New York Giants Schedule 2014: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game
We've known the 13 opponents the New York Giants will face in 2014 for several months, but it doesn't feel real until the full schedule with dates and times is put into place.
Now that the 2013 regular-season sked has been finalized by the NFL, we have a chance go through and count the wins and losses, just as many of us have done since we were in grade school.
Here's a look at New York's complete 17-week schedule, along with analysis and predictions.
Week 1: Giants at Lions
Kickoff Time and Network: Monday, Sept. 8 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Might the Giants finally have the type of secondary that can contain a monster like Calvin Johnson? No one player can do that successfully, but maybe that deep group of corners can at least limit the damage caused by Megatron.
Of course, stopping Reggie Bush and Joique Bell could be a whole new challenge for a unit that lost two of its best run defenders when Linval Joseph and Justin Tuck skipped town in free agency.
The problem for the Lions is that they haven't been special at home over the last two years, winning only six of 16 games at Ford Field, and that pass rush hasn't lived up to expectations. Eli Manning should have room to work against a defense that doesn't put a lot of fear into opposing quarterbacks.
The problem for the Giants is that it might not be easy to go up against Detroit on the road in prime time to start the season.
Prediction: Lions 24, Giants 23
I just think it'll take a little time for the Giants to adjust to so many changes, and the talented Lions should be fired up for their prime-time home opener.
Week 2: Giants vs. Cardinals
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Sept. 14 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX
The Cardinals are a playoff-caliber team coming off a 10-win season, but this is a winnable home game against a squad that was only 4-4 away from home and will be crossing the country. Cards running back Andre Ellington could be an X-factor against a Giants defense looking to replace Joseph and Tuck up front, but at least the G-Men might have the goods in the secondary to limit Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
Of course, the Giants will also have their hands full with Arizona's defense, which ranked in the top seven last year in terms of both scoring and yardage. The Cards were one of nine teams to record 30 takeaways last season, while the G-Men committed a league-high 44 turnovers.
Prediction: Cardinals 23, Giants 21
I think the Giants keep it close at home, but Arizona is still a better all-around team and is able to take advantage of the G-Men as they adjust at home on a short week.
Week 3: Giants vs. Texans
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
You aren't supposed to lose at home to teams that are coming off two-win seasons, so the Giants will fully be expected to come away with a victory here. That said, don't lock in the W just yet. We all know that this Houston team has a lot more talent than your typical bottom-feeder. The 2013 season was a mess, but if they can find a half-reliable quarterback, they'll be dangerous again in 2014.
The good news is that the Giants now have the personnel to keep up with guys like Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. And the offensive line has been bolstered enough that Manning should at least stand a chance against J.J. Watt and that top-notch Texans front seven.
Prediction: Giants 24, Texans 16
I'm guessing the Texans will still be breaking in a new quarterback, and I don't think New York starts 0-3.
Week 4: Giants at Redskins
Kickoff Time and Network: Thursday, Sept. 25 at 8:25 p.m. ET on CBS
I'd be looking for a close game here. The Giants improved that questionable secondary in the offseason, but Washington got a hell of a lot deeper and faster in the receiving corps by adding DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts.
That'll be the matchup to watch, but Manning should also be able to do some damage against a horrendous pass defense that didn't do enough to improve in the offseason. The 'Skins will try to compensate for that with Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Hatcher up front, but New York has bolstered its offensive line a tad with some veteran additions, and Justin Pugh should be much better in his second year.
Prediction: Redskins 27, Giants 24
This is a toss-up at this stage, as both teams will be just getting settled with new schemes. I'll take the home team by a hair.
Week 5: Giants vs. Falcons
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX
I guess this depends on which Falcons team we'll be seeing this year—the one that went to the NFC Championship Game in 2012 or the one that managed to win only four games in 2013. Better luck with injuries, a No. 6 overall draft pick and some quality free-agent additions to the trenches will help, and last year looked like a bit of an anomaly, so the Giants will have their hands full at home here.
The 2012 Falcons team destroyed the Giants 34-0 in Atlanta, but this game is back at MetLife and the New York defense has become a lot better since then. The secondary is now a strength, which could bode well against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White, and they might not need to be lights out on the ground against the league's lowest-ranked running game from 2013.
Prediction: Giants 27, Falcons 23
This is a decent matchup for the Giants, regardless of what happened two years ago. At home, they prevail to avoid digging a huge September hole for the second straight year.
