A Detailed Look at the New York Giants' 2014 Schedule

Patricia TrainaFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2014

A Detailed Look at the New York Giants' 2014 Schedule

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    USA TODAY Sports

    We interrupt our pre-draft analysis to celebrate the release of the 2014 NFL schedule.

    For the New York Giants, who finished 7-9 last season, their 2014 schedule, deemed the sixth easiest in the NFL by ESPN, will provide lots of opportunities to show off their new up-tempo offense and their upgraded defense.   

    “It’s a difficult and challenging schedule, as we knew it would be,” head coach Tom Coughlin said in a statement released by the team.

    “We play a lot of very good teams. We’re playing some teams that we haven’t played for a while that feature some key ingredients, some teams that are building and growing and teams with new coaches, guys I have a lot of respect for.”

    Since the Giants' opponents are still in the process of assembling their 2014 rosters, judging the strength of the schedule based on what the teams did last year would be a moot point, but there are still quite a few interesting games strategically placed that should tell us a lot about how far the Giants have actually come from last season.

    Here's the breakdown of the schedule, along with some history, early story lines and some fun trivia facts you can use to stump your friends at your next tailgate party.

     

    All historical scheduling information and results has been obtained from the New York Giants 2013 media guide and from Pro Football Reference, unless otherwise noted. 

     

Week 1: Sept. 8, at Detroit (Monday Night)

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Regular Season Series Record

    Tied, 20-20-1 

     

    The Last Time

    Dec. 22, 2013—The Giants eliminated the Lions from playoff consideration thanks to a 23-20 overtime win at Ford Field.  

     

    Story Lines

    The Giants will take the wrapping off their new offense, which based on some early feedback from quarterback Eli Manning and receiver Victor Cruz, could look very similar to the West Coast system that new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo came from in Green Bay.  

    Will that be an advantage for the Lions, who of course are in the same division as the Packers and who no doubt have a great deal of familiarity with how Mike McCarthy, McAdoo's old boss, runs things on offense?

    Recently, the Giants have struggled offensively in their season openers, so the Lions will be an excellent test in that regard.  

    Speaking of the offense, assuming the projected starting interior offensive line of Chris Snee at right guard, J.D. Walton at center and Geoff Schwartz at left guard doesn't change, they'll have a great test going against the Lions' defensive tackles Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh.

     

    Did You Know?

    • This game, which marks the first time since 1996-97 that the Giants have faced the Lions in consecutive seasons, also is the first of four matchups in which the Giants will face teams who have a new coaching staff.

    • The Giants will be looking for their third consecutive regular season win against Detroit. The Lions, meanwhile, will be looking for their first home win against the Giants since 1983, when they edged New York, 15-9.

    • This is the Giants’ first season opener on a Monday night since Sept. 10, 2001, a 31-20 loss to Denver. New York is 23-33-1 on Monday night, including a 15-25-1 road record. 

    • Regular season openers in general have not been very kind to the Giants of late, as they have lost three in row. The Giants have been even less fortunate with regular season openers on the road, having last won such a game on Sept. 12, 1999, a 17-13 win at Tampa Bay

    • Former Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan was hired by new Lions head coach Jim Caldwell to serve as Detroit's linebackers coach.

    • Over the last three regular season openers, the Giants have been outscored 88-62. 

     

Week 2: Sept. 14, vs. Arizona

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Regular Season Series Record

    Giants, 80-42-2

     

    The Last Time

    October 2, 2011The Giants topped the Cardinals, 31-27, at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of New York’s Super Bowl XLII victory over the New England Patriots.

     

    Story Lines

    The Cardinals made a move this offseason to upgrade their defensive secondary, adding former Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie to play opposite Patrick Peterson.

    Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required) Peterson allowed opposing receivers to catch just 49 of 90 passes (54.4 percent) for 688 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Cromartie had similar numbers, allowing 49 of 92 (53.3 percent) passes to be completed, the seventh lowest mark by a cornerback who took at least 75 percent of his team’s snaps last season.

