New York Giants 2015 Schedule: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin generally comes up with the ideas for different motivational sayings that end up emblazoned on signage around the Giants training facility and on the T-shirts that are distributed to the team.
This year, Coughlin doesn’t have to think too hard to find a saying because the work was already done for him by team co-owner John Mara, who agreed with reporters’ interpretation that the coming 2015 season is a “win or else” proposition.
The Giants have missed the playoffs the last three years, with their annual regular-season records over the last two season going in the wrong direction. That obviously has to change in order to avoid having Mara and his business partner Steve Tisch from blowing up the entire football operations group and starting from scratch.
Here are some quick hits about the Giants’ 2015 schedule:
- Three opponents earned postseason berths, including the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, Dallas and Carolina.
- Four of the Giants’ opponents have new head coaches (Jets, Buffalo, Atlanta and San Francisco).
- Three teams, Miami, Philadelphia and the Jets, signed players who were with the Giants last season. The Dolphins lead the way with three ex-Giants, center J.D. Walton, linebacker Spencer Paysinger and cornerback Zack Bowman. The Eagles signed cornerback Walter Thurmond and the Jets signed offensive lineman James Brewer.
- Only four teams—New England, Buffalo, Dallas and Philadelphia—posted records above .500.
- Three teams—Washington, Jets and Tampa Bay—finished with won-loss records worse than the Giants' 6-10 mark.
Although there is still a lot of offseason left and the NFL draft lies ahead, the next 17 slides attempt to provide a best guess at the outcome of each game.
|at New Orleans|
|at Tampa Bay|
|New York Jets|
Patricia Traina covers the Giants for Inside Football, the Journal Inquirer and Sports Xchange.
Week 1: At Dallas
This will be the Giants’ third regular-season opener against Dallas in the last four seasons.
One of the highlights of this game will be Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s quest to become the sole possessor of the league’s record for consecutive regular-season games played with at least 90 receiving yards. Beckham currently shares the mark (nine games) with former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has been a master at carving up the Giants defense. Romo has recorded 12 career regular-season games, the most of any opposing quarterback, in which he’s completed at least 60 percent of his passes.
The Giants have switched to smaller and faster linebackers on defense and will be looking for their linebackers to do a better job in closing off the middle of the field, which Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has routinely exploited against them over the years.
The big prize for the Cowboys, though, is landing former Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy on a one-year contract. Hardy is currently awaiting word as to how long of a suspension he must serve for having violated the league’s personal conduct policy.
According to Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer, Hardy could be looking at a minimum of six games without pay. If that comes to fruition, Hardy will miss the first meeting with the Giants.
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense took two-and-a-half games before it finally clicked in 2007 (ironically, the Giants also opened at Dallas that season before going on to win the Super Bowl).
The Giants can ill-afford to get off to a slow start in this, a win-or-else season, especially in the division.
PREDICTION: Cowboys 34, Giants 27
Week 2: Atlanta
The regular-season series is tied, 11-11. The Giants and Falcons have met one time in the postseason, that being a Giants' win in the 2011 playoff race.
New York has won five out of the last six matchups, including the postseason game. The last time the two teams met was on October 5, 2014, a 30-20 Giants win.
During the 1981-2007 seasons, the visiting team won 12 consecutive games in the series, the longest such streak in NFL history, which included seven Giants victories in Atlanta.
The Falcons might have a new head coach, Dan Quinn, former Seattle defensive coordinator, but the core of their offense’s heart, the passing game, is still widely intact.
Quarterback Matt Ryan, 1-2 against the Giants in his career, should have receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones at his disposal. Ryan is 78 of 119 in regular-season pass attempts against the Giants (65.5 percent), with six touchdowns and only one interception.
PREDICTION: Giants 34, Falcons 24
Week 3: Washington
The Giants will play their second prime-time game in three weeks, this one on a short workweek against Washington, against whom they lead the regular-season series 96-64-4.
The Giants have swept the season series against Washington two years in a row and have won five of the last six games against their NFC East division foe, whom they are also facing on a Thursday night for the second year in a row.
