Three Key Takeaways From The Giants 2020 Schedule

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants schedule was released last night. The Giants have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL this season. The schedule features three prime time games and a slew of divisional matchups in a row. Here are my top three takeaways from the 2020 schedule:

Week One Monday Night Football

It is going to be a long opening weekend for Giants fans. The team will not play on kickoff Sunday. New York will have to wait until Monday night to play its first game of the season, matching up at home with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fans are used to watching prime time games in week one. But those games are usually on Sunday night against Dallas. It will be a nice change of pace this season, facing an AFC opponent in week one. But I have to admit, I am not looking forward to waiting an extra day to watch my Giants play in 2020.

No Sunday Night Football

Giants fans have grown accustomed to the Sunday night battles against Dallas in recent years. But this year, there will be no such game. The Giants do not have a single game scheduled on Sunday night in 2020. It is possible that some games could get flexed to prime time, but as things currently stand, the Giants will play two Monday night games and on Thursday night game.

One game that I am surprised not to see placed on prime time is the matchup with the Cleveland Browns. The Giants will host the Browns in Week 15. This game, though, will be played at 1 p.m. Considering the obviously dramatic storylines heading in, I am surprised it is not a prime time matchup. Odell Beckham Jr. will make his way back to MetLife Stadium for his revenge game against the Giants. It will be an exciting matchup, and it would have made a lot of sense to schedule it for prime time.

Many Potential Playoff Teams

The Giants have an extremely tough schedule in 2020. They face a number of teams that could contend for playoff spots. The Giants start the season with five tough matchups in a row. The Steelers and Bears, depending on how their divisions play out and what the Wild Card seeding looks like, are both potential playoff contenders.

The Giants then face the last two Super Bowl losers in back to back weeks. The 49ers are fresh off of a Super Bowl-losing season in 2019 and the Rams were in the Super Bowl as recently as 2018.

The schedule then gets, arguably, even more difficult. Five of the Giants’ next six opponents are division rivals. The only break from the division comes in week eight against the new and improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That key Monday night matchup will see the Giants host Tom Brady and the Bucs on prime time.

On top of all these great teams, the Giants also have to face a few more playoff contenders in their final stretch of games. The Giants will host the Cardinals, a team that could break out this year. They also have to travel to Seattle and face the Super Bowl contending Seahawks with Russell Wilson. New York even has the privilege of playing the best team from the 2019 regular season, the Baltimore Ravens, on the road in Week 16.

The most winnable games for the Giants will be against the Redskins (twice) and the Bengals. But, really, there are no gimmes on this schedule. It will be a tough season for the Giants, but hopefully, with this new and improved roster, plus a new and excellent coaching staff, the Giants could surprise some people and win more games than expected.

New York Jets: Betty Wold Johnson passes away at 99

New York Jets

Betty, the mother of Woody and Christopher Johnson, was referred to as the “First Lady” of the New York Jets.

The New York Jets announced on Friday that Betty Wold Johnson, the mother of Jets owners Christopher and Woody Johnson, has passed away at the age of 99. The cause of death was not disclosed.

According to an obituary written by Eric Allen of NYJets.com, Johnson often referred to Jets players as her grandchildren. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, her first foray into football was attending University of Minnesota Golden Gopher games with her father Dr. Karl Christian Wold. She was married to Robert Wood Johnson until his death in 1970.

Johnson was also well known for her contributions to artistic and charitable causes. She also served in the United States Naval Reserve after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Numerous Jets took the team’s website to pay their respects.

RB Curtis Martin (1998-2006): She was definitely the First Lady of the Jets. She had such a presence there. And as far as the players being like grandchildren to her, I can definitely see that because she was such a warm person. She had a personal interest rooting for the Jets, but just her energy, she had a younger person’s energy. And she was just very approachable to everyone who met her. I just loved her as a human being.”

QB Chad Pennington (2000-07): “To me, two of her greatest qualities were humility and approachability. Ms. Johnson was such an approachable and humble lady. When I think of her, I think of her as The First Lady of the Jets. I think of Ms. Johnson as nothing but first-class with how she treated people, how she carried herself and how she represented herself and her family.”