    Like Peterson, Cromartie gave up seven touchdowns. Both corners also had three interceptions apiece for their respective clubs last season.

     

    Did You Know?

    • The Giants have won three out of five games against the Cardinals since 2004, the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning era. In those three victories, the Giants have never scored less than 31 points.

    • The Cardinals used to be a part of the NFC East. They moved to the NFC West after the 2002 season when the league re-aligned.

    • Former Giants tight end Jake Ballard re-signed with the Cardinals earlier this offseason. Arizona also employs former Giants kicker Jay Feely, who was with New York during the 2005-2006 seasons.

    • Per Pro Football Reference, Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's cousin is Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

Week 3: Sept. 21, vs. Houston

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Regular Season Series Record

    Giants, 2-1

     

    The Last Time

    Oct. 10, 2010—The Giants won their second straight game over Houston, this one a 34-10 decision.

     

    Story Lines

    The Texans currently hold the first overall pick in the draft. Will they add a new quarterback to replace Matt Schaub, who was traded to Oakland?

    Or are they eyeing defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who if teamed on the opposite end of J.J. Watt could create all kinds of matchup nightmares for the Giants’ interior offensive line, projected to be Chris Snee at right guard, J.D. Walton at center and Geoff Schwartz at left guard?  

     

    Did You Know?

    • This will be the fourth regular season meeting between the Giants and Texans, and the second of the Giants’ regular season games against a team headed by a new coaching staff. 
    • Former linebacker Doug Colman, a sixth-round draft pick of the Giants in 1996, is the Texans’ assistant special teams coach. Also now part of the Texans organization is running back Andre Brown, who signed with Houston this past offseason
    • Of all the other 31 NFL teams currently in existence, the Giants have faced the Texans in the fewest regular season games (three).  
    • The Giants were the first team to play Houston competitively. The two teams met in the 2002 Hall of Fame game, a 34-17 Giants win. The Giants, of course, will be returning to the Hall of Fame for the first time since 2002, this time to face the Buffalo Bills.  
    • The Texans have never scored more than 16 points against the Giants.

Week 4: Sept. 25, at Washington (Thurs. Night)/ Week 15: Dec. 14, vs. Washington

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    Regular Season Series Record

    Giants, 94-64-4

     

    The Last Time

    Dec. 29, 2013—The Giants closed out a disappointing 7-9 season with a 20-6 win over Washington during a rain-soaked game at MetLife Stadium despite losing quarterback Eli Manning midway through the game to a high ankle sprain.

     

    Story Lines

    The Giants will play their lone Thursday night game this season in Week 4. New York is 9-7-1 at FedEx Field and 3-1 at MetLife Stadium.  

    The Giants will be looking for their second consecutive season sweep of Washington, who by the way is the third of four teams New York will face that has a new head coach.

    They will also have a chance to gain some important ground in the division with their Week 4 game because it marks the start of a  period in which the Giants will face all three of their division rivals in a four-week span.

    Another story line to watch is the battle between Washington receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon against Giants cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara.

    According to Pro Football Reference, Jackson’s 50 career receptions for 831 yards and four touchdowns against the Giants are the most against any opponent he’s faced in his career. 

     

    Did You Know?

    • The Giants’ series with Washington dates back to 1932, making it one of the oldest series rivalries. Only three other teams still in existence have older rivalries with the Giants. These include the Bears, who first faced the Giants in 1925; the Cardinals, whose first game against the Giants was in 1926; and the Packers, who first met New York in 1928.

    • Although Week 4 of the NFL season isn’t considered to be that late in the season, it is the first time since 2010 that the Giants will not face a division opponent within the first two weeks of the regular season. From 2011-2013, the Giants opened and closed their regular season against an NFC East opponent.
    • Of the Giants' five scheduled primetime games this year, three will be against NFC East opponents, including the Week 4 game against Washington. The other two are at Philadelphia in Week 6 and against Dallas in Week 12.

