. They could be stronger this season after not losing anyone significant in free agency. Also, linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, two key members of the defense that missed most of 2012 due to injury, are healthy and ready to contribute to a defense that gave up an unhealthy 24.3 points per game last season.
A major factor, of course, to the Redskins' fate lies in the hands of injured quarterback Robert Griffin III, who was a league-wide sensation in his rookie season. After tearing his ACL in the Wild Card Round against the Seahawks, though, RGIII appears to be on track to start the first game of 2013.
In order to win the division, then, the Giants will need to beat the Redskins at least once in December. Winning the second game between the two teams may be the one to get since it closes out the regular season and occurs at home.
If they are going to be successful against Washington this upcoming season, slowing down its running game will be ultra important. The Redskins rushed for an astounding 455 yards in two games against Big Blue last year.