QB Josh McCown (2017-18): “She cared and when you have the opportunity to step into somebody else’s story and make it better, it’s an honor. She felt the need to do so in so many areas and she leveraged her influence for good and I think that’s a message for all of us that we can all take with us, to look at where we are at life, wherever walk of life you’re in, and take that and leverage that for good for the world and the community.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Mets: Why A-Rod Ending His Ownership Bid is a Good Thing

New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez’s announcement to end their bid at owning the New York Mets was no shock to those familiar with the situation. In reality, the reaction to it should be applauded instead of a disappointed one.

The reputation of Alex Rodriguez in baseball comes with plenty of hate and dislike. Players who competed with and against him have very mixed opinions on A-Rod. During his non-baseball life, he has attempted to revive his character by working on television and his relationship with Lopez. In part, it is a way to separate him from the other faces of the Steroid Era and sneak into the Hall of Fame.

Why He Can’t Own the Mets

The money simply was not there for the deal to happen and allow Rodriguez to be in charge. He needed a partner to raise the necessary funds to acquire the franchise sufficiently. If that were to happen, Rodriguez would not be the one in charge of making decisions. He has never been good at playing second fiddle to anyone, which leads us to believe that partnership would not work out.

Lastly, there is no good reason for him to give up the extravagant life he has with Lopez and his children just to own the Mets. Derek Jeter was able to pull it off since he resides in Florida, where the Marlins play. He also needed 16 investors to pull off the deal, but his reputation and character allowed him to earn the role of CEO. The most significant difference between the two is Rodriguez sees baseball as secondary after he retired, while Jeter can’t stay away from the game.

While the Mets are still stuck with the Wilpons, it is even better than involving A-Rod with the franchise. If the Marlins could get Jeter to purchase the franchise, the Mets in the legendary New York market can find the owner who makes us all forget about the Wilpons incompetence.

New York Yankees Player Profiles: Jonathan Loaisiga, he could have an Impact

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

The New York Yankees Jonathan Stanley Loaisiga Estrada was born on November 2, 1994. This will be a short profile because there is little personal information on Loaisiga. The 24-year-old was born in Managua, Nicaragua. We know that Jonathan played baseball as a child, but it was not in any organized manner.

Nicaragua is a country that embraces baseball as the national sport. But that was not always the case; in 1967, professional baseball ended in Nicaragua. It gradually came back in the ’70s. It, along with soccer, are the popular sports played by schoolboys. Jonathan, like most other kids, played baseball in sandy lots using oranges or rocks for a ball and milk cartons for gloves.

In Nicaragua, many schools and even colleges don’t have baseball teams, in favor of soccer teams. Because of that, there are not a lot of Nicaraguan baseball players. It is not known where, but Loaisiga who wanted to be a pitcher, was playing in a try out for one of the four teams in the country and was spotted by a scout of the San Francisco Giants. The Giants paid for him to come to the United States and signed him as an International Free Agent in 2012.  The most famous Nicaraguan player was Dennis Martinez who pitched 11 or his 23 years in the majors, withthe Baltimore Orioles.

They assigned him to the Dominican Summer League, centered in Boca Chica, the Dominican Republic. This is the same training facility that Luis Severino and Domingo German came through. His record there was 8-1 with an ERA of 2.75. He did not play in 2014 or 2015 due to injuries, and he was eventually released by the Giants.

Enter the New York Yankees, who signed Loaisiga in February of 2016. He started the season with the Charleston River dogs, but after just one game, he again injured his arm, requiring Tommy John surgery. After the end of the season, he was added to the roster and started 2017 with the Gulf Coast League Tampa and then the Staten Island Yankees. He had a 1-1 record in eleven starts but with a 1.38 ERA.