    • The Thursday night game in Week 4 marks the third consecutive season they will face Washington under the lights at FedEx Field.

    • Former Giants receiver Ike Hilliard, the team’s first round draft pick (seventh overall) in 1997, is Washington’s receivers coach.

    • Other former Giants players currently on the Washington roster include safety Ryan Clark (2002-2003) and nose tackle Barry Cofield (2006-2010).

Week 5: Oct. 5, vs. Atlanta

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Regular Season Series Record

    Falcons, 11-10

     

    The Last Time

    Dec. 16, 2012—Fresh off a 52-27 triumph over the New Orleans Saints, the Giants were in a good position to gain ground for a postseason berth.

    However, when they rolled into Atlanta, most of the team apparently forgot to get off the bus. In what was a complete meltdown devoid of total team effort, the Falcons rolled over the Giants, 34-0, retaliation, some might believe, for the Giants defense blanking the Falcons offense in the 2011 Wild Card game the year before (Atlanta only scored a safety in that game).

     

    Story Lines

    If you thought the 7-9 Giants had it bad last year, just look at how the Falcons fell from being the NFC’s top seed in 2012 at 13-3 to finishing 4-12 and 14th out of 16 teams in the conference.

    Atlanta currently has the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, where their draft needs, per Pro Football Talk, include a pass rusher, offensive tackle, safety and tight end.

     

    Did You Know?

    • Among the former Giants players currently on the Falcons roster are defensive end Osi Umenyiora (2003-2012) and kicker Matt Bryant (2002-2003).

    • Atlanta's defensive coordinator Mike Nolan served in the same capacity with the Giants during the 1993-1996 seasons. 

    • This game will be Atlanta’s first regular season visit to MetLife Stadium to face the Giants. 

    • The Giants’ 2009 overtime win at home against Atlanta snapped a streak that saw the visiting team in the series win the previous 12 games dating back to 1981, the longest such streak in NFL history. 

Week 6: Oct. 12, at Eagles (Sunday Night)/ Week 17: Dec. 28, vs. Eagles

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    Regular Season Series Record

    Giants, 82-74-2

     

    The Last Time

    Oct. 27, 2013—The Giants topped the Eagles, 15-7, just three weeks after losing the first game of the annual series, 36-21.

     

    Story Lines

    With safety Will Hill’s career in doubt—per multiple reports, Hill is once again facing another drug-related suspension that Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports could be anywhere from six to eight weeks if the third-year safety doesn’t win his appeal—Hill would almost certainly miss the first game against the Eagles.

    That is if the Giants don’t part ways with him before then. Vacchiano also reported that the Giants are “livid” with Hill for this latest transgression and that he is “likely ‘done’ with the team” regardless of the outcome of his appeal. 

    That’s not good news considering the Giants will have to now figure out a way to cover Eagles running back Darren Sproles, acquired in a trade from New Orleans.

    Presumably, linebacker Jacquian Williams might end up drawing that assignment, but Williams has not had quite the impact on the field that Hill has had thus far. 

     

    Did You Know?

    • The Giants and Eagles have split their season series for three consecutive seasons, the first time that has happened since 1952-55. The last time the Giants swept the season series from the Eagles was in 2007.
    • The seven points scored by the Eagles against the Giants in their last meeting was the lowest point total by Philadelphia under new head coach Chip Kelly
    • If you blinked last season, you probably missed the transaction, but Eagles linebacker Emmanuel Acho was briefly a member of the Giants’ practice squad.
    • This will be the sixth consecutive year that the Giants-Eagles season series will begin in Philadelphia and conclude in New York.
    • This will also be the third year out of the last four that these two clubs will face each other in the regular season finale. 