Week 6: Giants at Eagles
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Oct. 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC
It's extremely hard to draw from what happened when these teams split last year's season series because Michael Vick started—but failed to finish—both meetings. Nick Foles led the Eagles to victory in relief of Vick at MetLife Stadium in October, but he wasn't dressed when Matt Barkley threw up all over himself in a New York victory at Lincoln Financial Field later that month.
Now we can subtract DeSean Jackson from Philly's roster and add some solid veterans to the offensive line and the defensive backfield in New York.
In other words, we're going in relatively fresh here, which is tough when dealing with two very unpredictable teams.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Giants 23
Philly gets the win at the Linc after a tough loss to St. Louis, but we smell a split here.
Week 7: Giants at Cowboys
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Oct. 19 at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX
Despite committing six turnovers in Dallas to start a train-wreck 2013 season, the Giants nearly beat the Cowboys in Week 1, falling 36-31. I think the improved G-Men put up even more of a fight here against a Dallas team that wasn't able to do much to bolster a bad defense in the offseason.
Dallas will also be coming home after what will inevitably be a tough road trip in Seattle, so this one could go either way.
New York's revamped defense should be able to limit Dez Bryant and Co., but they'll still be adjusting to a lot of newbies on the road here and I'm not sure how much pressure they'll get on Tony Romo.
Prediction: Cowboys 27, Giants 24
For once, we're thinking both home teams win in this season series between two great rivals.
The Giants have won six straight games coming off their bye week, including a 24-20 home victory over the Oakland Raiders in Week 10 in 2013.
Week 9: Giants vs. Colts
Kickoff Time and Network: Monday, Nov. 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
The Colts dropped road games in Arizona, Cincinnati and New England during the second half of last season, so they should have their hands full in New York. It also helps the Giants that their revamped secondary should have the ability to limit the damage caused by Andrew Luck and his stellar receiving corps. But pressure is a big way to get to this offense and we still have to be convinced that the G-Men can create enough of it.
On the other side of the ball, this could be a tougher-than-expected matchup for the Giants. Indy's D had a solid sack percentage of 7.3 last year and did a fairly good job defending the pass. They were most vulnerable on the ground, but it's not as though the Giants have been super reliable running the football. A one-dimensional effort could kill them here.
Prediction: Giants 27, Colts 21
I'm still giving them the W because Tom Coughlin's teams have been deadly coming off the bye. They're lucky for that, because November gets extremely tough beyond this game.
Week 10: Giants at Seahawks
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Nov. 9 at 4:25 p.m ET on FOX
Dating back to the start of 2012, the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks are 15-1 at home with an average margin of victory of 16.9 points. Essentially, they're unbeatable in the Pacific Northwest. So the Giants were unlucky to draw Seattle on the road, while division rivals Philly and Washington get to host Russell Wilson and Co.
But those are the breaks. I'd like to say there's a bright side, but unless Walter Thurmond can give away some of Seattle's trade secrets to the Giants coaching staff, Big Blue is in big trouble here. It'll be hard to limit that elite running game without Linval Joseph and Justin Tuck, and that Seahawks defense could feast on an offensive line in flux and a receiving corps that lacks depth.
Prediction: Seahawks 35, Giants 17
The Giants have struggled historically in November, going 7-11 in the year's 11th month since 2009. Against a team that beat them 23-0 at home last year en route to the Super Bowl, that doesn't bode well.
Week 11: Giants vs. 49ers
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX
The Giants might have preferred the Seahawks at home and the 49ers on the road, because San Francisco typically plays well away from home. In fact, the Niners have gone 17-7 on the road during the Jim Harbaugh era.
This also isn't the best matchup for a Giants front seven that could be vulnerable against the mobile Colin Kaepernick. The revamped secondary should be able to hang in, but Kaep's legs could change this game.
To consider: The Giants had one of their best games since Super Bowl XLVI when they spanked the Niners 26-3 in California in 2012. A lot has changed since then, but the Giants have probably gotten better on defense, while the Niners have had a tumultuous offseason with controversy surrounding Harbaugh, Aldon Smith and others.
Prediction: 49ers 31, Giants 28
This really could go either way, but I think New York falls just short with some unfavorable matchups on D. They didn't have to face Kaepernick last time.
Week 12: Giants vs. Cowboys
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Nov. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
The Cowboys have won back-to-back games over the Giants in New York, scoring 66 points in the process. The law of averages dictates that could change this year, because these teams are too close in talent for Dallas to win three straight at MetLife.
