New York Giants: Most Critical Non-Divisional Games in 2010
It's anyone's ballgame in the NFC East this season.
Washington has a new coach, Philadelphia starts a new era without McNabb, and Dallas looks like they're ready to play.
The Giants know this and understand that every game against one of these teams is critical if they are serious about winning the division.
Of course, games played against non-divisional opponents cannot be taken lightly either.
Just as football games are won in the trenches, divisional titles are won during the less-hyped, non divisional games.
Week Two @ Indianapolis Colts
2009 Regular Season Record: 14-2
Last Game vs. NY (9/10/06): Colts 26, Giants 21
The last time the Manning brothers duked it out on the gridiron was when the Colts beat the Giants in New York in 2006.
That was before either of them had Super Bowl rings.
This 2010 match-up will be a tough, early test for the Giants, as they have to march into that dome and play the reigning AFC Champions.
This has the potential to put the Giants back into a playoff-bound groove or take the wind right out of their sails early.
The Giants' secondary must prove that they're better than last year, and their running game must dictate the time of possession.
Week Four vs. Chicago Bears
2009 Regular Season Record: 7-9
Last Game vs. Giants (12/2/07): Giants 21, Bears 16
Coming off a losing season just three years after making it to a Super Bowl, the Bears have got something to prove.
Lovie Smith is no doubt in the hot seat, after his usually stellar defense was ranked 17th in total defense last year.
Expect Chicago to have a comeback season, while the Giants will need to first and foremost establish the run against them.
If the Giants' secondary can disrupt Jay Cutler's passing game and Brandon Jacobs can get around 30 touches, they will come up with a solid win against da Bears.
Week Five @ Houston Texans
2009 Regular Season Record: 9-7
Last Game vs. Giants (11/5/06: Texans 10, Giants 14
Houston has proven that they're not a rollover team anymore.
With a good shot at making the playoffs this year, the Giants need to disrupt the connection between quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson.
Eli and company will also have to have a good game as Houston was 13th in total defensive yards given up last year.
This will be another tough road game, as the Texans are a very balanced team.
Week 14 @ Minnesota Viikings
2009 Regular Season Record: 12-4
Last Game vs. Giants (1/3/10): Giants 7, Vikings 44
Talk about another tough one, in Minnesota, late in the season.
The Giants got spanked by Brett Favre and the Vikes last season around the very same time.
Obviously, as the season progresses, we'll see if the Giants' defense has improved and has a chance at stopping Favre and Adrian Peterson.
If you ask me right now though, I would not want this to be a must win game for the Giants.
The Vikings have another shot at going to the NFC Championship and winning it this time.
The Giants can pull it off, but it'll be tough.
Week 16 @ Green Bay Packers
2009 Regular Season Record: 11-5
Last Game vs. Giants (2008 NFC Championship):Giants 23, Packers 20
These two teams haven't met since New York marched onto Lambeau Field and upset the Pack to go to the Super Bowl. I think the Giants did pretty good that next game.
The G-Men must do it again this year if they're on the playoff fence.
Green Bay is probably the toughest place to play in December as the away team.
But, Eli is used to the cold and used to coming up big when the team needs him.
If Aaron Rodgers gets knocked around by Osi and company, and Eli has some good targets, the Giants will have a good shot at another win in the Lambeau cold.