Week 7: Oct. 19, at Dallas/ Week 12: Nov. 23, vs. Dallas (Sunday Night)

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    Regular Season Series Record

    Dallas, 59-42-2

     

    The Last Time

    Nov. 24, 2013—Desperately needing a win in order to keep their slim 2013 playoff hopes alive, the Giants came up on the short end of the stick at home. Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey converted a 35-yard field goal attempt as time expired for the 24-21 win. 

     

    Story Lines

    Dallas has revamped its run defense, which last year finished 30th against the run after allowing 4.7 yards per rush attempt.

    Gone are end DeMarcus Ware and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff. Former Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton will attempt to provide some beef in the middle of the Dallas defensive line and will test the Giants' new offensive line.

    For the second meeting this season, the Cowboys will be coming off a Week 11 bye (Nov. 16). 

    The Week 12 game is scheduled to be the Sunday night matchup.

     

    Did You Know?

    • Last season marked the first time Dallas swept the season series with the Giants since 2007. The Giants last swept the season series with Dallas in 2011.

    • The Giants are 19-32-1 in Dallas and 4-1 in AT&T Stadium.

    • The Week 12 game will mark the third consecutive season the Giants will face the Cowboys in primetime.

    • Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was with the Giants in 2000 as a backup quarterback.

    • Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown spent the 1998 and 1999 seasons with the Giants before a motorcycle accident ended his playing career.

    • Dallas hired former longtime Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope this offseason after he was let go by the Giants.    

Week 8: Bye

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    While the rest of the NFL plays, the Giants will have a chance to get away for a rare weekend in the fall.
    While the rest of the NFL plays, the Giants will have a chance to get away for a rare weekend in the fall.Gemunu Amarasinghe

    Last year, the Giants' bye week fell after the eighth week of the season. This year, it will fall after the seventh week of the season.

    Although it's not exactly at the midway point, head coach Tom Coughlin is still pleased with the timing.

    “The bye, again, is in a good spot for us,” Coughlin said in a statement released by the team.

     

Week 9: Nov. 3, vs. Indianapolis (Monday Night)

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    Regular Season Series Record

    Colts, 8-6

     

    The Last Time

    Sept. 19, 2010—The Colts, led by Peyton Manning at quarterback, schooled Eli Manning’s Giants, 38-14, in front of a sold-out crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium.  

     

    Story Lines

    The Giants emerge from their bye week with a big Monday night home game. While every game is important, this first game back from the bye takes on a whole new level of importance given where it falls in the schedule.

    After this game, the Giants, off of a short work week, fly across the country to face the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks and then will host the 49ers the following week. That’s three 2013 playoff teams in a row. 

    If the Giants have hit their stride by this point in the season, this stretch should be a good litmus test for gauging their chances at qualifying for the 2014 postseason.

    There is good news. According to Pro Football Reference's historical data for the Giants franchise, the Giants are 7-3 in games after the bye week and have won their last six post-bye week games.

     

    Did You Know?

    • Eli Manning is 0-2 against the Colts in his career. Both times, the Colts were quarterbacked by his brother, so this upcoming meeting will be the first time in the regular season that Manning will be facing a Colts team led by his brother’s successor, Andrew Luck.

    • With the exception of the New York Jets and New England Patriots, the Giants rarely play a team they’ll be facing in the regular season in the preseason. This year will be one of those rare exceptions, as the Giants will face the Colts on Aug. 16 in Indianapolis.
       
    • The Giants last defeated the Colts on Dec. 22, 2002, a 44-27 win at Indianapolis.

    • Current Colts players and coaches with ties to the Giants include running back Ahmad Bradshaw, receiver Hakeem Nicks and defensive secondary coach Mike Gillhamer. Gillhamer was an offensive assistant in his first three years with the Giants before being promoted to running backs coach in 2000 under Jim Fassel. 

