Updated Outlook for Entire New York Giants Schedule
Sarcasm aside, stay positive Big Blue faithful, because the season is young. Also, take solace in the fact that New York has lost the first game in both of their recent championship seasons (they actually went 0-2 to commence the 2007 campaign).
Unfortunately, their schedule, which was considered easy early in the offseason, appears to be quite formidable based on the results of opening weekend.
The Giants remaining opponents went 7-6 in Week 1 and three of the losses were impressive. The Green Bay Packers, who New York faces in Week 11, lost to the San Francisco 49ers on the road and their Week 3 opponent, the Carolina Panthers, fell to arguably the best team in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks (who they also face later this season) by a mere five points at home.
Even the San Diego Chargers, who blew a 21-point second half lead at home to the Houston Texans in a 31-28 loss, should be commended for playing one of the top teams in the AFC down to the final whistle.
Let's take a stroll through the Giants remaining 15 games, starting with another installment of the Manning Bowl Sunday afternoon. Outcome and score prediction included for each contest.
Week 2: Vs. Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning won't throw for seven touchdowns against New York. For starters, it hadn't happened in 44 years before last Thursday night so it won't be achieved in back-to-back games. Also, that would be a mean thing to do to his little brother.
The Giants defense, however, will still face a prolific passing attack that may contain the best set of weapons ever at the elder Manning's disposal. The availability of the concussed Prince Amukamara will be crucial as will a better Big Blue pass rush than was on display Sunday night (only two sacks against the Cowboys that occurred on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter).
The Giants have enough offense to stay with the Broncos but they will lose another shootout and fall to 0-2.
Prediction: Broncos 34, Giants 29
Week 3: @Carolina Panthers
The Giants will be a desperate team heading into Charlotte to face the Panthers if they fall to 0-2.
This won't be an easy place to get in the win column. The Panthers led the Seahawks for most of the second and third quarter on Sunday but ultimately lost a competitive, low-scoring game, 12-7. Particularly impressive was their ability to hold a strong Seattle rushing attack, spear-headed by the aggressive Marshawn Lynch, to only 70 yards on 26 carries.
The Panthers figure to also be motivated in this game to avenge an embarrassing 36-7 home loss to Big Blue in Week 3 of last season.
Despite these positives, the Giants should get their first 2013 victory here. The main reason why is the Giants passing attack, which will carve up a Panthers secondary that allowed Seattle to throw for 320 yards.
Prediction: Giants 26, Panthers 14
Week 4: @Kansas City Chiefs
The Giants probably wish Andy Reid had gone to a team that wasn't on their 2013 schedule.
The former Eagles coach of 14 seasons owns a lifetime record, including the playoffs, of 17-14 against Big Blue. This may not seem that dominant, but it is when you consider that he lost his first five games versus New York back in 1999 and 2000.
It is hard to draw too much from the Chiefs 28-2 Week 1 road victory over the Jaguars, since Jacksonville may be the worst team in the NFL. Still, it is fair to say that they are significantly better than the team that won two games in 2012. Kansas City is also a tough place to play when the home team is good and, based on their schedule, the Chiefs have a decent chance of being at least 2-1 heading into this matchup.
New York will make it back-to-back victories, though, because they appear to have the recipe to rattle new Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. In his last two games against the Giants, as a member of the 49ers, the signal-caller threw for only 396 yards off a 55 percent completion rate with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Prediction: Giants 24, Chiefs 22
Week 5: Vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Uh-oh, the Chip Kelly-led Eagles may be good after all.
A team that was thought to be in rebuilding mode after the end of the long Andy Reid tenure put the NFL on notice with a Monday night win over the NFC East-champion Redskins, in Washington no less. The final score of 33-27 is deceiving since Philadelphia led the game 33-7 late in the third quarter.
It is very possible that Kelly's speed-centric offense caught the 'Skins napping. Also, underdogs winning convincingly is not uncommon in the parity-ridden NFL. You just have to look at the Giants 26-3 win over the 49ers last season, a game they entered as heavy underdogs, as a recent example.
