The New York Giants are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
They finished one game short of accomplishing that goal in 2020 under first-year head coach Joe Judge, who will look to guide the G-Men back to the promised land in Year 2.
New York clearly has an eye on improving based on a free-agent spending spree in which it inked wide receiver Kenny Golladay, cornerback Adoree' Jackson, tight end Kyle Rudolph and more. Big Blue also added explosive Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney in Round 1 of the draft and productive edge-rusher Azeez Ojulari with the 50th pick.
Running back Saquon Barkley, who missed all but two games in 2020 with a torn ACL, is back in the mix, too.
However, next season will ride on the arm and health of third-year quarterback Daniel Jones, his offensive line and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
The Giants finished with the second-fewest points in the NFL largely because of poor pass protection, and Garrett's unit lacked explosive plays.
Jones committed seven fewer turnovers than he did in 2019 but also had just 11 passing touchdowns. He missed two games because of a hamstring injury.
Still, the arrow is pointing up for the Giants. Here's a look at their schedule alongside some breakdowns.
Giants 2021 Schedule
The Giants' home slate looks manageable. The Los Angeles Rams are the only team visiting the Meadowlands that had a winning record last season. The other teams finished from 4-12 to 8-8.
On the other side, the road schedule is brutal. It includes the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs and the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints, though the Saints have been hit hard this offseason with quarterback Drew Brees' retirement and other departures.
Still, the Giants also play a potential upstart in the Los Angeles Chargers, and they have an extra road game on the new 17-contest schedule with a trip to South Beach to face the Miami Dolphins, who went 10-6 last year.
The schedule looks tough, but it isn't insurmountable.
Naturally, all six of the NFC East matchups will be pivotal as the Giants look for their first divisional crown in 10 years.
The Giants broke some nasty slumps in 2020 against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, who went undefeated against Big Blue from 2017 to 2019. They each took the first game against the G-Men in 2020.
But New York got the last laugh with home wins against both teams en route to a 5-3 finish. New York also swept the division champion Washington Football Team to post a winning NFC East record for the first time since 2016 (4-2).
Otherwise, the Bucs and Chiefs games figure to be the ones to watch. Tampa Bay nearly lost to New York last year after falling behind 14-3 and won 25-23. The Giants were unsuccessful on a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt late.
The matchup against Kansas City will be the first time New York plays Patrick Mahomes. It faced K.C. while Mahomes was in the league, but he was backing up Alex Smith in a 12-9 overtime win for the Giants on a windy day at MetLife Stadium in 2017.
Wins (or competitive games) against those two teams would go a long way toward the Giants' garnering respect around the league as they look to take a competitive leap forward.