Week 10: Nov. 9, at Seattle

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    Regular Season Series Record

    Giants, 9-7

     

    The Last Time

    Dec. 15, 2010—The Seahawks crushed the Giants, 23-0, handing New York its second shutout of its miserable 2013 campaign.    

     

    Story Lines

    Fresh off a Monday night home game, the Giants will travel to CenturyLink Field, home of the legendary “12th Man.”  

    The Seahawks' home crowd is well-known for its success in creating ear-splitting noise levels that have caused visiting teams grief—anyone remember the Seahawks' 24-21 win over the Giants in 2005 in which New York committed 11 false start penalties?

    If the cross-country trip on a short work week combined with facing the defending Super Bowl champions on their territory aren’t enough to get the juices flowing for this game, then how about a little early trash talking?

    Former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond III fired the opening shot this week, opining that the Giants defensive secondary can be just as good “if not better” than Seattle's very successful “Legion of Boom.”

    “Most definitely,” Thurmond said when asked if the Giants’ revamped defensive secondary can stack up. 

    "It's just talented guys. In Seattle, we didn't have two first-rounders. We had a bunch of guys who were later-round picks, but who had first-round-caliber ability. We do have that potential. We just have to prove it this year."

    Something tells me that Thurmond’s words are already on the bulletin board in his old team’s defensive backs' meeting room.

     

    Did You Know?

    • The Giants are 7-19 against defending Super Bowl champions.

Week 11: Nov. 16, vs. San Francisco

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Regular Season Series Record

    Giants, 15-4

     

    The Last Time

    Oct. 14, 2012—The Giants defeated the 49ers, 26-3, at Candlestick Park thanks to four field goals by kicker Lawrence Tynes and a six-yard touchdown reception by receiver Victor Cruz. 

    In that game, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and his offense committed three turnovers, with Smith being pulled in favor of current starter, Colin Kaepernick.

     

    Story Lines

    The 49ers could be without outside linebacker Aldon Smith, their pass rushing specialist who is potentially facing a suspension by the league stemming from his April 14 arrest for allegedly making a false report of a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport. 

    The absence of Smith would be a huge loss for the 49ers defense, as in 43 career games, Smith has 42.0 sacks.

    The 49ers could also potentially be without inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who is rehabbing from a gruesome knee injury in the NFC Championship game in January.

    According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, Bowman, who has averaged 120.5 tackles per season since entering the league in 2010, could start the season on the PUP list to allow him more time to rehab.

     

    Did You Know?

    • This will be the 49ers’ first visit to face the Giants at MetLife Stadium. The Giants last hosted the 49ers during the 2008 season at the old Giants Stadium.

    • The Giants have won five of the last six meetings against the 49ers since 2005, including a 20-17 overtime victory in the 2011 NFC Championship Game.

    • In 37 regular and postseason meetings, the Giants have outscored the 49ers by only 14 points (755-741).

    • San Francisco safety Craig Dahl spent his rookie season in 2007 as a member of the Giants, playing in nine games with two starts.

    • San Francisco assistant secondary coach Greg Jackson was a Giants third-round draft pick in 1989. Jackson played with the Giants until 1993.

     

Week 13: Nov. 30, at Jacksonville

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Regular Season Series Record

    Giants, 3-2

     

    The Last Time

    Nov. 28, 2010—Quarterback Eli Manning threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lead the Giants back from a 17-6 halftime deficit, sealing a 24-20 win over the Jaguars at MetLife Stadium.

     

    Story Lines

    It probably won’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, and you never want to say never. However, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin will more than likely be making his final regular season appearance as a NFL head coach in the city of the team that launched his NFL head coaching career.  

     

    Did You Know?

    • Coughlin has been a head coach in every one of the five meetings between the Giants and Jaguars. He was the Jaguars’ head coach from 1994 to 2002, before coming to the Giants in 2004. 

    • Coughlin will be looking for his first win as an opposing coach in a game played at EverBank Field. 

