New York Giants: A Deeper Look into Big Blue's 2011 Schedule

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New York Giants: A Deeper Look into Big Blue's 2011 Schedule
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I understand that it is hard for some of you to get excited about the schedule release, but it is one of my favorite days of the year. It is always fun to examine the schedule in April and see how the games play out, even if the season is five months away (or in this case, maybe more)

Additionally, there are multiple aspects that makes this one of the more intriguing schedules in the last decade or so for the Big Blue. Here are the 16 games, pending a CBA resolution of course:

Sept. 11 at Redskins 4:15 p.m. FOX

Sept. 19 (Mon.) RAMS 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Sept. 25 at Eagles 1 p.m. FOX

Oct. 2 at Cardinals 4:05 p.m. FOX

Oct. 9 SEAHAWKS 1 p.m. FOX

Oct. 16 BILLS 1 p.m. CBS

Oct. 23 BYE

Oct. 30 DOLPHINS 1 p.m. CBS

Nov. 6 at Patriots 4:15 p.m. FOX

Nov. 13 at 49ers 4:15 p.m.* FOX*

Nov. 20 EAGLES 8:20 p.m.* NBC*

Nov. 28 (Mon.) at New Orleans 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec. 4 PACKERS 4:15 p.m.* FOX*

Dec. 11 at Cowboys 8:20 p.m.* NBC*

Dec. 18 REDSKINS 1 p.m.* FOX*

Dec. 24 (Sat.) at Jets 1 p.m. FOX

Jan. 1 COWBOYS 1 p.m.* FOX*

* Time/network subject to Flex Scheduling

 

The obvious

1. Following the bye week, the Giants are going to have their work cut out for them. Big Blue has typically labored in the second half of the season for one reason or another, and the same trend may continue this season. In fact, a 4-4 finish, which is how the Giants capped off 2010, wouldn’t be all that bad.

2. This would infer that the only way for the G-Men to return to the postseason for the first time since 2008 would be a very strong first half. And their schedule lines up favorably for that. Of their first eight games, only road bouts against the Eagles and Patriots are games the Giants will not likely be favored to win. If the Giants take care of business at home, especially given a three-game stretch of hosting the Seahawks, Bills and Dolphins—who combined for a record of 18-30 in 2010—they could be looking at another 6-2 or 7-1 start.

3. For the third time in four years, the Giants will open up against the Washington Redskins. They dominated the 'Skins at home in 2008 and 2009. This time around they will travel to Landover to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

4. The Giants will be hosting their first scheduled Monday night game since Matt Bryant squibbed the ball out of bounds with a three-point lead and 11 seconds left, giving the Cowboys a slim chance to get back into the game. Billy Cundiff booted a 52-yard field goal to tie it up, and won it with a chip shot in overtime.

5. Steve Spagnuolo returns to the Meadowlands for the first time since his memorable two years as the Giants' defensive coordinator.

Revenge on their mind

1. Lockout or not, you can be sure that the Giants that are returning from 2010 are chomping at the bit to get another shot at the Eagles. In both games, the Giants put themselves in position to win. But they were unable to finish, extending their losing streak to the Birds to six games. Their first crack at the Eagles will be in Week 3 at the Linc, and then a Sunday night matchup the week before Thanksgiving.

2. Last year, the Giants finished the season with a bitter taste in their mouths—bitter enough to prompt their coach, who typically is careful with his words in public, to tell the media that they can “kiss my ass”—at the same spot where they will begin what they hope will be another Super Bowl run.

As the game wound down in Washington, Charlie Peprah sealed the Giants’ fate with an interception of Jay Cutler. The Redskins fans that remained began a chant saying, “Green Bay won!” mocking the Giants’ chances of making the playoffs. After the game, Barry Cofield didn’t seem too thrilled with their display.

“Their fans were all cheering, so that shows you the state of their team that they have to cheer about us failing,” said defensive tackle Barry Cofield, “I guess when you have no success those are the kinds of things that excite you.”

The Giants will have a chance to stick it to those same Redskins fans with an opening day W in 2011.

3. It’s not going to be revenge for the Giants, but Tom Brady will have the November 6th Super Bowl rematch against Big Blue circled on his calendar. Trust me.

America’s Team?

For four straight games, the Giants will be featured on Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football or FOX’s 4:15 game of the week.

Easy travels

Of the Giants' eight road games, only four aren’t in the northeast: Arizona, San Francisco, New Orleans and Dallas. The rest of the road games are in Philadelphia, Washington, New England and, of course, their own stadium against the Jets.

Did the NFL screw up (besides not being able to split up a freakin’ $9 billion pie)?

Typically, the NFL is formatted so that one division—let’s say the NFC East—plays one other division in the NFC—such as the NFC West—every three years. And as the trend goes, the venue reverses before each scheduled meeting.

So in 2008, the Giants hosted the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, while traveling to Arizona and St. Louis. Naturally, as the trend shows, the Giants would host the Cardinals and Rams in 2011.

Oddly, the Giants are hosting the Seahawks again, and are traveling to Arizona again. Did the NFL overlook this when devising the schedule? Or do I just don’t know something that they—and probably everyone else—does?

I know many are concerned that games will either be cancelled or postponed due to the lockout. But the Giants’ 2011 schedule presents some interesting dynamics. Hopefully everything behind the scenes works out so we can watch the season unfold.

Follow Dave on Twitter: @SH_DGeller

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