In 2018 he earned a promotion to the Trenton Thunder, where he pitched in six starts while striking out 32 in 25 innings. He then skipped AAA as he was called up to replace the injured Masahiro Tanaka. In his debut, he pitched five scoreless innings for the win. He pitched in four more games before being optioned to AAA Scranton Wilkes/Barre but was called back up at the end of the season with the roster expansion.

In 2018 hit pitched in 9 games going 2-0 and last year he is 2-2 in 31.2 innings over 15 games including two scoreless innings the September 15  shut out of the Los Angeles Angels. Loaisiga was heavily used during September with 8 of his 15 games played in the month.  He performed poorly in the ALDS and was not of the ALCS roster. It is too early to say what his future is with the Yankees, but without Delin Betances and being short Severino for the season the New York Yankees will need him.

According to if James Paxton is game ready at the beginning of the season when it starts, the Yankees may have to rely on him as the fifth starter.  Ideally the Yankees considering his injury history should use Jonathan as a long and short reliever rather than a starter. In spring training he pitched quite well. In five games, three starts he pitched to a 2.70 ERA in ten innings

Again, there is little known about his private life or loves, but he is not attached to any scandals. During his time at the Stadium, he has become well-liked in the clubhouse and his fellow players have saddled him with the nickname “Johnny Lasagna”.   He has an Instagram account but it includes no personal information, only photos.

New York Yankees: Luke Voit ready to breakout in 2020

New York Yankees, Yankees, NYY, Luke Voit

After an up-and-down 2019 season with injuries, Luke Voit is ready to breakout in 2020 and return to his form from the end of 2018.

The New York Yankees got Voit around the 2018 trade-deadline in a deal that sent Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos to the Cardinals. Immediately after the trade, the team assigned Voit to AAA before finally getting called up. Once he came up, he made an immediate impact.

In 39 games, he hit .333 14 home runs and 33 RBIs. His OBP was .405 and had an astounding 1.095 OPS. He was arguably one of the best hitters in baseball at the end of 2018.

Come 2019, Voit was still making an impact, but it wasn’t quite as great. He was beginning to heat up before an abdominal injury put him on the IL. When he returned, he wasn’t the same and didn’t see any postseason action. On the season, he hit .263 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs.

Now in 2020, the first base role is his to lose. The infield is not nearly as crowded with Didi Gregorius leaving for the Phillies. Gleyber Torres will now be the everyday shortstop, while DJ LeMahieu will be the full-time second baseman. Mike Ford will, however, be waiting behind Voit if he struggles. Ford definitely showed some promise with his lefty power in limited 2019 at-bats.

It would be so huge if Voit could get back to his late 2018 form. The Yankees are a power-hitting team, and Voit’s offensive production would be so big in the middle of the lineup. It would help fill a hole at first base that’s been there since the retirement of Mark Teixeira if he can sustain his stats for an entire season. He would be a no-doubt MVP caliber player.

The Underdogs: Giants Are Favorites in Just One Game in 2020

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have been a bit of a doormat in the NFL the past six seasons, posting just one winning season since 2012 and posting a .438 winning percentage for the 2010-2019 decade, their lowest win/loss percentage since the Wilderness Years of the 1970s.

So, it makes perfect sense that the oddsmakers, who now have the full NFL regular season schedule in their hands – have made the Giants favorites in just one game for the 2020 season. They are underdogs in 12 games and pick’em in three.

WEEK 1: Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants +3 (Monday)
WEEK 2: New York Giants @ Chicago Bears -5
WEEK 3:  San Francisco 49ers @ New York Giants +6½
WEEK 4:  New York Giants @ Los Angeles Rams -6½
WEEK 5:  New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys -7½
WEEK 6:  Washington Redskins @ New York Giants -5
WEEK 7:  New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles -7 (Thursday)
WEEK 8:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Giants +3 (Monday)
WEEK 9:  New York Giants @ Washington Redskins pk
WEEK 10:  Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants +3½
BYE
WEEK 12:  New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals pk
WEEK 13:  New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks -8½
WEEK 14:  Arizona Cardinals @ New York Giants pk
WEEK 15:  Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants +1
WEEK 16:  New York Giants @ Baltimore Ravens -12½
WEEK 17:  Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants +3

Last season, the Giants were favorites five times and had an against the spread record of 7-9.

