The New York Giants were a surprise last season as the finished they year 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2011. It was great for Giants fans and what happened this offseason gave fans more reason to believe they could overtake the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East crown. The Giants added a weapon to the offense in Brandon Marshall to pair with Odell Beckham which could give the team one of their best offenses in years.
What makes this team so special is that last year they had one of the top-ranked defenses and if that unit can play up to expectations, coupled with a high-powered offense, they could have a shot. However, three things have happened to the team already that may derail any division winning celebration for the 2016-17 season.
The first thing is the off-the-field issues concerning ODB. The next is the allegations surrounding Eli Manning and the third is the 2017 schedule for the Giants. The Beckham and Manning issues will be solved on their own, however, the schedule is something entirely different. Last season the Giants played 4 teams that would go on to make the playoffs and their record against them were 4-4. The Giants beat the Cowboys twice and loss to the Green Bay Packers twice.
The Giants will now know what winning gets them.
In their first 7 games before their bye week, the Giants will play three teams that went to the playoffs last season. They will also play 5 teams that won 9+ games and 4 teams that have a stud at the QB position. While the Giants are lethal against the run, their secondary could really use some help. With the likes of Philip Rivers, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson on the first half schedule– this could be tough for the G-Men.
The Giants are still a veteran bunch but if there are any lingering issues between those games or the team doesn’t get off to a hot start in the opener against the Cowboys then it could be the start of a meltdown as we’ve seen before.
The Giants are good on both sides of the field, however, so are the teams they will be facing in their first seven games. The Cowboys are strong, the Lions passing attack can cause problems for any defense and the Eagles managed to address their biggest weakness with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the offseason. The San Diego Chargers will be much-improved and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, by adding DeSean Jackson will be a tough win for anybody. The Denver Broncos are a year removed from a Super Bowl victory and still house one of the best defensive units in the game and the Seattle Seahawks still have Wilson at the helm.
Looking over the schedule– how many wins can you honestly see for the Giants?
Cowboys- The Giants managed to beat them twice last season but this is the season opener for both teams and the ‘Boys will out for revenge. Cowboys win.
Lions- The Giants will head home to face Stafford and Co. and while it will appear to be an easy win for the G-Men there will be no more Johnathan Hankins applying pressure to Stafford. Still, the Giants have enough to get a win.
Eagles- The Giants will face their second division foe in the first three weeks and the Eagles have always played the Giants tough. Carson Wentz passed for 515 yards against the Giants combined last season and with the first game on the road. The Eagles will take this.
Buccaneers- It just doesn’t get any easier for the Giants in Week 4. Maybe this was a cupcake game for the Giants in 2016 but the Bucs are no longer anyone’s doormat. The addition of Jackson, coupled with a stout defense and a much-improved Winston should give the G-Men nightmares. Oh, did I mention that the game is on the road?
Chargers- A Rivers and Manning showdown should be classic but how many Charger players will be on the IR by week 5? This is an easy win for the Giants.
Broncos- This is sure to be a classic defensive battle in New Jersey. However, the Giants will have trouble running the ball on the Broncos which will force Eli to try to beat them through the air and offering Von Miller a clear shot at the QB. This could be the game where we see the first Marshall and Manning blowup on the field.
Seahawks- It’s clear that someone hates the Giants in the NFL Scheduling department. How can you have the team play such a crazy first half schedule and finish it off with the NFC powerhouse Seahawks? Manning normally rises to the occasion against tough teams but Wilson and that defense will be too much for him to handle.
The Giants can win the majority of these games if the ball bounces their way but the team has been known to regress after a successful season. However, as the title indicates, the Giants will only suffer a terrible fate if they aren’t clicking on all cylinders. If ODB can mesh with Marshall then the offense should be good. A running back needs to emerge as a leader and the defense must pick up where they left off in 2016.
If not, then this could be a looooong year for the G-Men.