New York Giants Schedule 2017-18: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Entire Season
After leading the New York Giants to 11-5 and their first postseason berth since 2011, head coach Ben McAdoo and the rest of the team will be looking to raise the bar against a schedule of opponents that, per CBSSports.com, is tied for the eighth-toughest (with the New York Jets) of 2017.
Thanks to the step up in competition this year, fans and critics alike will be able to gauge whether the Giants really did turn the corner with last season's performance that ended in a wild-card berth or if they were benefactors of an easy schedule.
Can the Giants win their first NFC East title since 2011 against not only a tougher schedule but one that also includes five trips (Oakland, San Francisco, Denver, Arizona and Dallas) west of the Mississippi?
In addition to five of the team's eight road games being west of the Mississippi, the Giants will face four of the six teams who hired new head coaches for 2017: Rams (Sean McVay), Chargers (Anthony Lynn), 49ers (Kyle Shanahan) and Broncos (Vance Joseph).
Below is the schedule in its entirety. All times are Eastern. Times denoted with an asterisk are subject to the NFL's flex scheduling rules.
at Tampa Bay
at San Francisco
Let's look at each week's game and build toward a prediction on the Giants' final 2017 won-loss record assuming there are no major injuries.
Week 1: At Dallas Cowboys
For the third straight year, the Giants will open the regular-season campaign on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.
Last year, the Giants were the only team in the NFC East to sweep the eventual division winners. Whereas all eyes were on the Cowboys offense last year and its rookies at quarterback (Dak Prescott) and running back (Ezekiel Elliott), this year all eyes will probably be on last year's 26th-ranked defense, which is in the process of undergoing a massive makeover, especially in the defensive secondary.
The Cowboys might be hoping to steal a page out of the Giants book from last year after seeing how quickly their revamped defense came together.
The only difference is that the Giants mostly had veterans who were already acclimated to playing the pro game at a high level, whereas the Cowboys are likely to mix in some draft picks with veterans who will really need to expedite the jelling process if they're to keep pace with the Giants right out of the gate.
Prediction: Giants 31, Cowboys 20
Week 2: Detroit Lions
Although the Giants will open the season with back-to-back prime-time games, they'll get an extra day to recover from their season opener at Dallas before raising the curtain on their 2017 home schedule.
Up first for the Giants at home will be the Detroit Lions, who roll into MetLife Stadium for a Monday night game. The Giants have won four out of the last five games against the Detroit Lions, the most recent win being a 17-6 triumph in Week 15 of last year.
The Lions have been to the playoffs now in two of the last three seasons, but like the Giants, they're looking to take that next step forward so that they can last deeper in the postseason.
The offensive line battle is going to be key for Detroit after finishing 31st in run blocking and 18th in pass protection last year, per Football Outsiders.
The Lions went on an offseason free-agent spending spree, adding veterans Ricky Wagner and T.J. Lang. The key for that line will be to jell as quickly as it can, especially since it will be facing that Giants defensive front that is mostly returning intact save for defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.
Speaking of defense, the Lions currently have question marks at cornerback, where other than Darius Slay, the second starting job and the nickel back position are wide-open at this point.
Look for the Giants to record their third straight win at home over Detroit, a win that would also even out the regular-season series at 22-22-1.
Prediction: Giants 28, Lions 17
Week 3: At Philadelphia Eagles
For a place that bears the moniker "The City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia has been less than kind to the Giants over the years.
The Giants have experienced some of their most forgettable and lowest moments playing in front of the vociferous Eagles home crowd.
Headlining the bad is a current three-game losing streak that has seen the Eagles outscore their division rivals 78-26, which includes the Giants being shut out in one game.
The Eagles added receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith this offseason to round out a group that includes Jordan Matthews, giving second-year quarterback Carson Wentz a much improved arsenal over the group that finished 24th last year.
Defensively, the Eagles added Chris Long to flank Brandon Graham at defensive end and acquired Timmy Jernigan to beef up the interior. Ahead of the draft, the Eagles might very well be the most improved of the Giants' division foes this offseason and look to be the toughest of the group.
Eagles 31, Giants 17
Week 4: At Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Giants follow up their road trip to the Eagles with another road trip, this time to sunny Florida, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be waiting.
The Giants have won the last five meetings (including the 2007 Wild Card Game) against the Bucs, with all those wins coming by at least two scores.