Even if the Eagles' Week 1 victory turns out to be somewhat fluky, New York figures to struggle against Philadelphia this season. Big Blue doesn't handle speed on defense very well, with none of the members of their secondary or linebackers particularly fast. Keith Rivers and Jacquian Williams are really the only exceptions to this rule.
Also, hurry-up offenses give them problems as well, though they handled it favorably the few times Dallas tried it on Sunday night.
Expect a split in the season series, with the Eagles grabbing the first matchup.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Giants 23
Week 6: @Chicago Bears
They didn't allow a single sack in the game.
This is big news since Chicago has given up 149 sacks over the last three seasons. The Giants were beneficiaries of this deficiency when these two teams last met in 2010. They sacked Bears' quarterbacks 10 times, including nine on Jay Cutler in the first half, in a 17-3 win in New York. The pounding Cutler took relegated him to the sideline for the entire second half of that game.
If Chicago can keep Cutler upright in this contest, they will have a great chance of defeating New York. Asking the Giants to win three consecutive road games is somewhat unrealistic so they get a loss here.
Prediction: Bears 23, Giants 20
Week 7: Vs. Minnesota Vikings
Based on their Week 1 performance, the Vikings appear to be a regression team after making the playoffs with a 10-6 record in 2012. They were out-gained by nearly 140 yards and lost 34-24 on the road to the Detroit Lions.
The Giants run defense held the Cowboys to 87 yards rushing. If they can get a similar performance against Adrian Peterson in this game they should win relatively easily. Why? Because Christian Ponder is 5-10 in his career on the road with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Prediction: Giants 30 Vikings 17
Week 8: @Philadelphia Eagles
Since I am assuming a split between these two teams, the Giants take this one after the home loss in Week 5. The victory gives Big Blue their first victory inside the division.
Prediction: Giants 31, Eagles 20
Week 10: Vs. Oakland Raiders
The 4-4 Giants will get a nice present coming out of their bye week—the woeful Oakland Raiders.
They actually played well in their Week 1 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts at home. After falling behind 14-0 in the first half, they rallied back behind the arm and legs of quarterback Terrelle Pryor (217 yards passing, 112 yards rushing) to take a brief 17-14 fourth quarter lead before ultimately losing 21-17.
Bad teams can be competitive in their own building but are usually pushovers on the road. This is by far the easiest game on the Giants schedule and the final score will indicate this fact.
Prediction: Giants 41, Raiders 17
Week 11: Vs. Green Bay Packers
The Packers tend to struggle against good quarterbacks, which is why this game bodes well for Big Blue.
Green Bay was lit up by the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick for 412 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1. In his last three games against the Cheeseheads, Eli Manning has averaged 309 yards passing with nine touchdowns and two interceptions.
When you throw in that New York has outscored Green Bay 75-30 in their last two meetings and this game is at MetLife Stadium, where the Giants went 6-2 last year, a victory appears probable.
Prediction: Giants 35, Packers 24
Week 12: Vs. Dallas Cowboys
Outside of the six turnovers, the Giants showed a lot of promise in Sunday night's loss.
There were stretches in the second half where their passing offense looked virtually unstoppable. A healthy Hakeem Nicks and an emerging Rueben Randle, along with the always explosive Victor Cruz, is too much for the Cowboys' overmatched secondary.
They also did a great job limiting big plays by the Cowboys. The longest gain from scrimmage by Dallas was only 23 yards.
If the Giants can match this formula and hold onto the ball, they will win this game. Expect a few long gainers from Dallas but continued struggles against the Big Blue air attack and far less turnover gifts.
Prediction: Giants 28, Cowboys 24
Week 13: @Washington Redskins
The Redskins were excellent stopping the run in 2012, allowing only 95.8 yards per game and an acceptable 4.2 yards per carry.
If Week 1 was any indication, the 2012 Redskins run defense is history.
