New York Giants 2009 Preview: Game- by-Game Analysis
Going into the 2009 season, the Giants have very high expectations and look to contend for the Super Bowl. If the Giants are able to stay healthy, stick to their strengths, and play up to their potential, it should be quite the year for the Giants and their fans.
9/13/09 - Washington Redskins at New York Giants
Once again, these two teams will square off for the opening kickoff to their respective seasons. The Redskins' big splash this off-season was signing defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
They also found help along the defensive line through the draft, plucking Brian Orakpo with the 13th overall pick.
These two teams always play each other tough in a classic NFC East battle. Look for the Giants to get after Jason Campbell and show the rest of the league their new and improved pass rush. The Giants boast the best defensive front in the league, and the Redskins will be the first team to feel their wrath.
Prediction - Giants 24 (1-0), Redskins 10
9/20/09 - New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
The Giants and Cowboys square off in the Sunday night game of the week, and the stars will sure be out in prime time.
The Cowboys big move this off season was releasing Terrell Owens, so now all eyes will be on Tony Romo. The Giants always have difficulty containing scrambling quarterbacks, which is part of the reason the Cowboys (with Romo) and the Eagles (with McNabb) are always tough for the Giants. However, with Tony Romo adjusting to life without Owens, the Cowboys will be focused on getting the running game going with Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice.
The Giants defense will load the box and make the Cowboys receivers beat them, and I just don't see that happening.
Prediction - Giants 27 (2-0), Cowboys 17
9/27/09 - New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Giants will be on the road once again, this time in Tampa Bay where many people believe the Bucs are in the midst of a rebuilding year.
Their quarterback situation is up in the air, as rookie Josh Freeman may end up starting. After teams saw what Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan did last season, the Bucs are hoping they can catch the same lightning in the bottle.
The Bucs defense lost its franchise player when Derrick Brooks was released. Expect the Giants to take care of the Bucs and see their record improve to a perfect 3-0.
Prediction - Giants 31 (3-0) Buccaneers 13
10/4/09 - New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs
For the third straight week, the Giants take to the road. This time their destination will be Kansas City, where they will meet their first AFC opponent.
It is very tough to play well on the road, but that doesn't affect the Giants. Kansas City is rebuilding, with new coach Todd Haley in town. Matt Cassel is the new quarterback, and the Chiefs are making the switch to a 3-4 defense.
Being only the fourth week of the season, the learning curve will still be there for the defense. The Giants should be able to handle the Chiefs and return home undefeated.
Prediction - Giants 27 (4-0), Chiefs 10
10/11/09 - Oakland Raiders at New York Giants
In front of an amped up crowd, the Giants should be able to handle the suspect Raiders.
The Raiders show flashes, and have some very talented players, but have not been able to put it all together. The Raiders have a strong running game, and they try to go over the top with Jamarcus Russell's strong arm.
Oakland also has a strong defense and this game will be a lot closer than people may predict. It is always tough for a West Coast team to come play in the East, and that will play a disastrous role for the Raiders in this game.
Prediction - Giants 17 (5-0), Raiders 13
10/18/09 - New York Giants at New Orleans Saints
Many people feel the Saints are due for a great year, after improving their defense in the off-season.
Their offense was never in question with Drew Brees at the helm, spreading the ball to all of his many weapons. This could be a very tough game for the Giants, especially playing in the Superdome, which is one of the toughest stadiums to visit.
The Giants will try to play keep-away from the Saints offense, but their rebuilt defense will keep this game very close. The Giants lose their first game of the season.
Prediction - Saints 21, Giants 17 (5-1)
10/25/09 - Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants
Coming off of their first loss of the season, the Giants will look to rebound at the Meadowlands against the defending NFC champions.
In the prime-time game Sunday, the Giants will once again prove to everyone that they are the team to beat in the NFC. Teams coming off of a Super Bowl loss rarely return to the playoffs the next season. Look for the Cardinals to have a down year.
Darnell Dockett and Anquan Boldin have tried demanding trades this off-season, but to this point they have been unsuccessful. Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in the league, so look for a competitive matchup with Corey Webster.
Prediction - Giants 28 (6-1) Cardinals 17
11/1/09 - New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
This should be a classic matchup of NFC East rivals, as the Giants travel down the Jersey Turnpike to meet the Eagles at "The Linc."
The Giants and Eagles play each other close every meeting, and this should be no different. The Eagles have a new left tackle (Jason Peters) and new offensive weapons acquired through the draft in wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy, and tight end Cornelius Ingram.
The difference in this game will be Donovan McNabb and his ability to escape pressure. These two teams are very familiar with each other, and we can expect this to be one of the best games of the season.
Prediction - Eagles 17, Giants 14 (6-2)
11/8/09 - San Diego Chargers at New York Giants
The Chargers travel east to meet the Giants at the Meadowlands. The Chargers return practically the same team as last year that lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers in the AFC Championship game.
The Chargers have many offensive weapons with Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, and Antonio Gates.
On the defensive side of the ball, they get Shawne Merriman back from injury, and this year Antonio Cromartie won't be playing with a broken hip.