I don't know what sort of pressure the Giants will get on Tony Romo now that half of the defensive line has left town, but I think New York's D might be more prepared than ever to deal with Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten. The key could be that revamped secondary, which is deep enough to hold that dangerous Dallas passing game in check.
If that can happen and Eli Manning can bounce back a tad against a beatable defense that ranked dead last in the NFL last season, the Giants should prevail at home.
Prediction: Giants 24, Cowboys 21
The Cowboys are coming off a bye here, so it's dangerous. Predicting both of these Giants-Cowboys games is tough, but New York still makes more sense at home, especially considering it didn't have to travel the week before.
Week 13: Giants at Jaguars
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX
This is the kind of game for which you're happy to go on the road. Jacksonville has won just two home games since the start of 2012, lacks the ability to get pressure on Manning or slow down Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle and won't likely be able to do much against New York's revamped secondary.
It's a great matchup all around for the Giants, who despite all of their problems in 2013 still managed to win three of their last four road games.
Obviously, there's a lot to be determined about this Jacksonville team between now and this matchup, but Big Blue should be considered a heavy favorite right now.
Prediction: Giants 38, Jaguars 15
After a rough month, the Giants should get back on track with their first real blowout victory of the year.
Week 14: Giants at Titans
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX
Who knows what to expect from Tennessee from week to week. But the Giants should still be considered big favorites on the road against a Titans squad that hasn't posted a winning home record since 2009.
The matchups are favorable. Tennessee's pass rush was mediocre at best last year, while Manning's pass protection has improved. If Manning can have room to work, he'll likely use Cruz and Randle to pick apart a secondary that lost top corner Alterraun Verner in the offseason.
And while Jake Locker has the arm to take over a game, he's yet to do so consistently. Chris Johnson is gone now, so it'll be tougher to maintain balance and take advantage of a vulnerable Giants front seven, leaving Locker to make a run at a deep, talented secondary.
Prediction: Giants 28, Titans 17
This is a great matchup for a road game, and the Giants usually peak right around now.
Week 15: Giants vs. Redskins
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX
Both the Giants and Redskins were dealing with catastrophic seasons in 2013, but the G-Men still found a way to sweep Washington in their two meetings. And their only loss to the 'Skins during the Robert Griffin III era came by a single point on the road in 2012.
Both teams should be better this year, but the G-Men already had a grip on this Washington squad and I think New York improved across the board with major changes to the offensive line and secondary. The 'Skins will benefit if RGIII is healthy and Hatcher and Jackson can shine on their respective sides of the ball, but I still don't trust that secondary at all against Manning, Cruz and Randle.
Sure, Washington can unleash the hounds on Manning, but the Giants made an effort to improve Manning's pass protection by adding Geoff Schwartz, John Jerry and J.D. Walton in free agency.
Prediction: Giants 30, Redskins 24
The 'Skins won only a single road game last year. I expect them to be better in all respects in 2014, but that might not be enough to win at MetLife against a team we feel will be heating up.
Week 16: Giants at Rams
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Dec. 21 at 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX
The Rams have won nine home games over the last two seasons and have the type of pass rush that could make life miserable for Eli Manning and Co. That's why the Giants will have their hands full, especially if Sam Bradford is back to form and if Zac Stacy can have a breakout second season.
If the Giants can't get pressure on Bradford and if Manning can't escape a pass rush that ranked third in the league with 53 sacks in 2013, the Giants won't survive this game. Considering that Manning doesn't exactly have a deep group of receivers to exploit that secondary, it looks gloomy.
Prediction: Rams 24, Giants 21
The Rams are much better than anyone realized, and there's little reason to believe they can't upset New York this late in the year, especially if the Giants have their typical December injury woes. Hell, in St. Louis, it might not even be viewed as an upset.
Week 17: Giants vs. Eagles
Kickoff Time and Network: Sunday, Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. ET
The Giants are still relatively trustworthy at home, and that strong secondary could make things tough on a receiving corps that lacks Jackson. It's tough to predict this game without knowing what will be on the line, but I don't think Coughlin drops both games against the Eagles.
Prediction: Giants 30, Eagles 23
If this game doesn't matter, it's anyone's guess. But we're assuming they'll be playing for something. Right now, at home, the Giants get the edge under those circumstances.
Final record: 8-8
Strange, because this is the same record we gave them last year, but this team looks a lot better on paper. Those are sometimes the schedule breaks, and this prediction is early and based on game-by-game picks, rather than some broad analysis.
So we reserve the right to rethink things going forward. But right now, it's looking like there's a decent chance the G-Men miss the playoffs for the fifth time in sixth years.