Washington’s quarterback situation is pretty much the same as it was last year: unsettled. Robert Griffin III is projected to be the team’s starter, but despite having a career 104.9 passer rating against them, he’s still 1-3 against the Giants.
The Giants did a nice job last year of shutting down running back Alfred Morris, who was held to 112 yards on 26 carries in both games, and receiver DeSean Jackson, held to four catches for 24 yards in two games.
If the Giants can do the same, they should be able to keep their winning streak against their division foes alive and well
PREDICTION: Giants 24, Washington 17
Week 4: At Buffalo
The Giants commence the toughest part of their 2015 schedule in Week 4 with a visit to see old friend and ex-New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, now the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
Historically, the Bills have gotten the better of the Giants, leading the regular-season series, 5-6, but the Giants have won three out of the last four games, including the last two in a row. The last meeting between these two teams, who met in Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, was on October 16, 2011, a 27-24 Giants win.
However, this isn’t the Buffalo Bills of old. After having his spirits broken by the Jets’ previous regime, Ryan is back to his brash-talking ways, which this time around seem to be backed by the new ownership of Terry and Kim Pegula.
That’s right, Ryan, who famously declared that he wanted to create an on-field bully out of a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999, has put his money where his mouth is so far, acquiring running back LeSean McCoy in a trade with the Eagles; guard Richie Incognito and fullback Jerome Felton, both unrestricted free agents; and RFA tight end Charles Clay, previously with Miami.
Buffalo also re-signed pass-rushing defensive end Jerry Hughes and added receiver Percy Harvin to a receiving corps that already has Sammy Watkins and brought in quarterback Matt Cassel.
It all looks good on paper, but the biggest question mark for the Bills remains their quarterback situation. They obtained Matt Cassel, who spent the last two seasons with the Vikings after stints with the Chiefs and Patriots.
Cassel has only thrown for over 3,000 yards twice in his career. He has also completed just 59 percent of his pass attempts.
E.J. Manuel, the 16th overall pick in the 2013 draft, hasn’t been that much better, completing 58.6 of his career pass attempts and throwing 16 touchdowns to 12 career interceptions.
The bottom line is that the Bills defense will certainly give the Giants offense a run for its money, but whether the Buffalo offense will be able to be productive enough to keep pace with the Giants remains to be seen.
PREDICTION: Giants 24, Bills 13
Week 5: San Francisco
The Giants face their second opponent with a new head coach this season (Atlanta being the other) as Jim Tomsula and the San Francisco 49ers come to town for a Sunday night game at MetLife Stadium.
Although they don’t play each other very often, the regular-season series has featured some close games. The two teams have met 30 times in the regular season, the series tied at 15-15, and the 49ers having outscored the Giants in the regular-season series 178-176.
The Giants and 49ers have met seven times in the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning era, including the 2011 NFC Championship Game. New York has won five of those seven meetings and barely just missed wining a sixth game the last time these two clubs met on Nov. 16, 2014, a 16-10 49ers win.
What will 2015 hold? The 49ers lost running back Frank Gore to the Colts via free agency.
The biggest hits suffered by the 49ers is on the defensive side of the ball, where they will be without linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, both of whom retired.
Sunday night games have not been friendly to the Giants, who are 19-25-1 in such games, including 9-11 at home and 10-14-1 on the road.
The 49ers might have an advantage here considering the 8:30 p.m. kickoff start is actually a 5:30 start for them if they keep themselves on West Coast time, but that might not be enough to overcome all the changes to their roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
PREDICTION: Giants 31, 49ers 24
Week 6: At Philadelphia
Week 6 is payback time for the Giants, who will try to pay back the Philadelphia Eagles on national television for last year’s total humiliation.
Truth be told, the Giants had just as much of a hand in that meltdown, though the final nail in New York’s coffin seemed to be when receiver Victor Cruz went down with the season-ending patellar tendon injury. The Giants flat-lined after that never to recover for the rest of the year.
Will this year be different for New York, who leads the regular-season series 83-77-2, but who was swept by the Eagles last year by a combined 61-26 score?