Although the Bucs finally have a franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston and a No. 1 receiver in Mike Evans, who last year finished sixth in receiving yards (1,321), right now they don't appear to have much else to get excited about.
They need to address their running game, which finished 24th last year (five spots ahead of the Giants), averaging 101 yards per game.
Doug Martin, who was supposed to be their bell cow, will miss the first three games of 2017 as he completes a four-game league-imposed suspension handed down last December that was related to violating the league's drug use policy.
Defensively, the Bucs need a lot of work after allowing the 10th-most yards per game (367.9) last year. Perhaps the most glaring issue with the Bucs was their issues with penalties last season—they drew the fifth-highest total of yellow flags (80) and the third-highest penalty yardage total (1,061).
Prediction: Giants 28, Bucs 17
Week 5: Los Angeles Chargers
Projected starting quarterbacks Eli Manning (Giants) and Phillip Rivers (Chargers) were famously involved in a big draft-day trade back in 2004.
That blockbuster trade saw Manning, selected first overall by the Chargers, sent to the Giants in exchange for Rivers, the Giants' 2004 third-round pick as well as their first and fifth picks in 2005.
Interestingly, the Giants have yet to win a game against the Chargers in the Eli Manning era; they're one of two teams Manning has yet to defeat during the regular season in his career (the other is Indianapolis).
In their three losses to the Chargers during Manning's tenure, the Giants have been outscored 103-57.
As will be the case with the other AFC West opponents, the Giants' soon-to-be revamped offensive line should have its hands full with Joey Bosa, the dynamic rookie last year who led the Chargers with 10.5 sacks, tying for the 13th-most in the NFL.
On the other side of the ball, Rivers threw for 274.1 yards per game, fifth-most in the NFL, but he also led the league with 21 interceptions, a career high.
So while the talk will likely be about the quarterbacks who will forever be linked, the game will probably be decided by which defense ends up prevailing.
Prediction: Giants 27, Chargers 17
Week 6: At Denver Broncos
The Giants will face the Denver Broncos for just the 12th time in the regular season dating back to 1972.
Unfortunately, for the Giants, the regular-season meetings with Denver dating back to the 2001 season have been forgettable. Denver has won three out of those four meetings, with all three of those wins being of the blowout variety.
As will be the case with the other AFC West opponents, the Giants' soon-to-be revamped offensive line is going to have another big test against a premier pass-rushing unit, this one being led by Von Miller, who last year recorded 13.5 of the Broncos' 42 sacks.
Miller, the Super Bowl 50 MVP winner who has yet to face the Giants, has recorded double-digit sacks in every season played except 2013, when he missed time due to a league-imposed suspension.
Over the last three years, he’s forced eight fumbles and has broken up six passes all by his lonesome, proving to be a major headache for opposing offensive linemen to slow down.
The Giants better have an answer on the right side of their offensive line to at least neutralize Miller, who primarily lines up on the left side of the defense. If they don't, it could be another long afternoon for Big Blue.
Prediction: Broncos 31, Giants 20
Week 7: Seattle Seahawks
If the Giants offense thought working against its own stingy defense was a challenge, wait until they take the field against the Seattle Seahawks.
Per Football Outsiders, the Seahawks defense has been a top-five unit every year since 2012, a unit that, per ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, has been achieved thanks to holding opponents in the scoring category and forcing turnovers.
Changes might be coming to that Seahawks defense, specifically the famed Legion of Boom secondary.
Free safety Earl Thomas, who last year suffered a broken leg and who contemplated retiring, told ESPN's Ed Werder that he'll be returning in 2017, though it remains to be seen if Thomas is anywhere close to being the force he once was prior to his injury.
The same can't necessarily be said of All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman's return. For weeks rumored to be on the trading block, a rumor confirmed by Seahawks general manager John Schneider during a radio interview with ESPN 710's Brock and Salk show (h/t USA Today).
Offensively, there wasn't all that much separating the Seahawks and Giants as far as average points per game last year.
Seattle finished with 22.1 points per game to the Giants' 19.4 points per game and barely topped the Giants in time of possession, 29:36 to 28:19.
The Giants put an emphasis on adding to their offense this offseason, an emphasis that's expected to continue through the draft.
Will the Seahawks be able to do the same? That all could depend on the outcome of any trades involving Sherman and running back Marshawn Lynch.