They allowed an embarrassing 263 yards to the Eagles, with running back LeSean McCoy accounting for a majority of this total with a 184-yard effort. David Wilson may want to solve his fumbling woes in time for this game because it appears the Redskins might have some issues containing shifty, speedy backs.
Speaking of running the ball, the Redskins did it at will to the Giants last season. They piled up a ridiculous 456 yards in two games. Robert Griffin III's ability to execute the read option was a big reason why, as the Giants routinely looked off balance and unsure against the unique offensive set.
RG3 was clearly rusty against the Eagles following offseason knee surgery that caused him to miss all of the preseason. He only ran for 24 yards (he racked up 161 yards on the ground against the Giants in 2012) and threw two interceptions.
His knee should round into form as the season moves along. By this game, he figures to be close, if not fully back, to his 2012 form.
Expect a split between these two evenly matched teams, with the Redskins winning this one at home.
Prediction: Redskins 24, Giants 17
Week 14: @San Diego Chargers
Eli Manning has never beaten Philip Rivers, the Giants 2004 draft pick, technically speaking, that he was famously traded for, due to his preference to play in the Big Apple over sunny San Diego.
He is 0-2 lifetime against Rivers, but Manning should come into this game with the better squad.
The Chargers are clearly rebuilding, after firing longtime head coach/GM tandem Norv Turner and A.J. Smith in the offseason. They don't appear to have any clear strengths, even at the quarterback position. While Rivers is still dangerous, he has also become mistake-prone, with 48 interceptions in the last three seasons.
San Diego looks to be one of the weaker teams in the NFL but it is still never easy playing on the West Coast. Expect a close New York win.
Prediction: Giants 27, San Diego 26
Week 15: Vs. Seattle Seahawks
Seattle is an upper-echelon team and may very well win the Super Bowl this season. They have an excellent second-year quarterback in Russell Wilson, a physical rushing attack and arguably the best defense in the NFL.
A good example of the final strength is their work against Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in Week 1. They held him to 125 yards passing and 38 yards rushing in limiting Carolina to seven points and 253 yards of offense.
Fortunately for Big Blue, this game is in New York and it is the main reason they will come away with a victory.
The Seahawks are a terrifying team to play on the road. They were 8-0 at home in 2012 and, based on their schedule, could repeat the feat this season. However, they are a different team on the road.
They went 4-6, including the playoffs, away from home in 2012. Their close win in Carolina against what appears to be an average-at-best Panthers team suggests that they will once again be beatable outside of their building.
The Giants offense will muster up enough points to secure a crucial, late-season win.
Prediction: Giants 20, Seahawks 16
Week 16: @Detroit Lions
The Lions went 4-12 last season but their talent level certainly doesn't match this record. Their victory over the Vikings proves that they are a good bet to double their 2012 win total, which should put them in the hunt for at least a wild-card berth late in the season.
This game will likely carry playoff implications for Detroit and it helps that they get the Giants at home. This also has the potential to be a classic trap game, in-between a big win against Seattle and a potential division title tilt in Week 17 versus Washington.
Prediction: Lions 30, Giants 20
Week 17: Vs. Washington Redskins
Meatloaf once said that two out of three ain’t bad (as I woefully out-date myself with that comment). The schedule makers hope this mantra holds truth in this game.
In 2011, they got a division title-or-bust game between the Giants and Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Last season, in an obvious attempt to duplicate this fortune, they brought Philadelphia into New York for Week 17. The plan backfired, as the Eagles, who were expected to be good entering the season, were wrapping up a 4-12 campaign.
I think they get lucky here once again. The winner of this game will take the NFC East crown while the loser is just on the outside of the playoff picture in an ultra-competitive conference.
Big Blue wins a close game and gets a crack at a third Super Bowl title in six years. See, the 2013 season will turn out just fine.
Prediction: Giants 27, Redskins 23
Final Record: 10-6 (6-2 home, 4-4 road)