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is believed to still be yearning for quarterback Marcus Mariota in the draft, so much so that, according to Geoffrey Arnold of The Oregonian, Kelly is desperately trying to move up in the draft to the Titans No. 2 spot so he can select his college signal caller.
Besides the quarterback, a key for New York will be stopping running back DeMarco Murray, formerly of the Cowboys, from pounding them into submission.
According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Murray is averaging 5.2 rushing yards per attempt against the Giants, his teams going undefeated when he has rushed for at least 85 yards against New York.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles upgraded their pass defense, ranked 31st in the league last year.
They added cornerbacks Byron Maxwell, who per Pro Football Focus finished with a 78.5 NFL rating in coverage last season, and former Giant Walter Thurmond III to the mix.
Will that be enough to limit the potential damage that the Giants’ passing game is capable of inflicting? In addition, how nice would it be for Cruz, assuming he is ready, to have a game for the ages?
History doesn’t favor the Giants, who are 9-15 against the Eagles in the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning era, and who are 22-35-1 on Monday nights, including 15-26-1 on the road.
PREDICTION: Eagles 31, Giants 17
Week 7: Dallas
The Giants and Cowboys will meet again for their 2015 regular-season wrap up, this time at MetLife Stadium.
Assuming my prediction about the Giants losing to the Cowboys in Dallas on opening day is correct, that would make this game a “must win” for New York if it's to keep pace in the division.
Further adding to the intrigue is that the Cowboys will be coming off a Week 6 bye week while the Giants, by this point in the season, will have played 10 games nonstop, including preseason.
It will be interesting to see how well the Giants hold up as they continue to plug away toward the halfway point in the regular-season schedule. For the sake of all those who follow the team, New York will get stronger and be humming along like a well-oiled machine rather than starting to tire and get sloppy on the field.
Also of interest will be whether the Cowboys have defensive end Greg Hardy back by this game, if he is suspended by the commissioner for his violation of the league's personal conduct Policy.
PREDICTION: Giants 37, Cowboys 34
Week 8: At New Orleans
The New Orleans Saints are undergoing a massive transition thanks in part to an inflated cap that forced them to part ways with several key players of the past such as tight end Jimmy Graham, traded to Seattle; running back Pierre Thomas, a salary-cap cut; and receiver Kenny Stills, traded to Miami.
Although the Saints added some new pieces in an attempt to improve their 31st-ranked defense, most notably former Cowboys OLB/DE Anthony Spencer, it’s going to take time for all the new pieces on the Saints roster to jell.
The Giants, by the way, are 15-12 in the regular season against the Saints, whom they last met on December 9, 2012, a 52-27 crushing by New York that snapped a three-game losing streak against Sean Payton and company.
PREDICTION: Giants 30, Saints 17
Week 9: At Tampa Bay
If the various mock drafts are spot on regarding their prediction that the Bucs will anoint Florida State prospect Jameis Winston as their next starting quarterback, go ahead and put this one in the win column for the Giants.
While Winston might very well end up as a good NFL-caliber quarterback one day, he is going to experience growing pains.
One such growing pain that just might continue with him is ball security. Norman Chad of The Washington Post notes that Winston threw 18 interceptions in 467 pass attempts during his college career.
A healthy tandem of Giants cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara to go along with an aggressive pass rush that is still being tweaked should be just enough to rattle a rookie quarterback with a history of turnovers into making some bad throws.
PREDICTION: Giants 31, Bucs 17
Week 10: New England
You remember the New England Patriots, right?
Of course you do; they’re the team that the Giants, who are 4-5 in regular-season play, beat twice in the Super Bowl.
That run includes the amazing Super Bowl XLII game, when New York spoiled the Patriots' dream of becoming the first undefeated team in the NFL since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
Anyway, these two teams will get together for old-time’s sake on the Giants’ home turf, the first such regular-season meeting since November 6, 2011, a 24-20 Giants win, a win that snapped a four-game Giants' regular-season losing streak against Bill Belichick and friends.
This upcoming meeting should be a lot of fun. The Patriots’ defensive secondary took a big hit, losing cornerbacks Darrelle Revis to the Jets and Brandon Browner to New Orleans. That leaves the Patriots with a projected cornerback trio of Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington.