The Chargers are a very strong team, but they struggle when traveling east. The Giants will look to make a statement against one of the best teams in the NFL, and go into their bye week on a high note.
Prediction - Giants 24 (7-2), Chargers 23
11/15/09 - Bye Week
The Giants are grateful for having a late bye week this season—it offers them a chance to recharge their batteries. With winter in full swing by now in the Meadowlands, the Giants smash-mouth style will become even more prominent with the swirling winds and tough climate.
With a rough schedule ahead of them, they will look to come out strong and set the tone for the rest of the NFC.
11/22/09 - Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
The Giants have a reputation for struggling in their first game after the bye week, but not this year. Tom Coughlin will make sure they are focused, and have their minds set on the prize, which is the NFC East title.
The Falcons had a great season last year, but look for them to struggle this season. It is not a knock against them, but the vastly improved Panthers and Saints will be able to beat up on them.
The Falcons have a very suspect defense, which is undersized and built for the turf they play on in their home dome. With the weather playing a factor in the Meadowlands, expect a big game out of Brandon Jacobs.
Prediction - Giants 31 (8-2), Falcons 17
11/26/09 - New York Giants at Denver Broncos
Playing the night game on Thanksgiving, it is a very short week for the Giants.
Luckily for them, their bye week was not too long ago, and they should be able to rebound quickly from the bumps and bruises of the Falcons game. Many "experts" are predicting a down year for the Broncos, as they prepare for life after Jay Cutler.
On top of that, they didn't add as many defensive players as the public expected. Look for the Giants to fly out to Denver on this short week and handle the Broncos. A great matchup to watch for is the young left tackle Ryan Clady lining up across from an array of pass rushers which will include Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Mathias Kiwanuka.
Prediction - Giants 27 (9-2), Broncos 13
12/6/09 - Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
In this cold-weather game, the Giants will look to make a statement to the rest of the NFC East. This game begins the three-game stretch versus all three division rivals.
Tony Romo is known for struggling in December, and with this game being played outside at the Meadowlands, the Cowboys will have to rely upon the run game. The Giants are going to load the box and challenge Romo to beat them with the anticipated wind and cold weather climate favoring the home team.
Offensively, the smash-mouth game will be on full display as Brandon Jacobs will wear down the defense. Eli Manning will use short, intermediate routes and let the receivers do the work with the ball in their hands.
Prediction - Giants 30 (10-2), Cowboys 21
12/13/09 - Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
The Giants will surely remember the game from earlier in the year and look to rebound against the Eagles. This very well could be a preview of the playoffs, as both teams are going to be very strong again this season.
If the Eagles fall behind early, it plays right into the Giants' hands, as Andy Reid will get away from running the ball. With the typical mid-December weather, McNabb and his receivers will struggle to make plays against the Giants secondary.
On the offensive side of the ball, look for the Giants to once again turn to Jacobs to make a statement. In both games of this season series, I have the home team winning.
Prediction - Giants 24 (11-2), Eagles 20
12/21/09 - New York Giants at Washington Redskins
This is the lone Monday night game for the Giants and the Redskins will be playing for their playoff lives. The Giants have a tendency to take a game off every season, and this could very well be the game.
Feeling good off of their victory versus the Eagles and looking ahead to the Carolina Panthers, there could be a letdown for frustrated Giant fans.
At Washington, the Redskins fans will be making extra noise during the prime-time game. Another thing i'm looking forward to is hearing Jon Gruden in the booth, as he replaces Tony Kornheiser.
Prediction - Redskins 24, Giants 14 (11-3)
12/27/09 - Carolina Panthers at New York Giants
The Giants end their 2009 season just the way they completed their 2008 season: facing the Panthers at home, and then the Vikings on the road.
This game will be a bit watered-down; the Giants and Panthers won't want their entire playbook on display as these teams have a good chance of meeting again in the playoffs. Both teams play a physical style, as the Panthers have DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. This game will be a classic battle, just like last season as both teams will still try to make a statement.
I was at the game last year, and the stadium was rocking. Look for this game to be the same way, as it is the last regular-season home game in Giants Stadium.
Prediction - Giants 21 (12-3) Panthers 17
1/3/09 - New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
The Giants will be looking for payback after last season's game, and they'll try to build momentum entering the playoffs.
In 2007, they Giants had "the mo," and in 2008 they didn't. We all know how those seasons ended. Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the NFL and loves running to the left side of the line behind Steve Hutchinson and Bryant "Mount" McKinnie.
The Giants will challenge Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels to beat them. The Vikings are going into training camp with both quarterbacks fighting for the first spot.
The Vikings have a great run defense with Pat and Kevin Williams clogging the middle. This game will be a tough, grind-it-out game that is very close.
Prediction - Giants 16 (13-3), Vikings 13
Going into the 2009 season, the Giants expect to be in the playoffs once again and contend for the Super Bowl. They need their wide receivers to mature quickly and step up as reliable targets for Eli Manning.
The Giants will have a top-three defense at the end of the season, and the only question people have is how their offense will produce without Plaxico Burress. This being the last year in Giants stadium, they will look to send the stadium out in style by hosting the NFC Championship game.
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