New York Giants: Predictions for Final 7 Regular Season Games

Michael WillhoftContributor IIINovember 14, 2011

New York Giants: Predictions for Final 7 Regular Season Games

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    It’s no secret, the New York Giants have a tough road ahead of them as they go into the second half of the 2011-12 NFL season.

    At 6-3 overall, the Giants are still atop the NFC East standings, but that in no way guarantees them a playoff berth. And while no game in the NFL should be taken lightly (unless it’s played against the Indianapolis Colts), the G-Men can’t afford to look past any of the upcoming teams on their schedule.

    The key to the rest of New York’s season will be—as it always is—proving to themselves (and the media) that they’re for real. Because Giants fans know all too well how Big Blue can look dominant one week and passive the next.

    Here are some quick-hitters on each of the final seven games of the New York Giants’ regular season…

Sun, Nov 20 vs Philadelphia Eagles (8:20 PM EST)

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    A prime-time Sunday Night Football matchup with the divisional rival Philadelphia Eagles should provide the spark the New York Giants (often) need to play up to their potential.

    And better yet for the G-Men, the Eagles are a struggling team.

    Philadelphia certainly hasn’t lived up to their self-bestowed “Dream Team” moniker, which should suit the Giants just fine. Coming off a loss of their own to the San Francisco 49ers, New York should be itching to come back strong against a divisional opponent.

    The key to this game will be the ability of the Giants linebackers to contain the Eagles’ dual threat of quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy.

    If the Giants can neutralize the speed that the Eagles have in the backfield, a home victory will be a sure thing. Not only will a win by the Giants boost morale for the fanbase, but it will keep the G-Men in the NFC East lead.

Mon, Nov 28 at New Orleans Saints (8:30 PM EST)

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    Quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will play host to the New York Giants in what should be a battle of NFC divisional leaders on Monday night in Week 12.

    As if Monday Night Football on ESPN needed any more hype.

    Assuming the Giants are coming off a win, they’ll still have a tough game against the Saints in this one. New Orleans will be coming off its bye week and will have had two weeks to prepare for the New York offense.

    Short and simple, the Giants secondary will be the focal point of this game. Drew Brees is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season—which can almost go unsaid by now—and will employ all of his offensive weapons at receiver against the New York defensive backs.

    Facing Brees in the Superdome, at night, on Monday Night Football is a difficult assignment for the Giants defense.

    Cornerbacks Corey Webster and Aaron Ross—and possibly Prince Amukamara—I’m looking at you. (Same goes for safeties Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle.)

Sun, Dec 4 vs Green Bay Packers (4:15 PM EST)

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    If there’s a game that the Giants will undoubtedly take seriously, it’s this one against the cream of the NFC crop—the Green Bay Packers.

    Aaron Rodgers and Co. will certainly be ready to play, as they seemingly are every week.

    If the Giants want the national media to start taking them seriously, a win at home against the likely undefeated Packers would be a starting point. (OK, it would instantly give the Giants credibility as a potential NFC threat.)

    In order for New York to win, they’ll have to dominate the line of scrimmage on defense. Defensive ends Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul will need to get to Rodgers and cause him trouble if the Giants are going to have any shot.

    Rodgers is lethal when he’s given time to survey the field and pick apart a defense; in order to prevent that, the Giants D-line will need to affect his rhythm in the pocket by shedding blockers and putting hands in Rodgers’s face.

    The old saying, “Meet you at the quarterback” has to ring true for the Giants in this one.

Sun, Dec 11 at Dallas Cowboys (8:20 PM EST)

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    In this game against the Dallas Cowboys in “The House That Jerry Built,” the New York Giants will likely be battling the Cowboys for the rights to the NFC East division crown.

    Needless to say, this game will be big for both teams.

    As brutal as the Giants’ schedule will have been to this point, a game against the team chasing them in the division might be exactly what they need. A divisional rival is the kind of motivating factor that will prevent any kind of let down for the G-Men.

    I see these two teams as evenly matched; the deciding factor in this game will be motivation. The team with the greater desire to win will come out on top.

    (As a side note: these are the best kinds of games—when two teams know each other well and are relatively close in terms of skill. Who wants it more? It’ll be the NFL at its finest.)

Sun, Dec 18 vs Washington Redskins (1:00 PM EST)

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    Two words: revenge game. The Washington Redskins are coming to the New York Giants’ house, and the G-Men will be out for blood.

    After losing to the Redskins in Week 1, the Giants were instantly questioned as to whether they could be taken seriously; and rightly so.

    After all, it was the freaking Redskins.

    On paper, the Giants outmatch the ’Skins at most positions. And that would be enough for New York to win the game, except the game won’t be played on paper.

    As bad as the Redskins have played to this point in the season, the Giants will need to play solid football to even the season series with Washington. As an added incentive, playing fundamentally sound football against the Redskins will prepare the Giants for the final two games of the regular season against, ahem…more formidable competition.

Sat, Dec 24 at New York Jets (1:00 PM EST)

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    The Christmas Eve game against the New York Jets will also double as the battle for MetLife Stadium. Technically, the Jets will be the home team and the Giants will play as the visitors—not that it matters to the players.

    You know, unless they’re really into the colors on the sidelines and upper deck.

    The Jets aren’t a divisional opponent, but being an intra-city rival is cause enough for the Giants to get up for this game.

    The key to a Giants victory in this game will be the ability of the offensive line to pick up the myriad blitzes Jets coach Rex Ryan is sure to use. By extension, Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s ability to make protection calls on the fly will be tested as well.

    If the Jets are running past the Giants O-line like it’s not there, it’ll be a long game for Manning and the Giants. But if they can stop the Jets blitzes, the Giants will have a great shot to win this game.

Sun, Jan 1 vs Dallas Cowboys (1:00 PM EST)

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    In the final game of the regular season, the New York Giants will host the Dallas Cowboys on New Year’s Day.

    New year, same rivalry.

    Depending on how the first game between these two teams goes—and depending on the NFC East standings at this point in the season—I’m assuming that one of these teams will be resting its starters.

    Either way, it’s a possibility that both the Cowboys and the Giants will make it into the playoffs.

    It’s tough to predict the outcome this far in advance, but if the Giants have clinched the NFC East title I don’t see much of a reason for them to play the Cowboys tough. Unless, of course, they’re intent on bouncing Dallas from playoff contention.

    There are a number of scenarios relating to this matchup that might be in play on New Year’s Day. Why ruin it with a prediction?

    After all, “You PLAY to WIN the GAME.”