The 5 Games That Will Determine the New York Giants' Fate in 2013
Let's be real.
When Big Blue's schedule first came out back in mid-April, I power ranked all 16 games from easiest to most difficult.
You can bet some of the most difficult games made this column.
Let's jump in.
Week 15: Versus Seattle Seahawks
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Not only is this a crucial game for the Giants because of the quality of the opponent in the Seattle Seahawks, but it's also the third-to-last game for New York and will certainly be important in determining playoff seeding and positions.
As if Seattle wasn't dynamic enough last season, it went out and got Percy Harvin to help Russell Wilson in the passing game and acquired Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to bolster an already stout defense.
New York's run defense was dismal in 2012 (No. 25 in the league) and will have its hands full against Marshawn Lynch and a versatile Wilson under center.
With the Giants likely jockeying for playoff position at this point in the season, this matchup with the Seahawks could very well determine Big Blue's fate during the 2013 season.
Week 2: Versus Denver Broncos
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
After this game, the Giants hit the road to play the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs. While those teams aren't the cream of the crop in the NFL, three of New York's first four games are on the road, making this home matchup with Denver extremely important.
In my honest opinion, given the acquisition of Wes Welker to an already dynamic Broncos passing attack, Denver is a Super Bowl-worthy team. If the Giants can get the best of Peyton Manning and the Broncos, the G-Men would get a shot of confidence early on in the season that could spur a winning streak.
I don't think this game will necessarily determine the Giants' fate in terms of standing in the NFC, but this is the NFL—where every single game counts.
Week 8: At Philadelphia Eagles
USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles were a complete and utter disappointment in 2012, but I wouldn't expect the same from New York's rivals this season.
We know one thing, and that's that under new head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles are going to work hard, be fast and be competitive. That can be attributed to the new diet and exercise program Kelly has established in Philly, which ESPN's Jeannine Edwards tweeted about.
The Eagles are the Giants' last game before a Week 9 bye, making this a crucial matchup for New York. As bad as Philly was last season, the G-Men split the season series with the Eagles, which is something they'd like to avoid in 2013.
The NFC East is going to be as wide-open a division as there can be this season, meaning New York has to dominate within the division to assure itself of not missing out on the playoffs like it did last year.
That starts with a win in an important game against Philadelphia on the road in Week 8.
Week 1: At Dallas Cowboys
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
If you remember watching the Dallas Cowboys mangle the Giants in the Week 1 NFL season opener last season, then you'll agree that the 2013 Week 1 matchup in Dallas is critical for New York.
The 'Boys rolled the Giants in their first game of the season in 2012, as Tony Romo tossed three touchdowns and led Dallas to a 27-17 victory.
With new pieces on offense—especially at running back and tight end—New York's cohesion may be absent in Week 1, making this a difficult matchup.
It's important that the Giants begin the season on a high note, as they get Denver in Week 2 and then hit the road for two consecutive games away from MetLife Stadium in Weeks 3 and 4.
We all know how important divisional games are in the NFL, and in a division like the NFC East, they always seem to mean a little more when it comes to determining playoff position.
Week 17: Versus Washington Redskins
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
If it weren't for a late-second bomb from Manning to Victor Cruz, the Giants would have gone 0-2 against the Washington Redskins last season.
I wouldn't plan on Robert Griffin III showing any ill effects from the torn ACL and LCL he sustained last season (h/t Redskins' Twitter).
Griffin III said he doesn't feel limitations in what he has been cleared to do so far. Feels comfortable in rehab process.— Redskins (@Redskins) May 23, 2013
The G-Men had a difficult time containing RGIII in 2012.
The rookie QB completed 67 percent of his passes, tossing three touchdowns to one interception and rushing for 161 yards in two meetings—his most rushing yards against any opponent last season.
This being a critical divisional matchup in the last week of the season, the Giants-Redskins game in Week 17 is arguably the most important game in determining the outcome of Big Blue's season.
Follow me on Twitter: Follow @Pete_Schauer