Prediction: Seahawks 23, Giants 21
Week 8: Bye
In six out of the last seven years, the Giants' bye week has fallen right around the midpoint of the season (Week 7 or Week 8), which is the perfect time for a break for teams aspiring to make a postseason run.
The timing has certainly helped them finish on a positive note. Dating back to 2010, the Giants have only finished their post-bye schedule under .500 once in those seasons where they've had the bye in Week 7 or 8.
Last year, with a Week 8 bye, the Giants finished 7-2 en route to their first postseason berth since 2011, a year in which their bye fell in Week 7 and they finished that season 5-5 post-bye.
Week 9: Los Angeles Rams
New Rams head coach Sean McVay, the grandson of one-time Giants head coach John McVay, made an interesting choice at defensive coordinator.
After years of running a 4-3 front during the Jeff Fisher regime, McVay hired Wade Phillips, architect of the Denver Broncos' Super Bowl-winning 3-4 defense in 2015, to be the team's new defensive coordinator.
Among other things, Phillips will be instrumental in turning the Rams' 4-3 defense to the 3-4 base that has long been a staple of Phillips' coaching career.
The question, though, is whether the Rams will have all the right pieces on defense to make enough of the switch to be competitive on the defensive side of the ball.
Last year, they traded away their first-round pick and a third-rounders (No. 100 overall) to the Titans to move up to select quarterback Jared Goff.
As their luck turned out the Rams finished with a record that would have given them the fifth overall pick in the draft, where they might have had a chance at landing a blue-chip defender.
Barring a trade, they must wait until the second round (37th overall) to begin adding the pieces Phillips needs to be competitive.
It will be interesting to see if Phillips gets enough pieces in place to improve a defense that last year finished as the ninth best overall (337 yards per game) or if the Rams defense takes a step backward as it undergoes its makeover.
If the Giants offense is humming at this point in the season, it might not matter either way.
Prediction: Giants 37, Rams 17
Week 10: At San Francisco 49ers
There's a very good chance that the 49ers are going to have a new signal-caller under center this season. There's an even better chance that the quarterback is going to be a rookie plucked from this year's draft class.
Per a report by the San Jose Mercury News, the 49ers hosted draft prospect Deshaun Watson last week. In fact, new general manager John Lynch and new head coach Kyle Shanahan are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to potentially adding a franchise quarterback to lead the team for the next decade.
If it's a rookie quarterback behind center, as is expected, the Giants defense should prevail. Last year, they finished 3-1 in games in which a rookie quarterback was at the helm, including two wins against the runaway NFC East champion Cowboys.
With the Giants defense pretty much returning intact and on track to be even scarier for opposing quarterbacks this year, look for them to abuse whomever Shanahan anoints as the team's starting quarterback en route to the Giants' second straight win over the 49ers.
Prediction: Giants 31, 49ers 13
Week 11: Kansas City Chiefs
The Giants will face old friend Andy Reid, now the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, for the first time since a 31-7 Chiefs win in 2013, Reid's first season as the Chiefs head coach.
That win, by the way, snapped a four-game Giants winning streak in this series that dated back to 1998.
Whether Reid and company will be able to make it two in a row over the Giants remains to be seen, as the Chiefs have a bunch of holes and question marks surrounding their roster, even though they've made the playoffs in three out of the last four seasons, including last year as the AFC West champs.
The Chiefs defense needs help up front after losing nose tackle Dontari Poe in free agency to the Falcons. They can also use a cornerback where, besides Marcus Peters, the picture is not as clear after finishing 18th in pass defense last year.
Offensively, the Chiefs moved on from running back Jamaal Charles but are expected to target what they hope will be the next Ezekiel Elliott in the draft. And they could probably use another tight end to complement Travis Kelce in the passing game.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Giants 27
Week 12: At Washington
The Giants will face Washington for the first time in 2017 on Thanksgiving night as the NFC East division race begins to heat up.
After dominating Washington in the regular-season series—the Giants won five in a row from 2013 until the first meeting of the 2015 season—they have split the last two regular-season series with one of their oldest division rivals. Last year at MetLife, the Giants lost 29-27 in a game that was littered by undisciplined play and loads of New York penalties.
The Giants, who last played on Thanksgiving in 2009 in a loss to Denver, should be peaking by this point in the season if everyone is healthy.
As for the key matchup, the Odell Beckham-Josh Norman battle is so two years ago. The intrigue in this year's series will see Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins face off against Terrelle Pryor, who joined Washington via free agency after two seasons in Cleveland.