New England also declined to pick up the option on NT Vince Wilfork, who is now with Houston. Can you imagine, then what Giants quarterback Eli Manning and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. might be able to do against the defending Super Bowl champions?
Still, this is Bill Belichick we are talking about, and the chances that he doesn’t have a plan in place to replenish some of what he lost on his roster are non-existent.
The Patriots still have a very good offense that is led by their seemingly ageless quarterback Tom Brady. His weapons include dynamic tight end Rob Gronkowski, who can wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
Although New England lost running back Shane Vereen to the Giants in free agency, Belichick probably isn’t too worried that the next running back he might get in the draft won't be as successful behind New England’s offensive line, ranked as the fifth-best run-blocking line in the league last year, according to Football Outsiders.
At receiver, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell provided the majority of the scoring production for the Patriots last season, combining to score 11 of the Patriots’ 34 passing touchdowns.
Despite the firepower that exists on the Patriots offense, they have scored more than 30 points against the Giants defense just once in the series’ history, that on December 29, 2007 when they just narrowly beat New York 38-35, a game in which Belichick rested his starters ahead of the playoffs while Giants head coach Tom Coughlin did not.
The Giants will have their bye week after this game. Will they have enough left in the tank to make this a competitive game, or will they limp into the bye week?
PREDICTION: Patriots 21, Giants 13
Week 11: Bye
The Giants will finally get a bye week to catch their breath.
Week 12: At Washington
Before discussing the second matchup against Washington, let’s review a little history on the bye week.
According to a study done before last season by Brad Perniciaro of CheatSheetWarRoom.com, teams coming off a bye week were 87-67, with teams that have their bye in Week 11, as the Giants do, posting a 7-4 won-loss record.
Moreover, the Giants posted a 5-0 record from 2009 through 2013 in games played after the bye week, though last year, that streak ended when they lost to Indianapolis, their first post-bye week opponent.
Still, that is a good post-bye week record for the Giants, who should be fresh as daisies for the homestretch of their 2015 season.
That homestretch starts with a visit to Washington for their fifth game against an NFC East opponent this year.
Assuming the won-loss record I have for games played in the division (2-2) is accurate, this game needs to be won by the Giants.
The good news is the stats favor New York, who is 7-4 in games played on Washington’s home turf during the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning era.
Unless the Giants fall victim to the injury bug again, there should be no reason why they won’t improve to 8-4 after this game.
PREDICTION: Giants 31, Washington 13
Week 13: NY Jets
The annual MetLife Bowl, affectionately known as the “Snoopy Bowl” after the statue shaped like the beloved dog in the Peanuts comic strip that is given to the winner of the Giants-Jets preseason game, is nothing.
That’s because the Giants, who lead the regular-season series 8-4, are on a five-game winning streak against their stadium neighbors, whom they last met in the regular season on December 24, 2011.
Of course, this isn’t the same old hapless Jets team, or so Gang Green wants people to believe. Former head coach Rex Ryan is in Buffalo, while former general manager John Idzik is with Jacksonville.
Gang Green also dramatically upgraded its defensive secondary, adding two of the league’s best cornerbacks, Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, to a defensive backfield with safeties Marcus Gilchrist and Calvin Pryor.
Watching that foursome try to contain Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle and hopefully Victor Cruz should make for an entertaining afternoon.
However, some things haven’t changed with the Jets, namely their quarterback situation, which is not exactly settled.
Presumably, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith will battle it out for the starting job, though that could change depending on how the draft board dominoes fall in the first round.
Do the Jets have enough offensively to keep pace with the Giants? Moreover, what will the team look like on both sides of the ball under new head coach Todd Bowles?
Until those questions are answered, it’s hard to give them the nod.
PREDICTION: Giants 35, Jets 28
Week 14: At Miami
The Miami Dolphins had money to burn in free agency this year, and burn it, they did.
They landed the biggest “fish” (pun intended) in the free-agency pond.
That would be defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who should instantly upgrade Miami’s 23rd-ranked run defense last season.