Week 14: Dec. 7, at Tennessee

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Regular Season Series Record

    Tied, 5-5

     

    The Last Time

    Sept. 26, 2010—Eli Manning threw for 386 yards and led his team to a 10-10 tie at the half. However, the bottom fell out in the second half for the Giants, as the Titans scored 19 unanswered points en route to a 29-10 win.

     

    Story Lines

    NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan raised an interesting point in his look at how the players must step up for the Giants in each of their 2014 games.

    Of the Giants’ game against the Titans, he noted that for the Giants to win, they have to go after quarterback Jake Locker, and he specifically mentions second-year defensive end Damontre Moore as needing to have a big game.

    For Moore to make any kind of an impact, he has to earn his opportunities in training camp, just like anyone else.

    In fact, it's not just Moore who will have to step up by this point in the season. The Giants will be looking for all of their young players to start emerging from the shadows and contributing in some way, most notably players such as safety Cooper Taylor, running back Michael Cox and receiver Rueben Randle.

     

    Did You Know?

    • The Giants have lost their last five games against the Titans dating back to the days when the franchise was located in Houston and was known as the Oilers.

    • The last time the Giants defeated the Titans/Oilers was Nov. 21, 1994 in a Monday night game played in the old Astrodome. That 1994 season was the last year of former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride's tenure as head coach of the Oilers.

    • The Titans are the final team the Giants will face this season that has a new coaching staff.

Week 16: Dec. 21, at St. Louis

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Regular Season Series Record

    Rams, 25-14

     

    The Last Time

    Sept. 19, 2011—Former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, then the head coach of the Rams, faced his former team in a Monday night Giants home game.

    It didn’t end well for “Spags,” whose Rams suffered a 28-16 loss on national television. He was eventually fired at the end of the 2011 season while the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl that year.

     

    Story Lines

    I haven’t really mentioned the Giants’ starting offensive tackles, projected this season to be Will Beatty at left tackle and Justin Pugh at right tackle.

    Now would probably be a good time to do so, as the Rams sport a very strong pair of defensive ends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Both of those defenders have combined for 85.0 sacks and 16 forced fumbles.

    Pugh, who last year logged a strong rookie campaign, is looking to build off of that in his second season. He told reporters earlier this week that he added 10 pounds of muscle, which he said was something that head coach Tom Coughlin had wanted him to do.

    “I feel very good. I’m stronger than ever,” Pugh said. “Now we’re going to start running, get that going. Continue to get better, continue to work hard and continue to work with the new guys and really get this thing going.”

    Beatty, who struggled last season only to have a forgettable year capped with a severe leg injury suffered in the regular season finale, didn’t sound so sure that he would be ready for training camp.

    “(The doctors) didn’t give me a (recovery time),” he told me. “It was more like, ‘Let’s build you up.’”  

    “I haven’t been through a knee injury before," he added. "The more you do, the faster you regain strength in your muscles. Being out here and just starting back up, I’m trying to keep pace with everyone else and not have any setbacks.”

    If Beatty has to miss training camp and the preseason—and I believe that to be a very real possibility—there’s no telling how quickly he can get up to speed on the physical aspect of the game as the new playbook gets installed.

     

    Did You Know?

    • The Giants have won the last five games against the Rams dating back to 2002. Over that period, New York has outscored St. Louis 162-87.

    • Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Rams head coach Jeff Fisher have faced each other in 18 regular-season games, the second-highest number of meetings between two active coaches. Fisher, who regularly used to face Coughlin when he was with Tennessee and Coughlin was with Jacksonville, is 11-7 against the Giants’ head coach.

    • The Giants are 2-3 against the Rams in games played in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

    • Former Giants defensive line coach Mike Waufle currently holds that same post for the Rams. Also, John Fassel, the son of former Giants head coach Jim Fassel, is the Rams’ special teams coordinator.

     

    Patricia Traina is the senior editor for Inside Football. All quotes and information obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter, @Patricia_Traina.