Last year in a 27-13 Giants win over the Browns, Jenkins held Pryor to one catch out of four pass targets for 14 yards, per Pro Football Focus. Pryor finished that game with six catches (out of 12 pass targets) for a game-leading 131 yards, but he didn't score.
Again, if the Giants are healthy by this point in the season, there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to top their division rival.
Prediction: Giants 28, Washington 24
Week 13: Oakland Raiders
Last season, the soon-to-be Las Vegas-bound Raiders posted their first winning season since 2002 before a crushing broken leg suffered by franchise quarterback Derek Carr likely contributed to the Raiders' early exit from the postseason.
That was then, however, and Carr is on the mend and expected to be under center to lead the NFL's sixth-best offense last year into battle.
The reconstructed right side of the Giants offensive line—Bobby Hart, D.J. Fluker and John Jerry will all be competing for the right guard and right tackle jobs—is going to get a good test in this one against league MVP Khalil Mack.
Mack is the first defensive player to win the Associated Press' MVP award in 30 years and the first Raiders defender to win the award since cornerback Lester Hayes in 1980. Last season, he was a one-man wrecking crew, accumulating 11 sacks all by his lonesome.
Mack primarily lined up at left outside linebacker for the Raiders, but outside of his Superman-like showing, the Raiders defense, which really wasn't upgraded that much in free agency, still finished near the bottom of the pack last year.
The other problem with the Raiders is penalties. Per Team Rankings, the Raiders posted a league-high 9.1 penalties per game in 2016, an increase from the 8.7 per game they posted the year prior, which was the third-most in the league in 2015.
For the Giants, the task would appear to be simple. Use the Raiders' aggressiveness against them, figure out how to neutralize Mack and get the passing game going full strength against a defense that last year allowed 266.7 yards per game (ninth-most) to opponents.
Prediction: Raiders 33, Giants 28
Week 14: Dallas Cowboys
By this point in the season, the Cowboys defense should be coming together. Then again, so should the Giants' revamped offense.
With the weather turning colder, the Giants running game will begin to come into focus and play a part in these late-season games. If the Giants can wear down the Cowboys defensive front with a power running game, they stand a good chance at recording their first back-to-back sweeps of their division rivals since 1989 and 1990.
Prediction: Giants 33, Cowboys 31
Week 15: Philadelphia Eagles
The last time the Giants swept the regular-season series from the Eagles was in 2007, when New York outscored its division rivals 32-16 in both games.
At this point in the season, both teams (if healthy) should be clicking, making for what should be another classic struggle between the two teams who could very well be jockeying for position in terms of the playoffs.
The good news, at least for Giants fans, is that after suffering at least one blowout (two or more scores) regular-season loss to the Eagles every year since 2013, last year the Giants kept it close with the Eagles, with the difference being five points separating the winner in both games.
Look for the Giants to record their second straight regular-season win at home over the Eagles to close out what would be another split of the regular-season series.
Prediction: Giants 20, Eagles 17
Week 16: At Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals might have missed out on the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014, but it certainly wasn't due to poor play on defense.
The Cardinals finished with the league's second-best overall defense, allowing opponents an average of 305.2 yards per game, and the fourth-best pass defense, allowing 210.3 yards per game.
The big key for the Giants will be whether their revamped offensive line will be able to hold the Cardinals pass rush at bay. Last year Arizona finished with a league-leading 48 sacks and forced 21 fumbles, also tops in the league.
The Giants are going to need to play a near-perfect game against this team if they want to escape with a win. Based on last year's showing, they've yet to come close to doing that.
Then again, over the last four meetings, the visiting team has emerged as the winner, and it hasn't even been close. Might that be a positive omen for the visiting Giants this year? Expect a much closer game than in previous visits.
Prediction: Cardinals 20, Giants 17
Week 17: Washington
The Giants will end their season against Washington for the second year in a row, a game that at this point in New York's season could mean the difference between them getting to the postseason and going home.
"The end of the season, the way the league has it shaking out, is going to be exciting for us,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said. "We have four NFC teams in the last four weeks, (including) three division games at home. It's great to be at home in December. You have to be playing good football there in December."
If they are, then they have a good chance at accomplishing their goal of getting back to the playoffs.
Prediction: Giants 30, Washington 27
Patricia Traina covers the New York Giants for Inside Football, the Journal Inquirer and Sports Xchange. All quotes and information were obtained firsthand unless otherwise sourced.