They acquired receiver Kenny Stills from the Saints, and signed unrestricted free agents such as tight end Jordan Cameron (Browns), the latter of whom will replace tight end Charles Clay, who jumped to Buffalo.
Miami also has a good, young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, their first-round pick in 2012 who has seen his completion percentages, passing yards and touchdown numbers increase every season.
Having received weapons in the passing game, Tannehill, who is just starting to enter his prime years, won’t be a pushover.
The Giants, 5-2 against the Dolphins in the regular season, last faced Miami in 2011; prior to that, they met Miami in 2007 in London’s Wembley Stadium, the first-ever NFL regular-season game played outside of North America.
New York’s five wins over Miami have generally been close—they have outscored the Dolphins 33-27 in the two games played during the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning era, both wins.
This time around, Miami, who finally hosts the Giants in their home stadium for the first time since December 8, 1996, figures to be more of a challenge given all the personnel upgrades made over the offseason.
PREDICTION: Dolphins 28, Giants 17
Week 15: Carolina Panthers
In 2013, the Giants were demolished by the Carolina Panthers, 38-0, as the offensive line allowed seven sacks for minus-45 yards, and the Giants defense allowed 402 total yards of offense to the Panthers.
An improved Giants offensive line that should see Justin Pugh, who allowed two sacks in that game, per Pro Football Focus, move to left guard and a possible rookie draft pick (Brandon Scherff?) playing at right tackle.
The two Panthers' weapons the Giants need to corral are tight end Greg Olsen and receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
Olsen caught 73 of the 102 pass targets sent his way last year, dropping just five passes. In his last meeting against the Giants, Olsen had four receptions for 54 yards.
In the past, the Giants have had trouble with covering the middle of the field, especially against opposing tight ends. The addition of smaller, yet speedier linebackers J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas should help with eliminating those gaping holes that routinely seemed to be there for opposing tight ends to exploit.
Benjamin, part of last year’s amazing rookie receiver class, is a towering 6’5” target who last season averaged 13.8 yards per reception.
More importantly, he is one of the Panthers’ deep threats, a guy who, among receivers who took at least 75 percent of their team’s snaps last year, tied for third in number of deep touchdown receptions (20 or more yards) with five.
Benjamin should be a nice test for CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who, if healthy, should be able to neutralize the receiver’s threat.
The presence of Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, a human tackling machine, could make it difficult for the Giants’ running game to get on track.
That could play a significant role in the outcome of this game not favoring the Giants, who have lost by at least 10 points in each of their five losses to Carolina (including postseason).
PREDICTION: Panthers 28, Giants 13
Week 16: At Minnesota
In what could be one of the coldest games the Giants play this season, New York will play outdoors against the Minnesota Vikings in December at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.
The Vikings have a promising young quarterback in second-year player Teddy Bridgewater. However, as of this writing, he would probably benefit from having another explosive receiver added to his arsenal of weapons to help boost the league’s 28th-ranked passing offense last season.
The Giants, who have won three out of seven games against Minnesota in the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning era, have seen their last three contests against the Vikings be blowouts in either direction.
In fact, only two games in the Coughlin-Manning era have been remotely close, those being a 24-21 Vikings win in November 2005 and a 20-19 Vikings win in December 2008.
All things being equal, the Giants should end up extending their mini winning streak over the Vikings to three games.
PREDICTION: Giants 28, Vikings 17
Week 17: Philadelphia
If the dominoes fall into place, this year’s regular-season finale could very well end up deciding the winner of the NFC East.
At this point in the season, I have the Giants with a 3-2 record in the division. A win in this game will improve that record to 4-2 and should help them with any tiebreakers, assuming those tiebreakers are with Dallas, whom I have them splitting the season series, and the Eagles, with whom they'd have to split the season series.
In a game that could see several lead changes given what’s on the line, the good news is the Giants will finish the season with a better won-loss record than last year's 6-10 debacle.
The bad news is they'll finish 3-3 in the division, which might not be enough to get them into the postseason, thanks to another loss to the pesky Eagles.
PREDICTION: Eagles 21, Giants 17
FINAL WON-LOSS RECORD PREDICTION: 10-6
FINAL NFC EAST RECORD: 3-3