Some interesting facts about the upcoming season from BetOnline.ag:

Baltimore is favored in all 16 games.
New Orleans is favored in 14 with two pick’ems.
San Francisco is favored in 13, one game a underdog, and two as a pick’em.
Kansas City is favored in 14 and underdogs for two.
Tampa Bay is favored in 12, underdogs for three and a pick’em for one.
Jacksonville is an underdog in all 16 games.
Cincinnati is favored in 1, underdogs in 14 and a pick’em in one
Carolina is favored in two, underdogs in 13 with one pick’em.
Washington is favored in two, underdogs in 13 with one pick’em.

Home team is favored 166 times, 64.8% of the time
Road team is favored 74 times, 28.9% of the time
16 games are a pick’em, 6.3% of the time
Week 5 has the most home favorites with 14 of 15
Week 7 is the only week where more road teams are favored (5-7-2)

3 Big Takeaways from the Giants 2020 Regular Season Schedule

New York Giants, Joe Judge

As we move closer to what we hope will be the start of the 2020 NFL season, big news came out on Thursday as the schedules for all 32 teams were released. There is a lot to point out with the New York Giants‘ schedule this season, so let’s dive right into three of the biggest takeaways.

Judge’s Prime-Time Debut

Judge will kick his NFL head coaching career off under the bright lights of his home stadium. Whether or not there will be fans in attendance to witness remains to be seen, but nonetheless, the pressure will be on right from the get-go.

The opponent won’t be so easy either, as the Giants will host a talented and hungry Pittsburgh Steelers team who just fell short of making the postseason last year. It will be a very tough test, and the Giants won’t have much room for error if they want to start the season off with a win.

The Steelers have had their hand against the Giants recently, winning 3 of the last four matchups. And, while this team has some questions marks, the return of Ben Roethlisberger combined with a good defense and one of the elite head coaches in the game in Mike Tomlin definitely will not make things easy for the Giants.

NFC East Three-Peat

The Giants won’t see any of their division rivals until Week 5 when they travel to Dallas, which is a little out of the ordinary. This marks the first time where the Giants’ first road game of the season won’t be in Dallas since 2014.

On top of that, they will be facing each of their division rivals one after the other from Weeks 5-7. After they travel to Dallas in Week 5, they come back to Jersey to host Washington and then travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles for some Thursday night action.

This crucial three-game stretch can either really help the Giants chances of making the playoffs or absolutely destroy them. If the Giants come away with two or more wins here, then they will be in a great position and have a firm grip on the division, but on the flip side, if they lose more than one of these games, it will become tough to overcome that even with the extra wild card team being added.

Aside from divisional games always being tough, the Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins each got better, so none of these games will be easy. The Giants also got substantially better, so it should make for some entertaining football.

Post-Bye Brutality

The Giants’ schedule overall is very challenging. Over the first ten games of the season, 8 of those games will be against teams who won at least seven games last season, and most of them only improved over the offseason.

Things aren’t getting any easier for the Giants after the bye week as they play three more teams who won at least eight games. Two of those teams, Seattle and Baltimore, won at least 11 games and aren’t slowing down anytime soon. They also will be playing a rising Arizona Cardinals team who should be much better in the second year of Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, especially after adding Deandre Hopkins via trade.

Let’s not forget about their Week 14 reunion with an old friend when Odell Beckham Jr. and the Cleveland Browns come to MetLife, too. They’ve added some bug talents and plugged some significant holes, especially along the offensive line, so expect them to be better as well.

So, if the Giants wish to surprise people and sneak into the playoff conversation this season, the road will be anything but smooth. With the difficult schedule, the new coaching staff, the pandemic-affected offseason, and the developing roster, the Giants will undoubtedly have their work cut out for them.

We shall see how it all gloriously unfolds, and it should be very entertaining nonetheless.

Why New York Yankees fans should be excited about Miguel Andujar this season

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

When Miguel Andujar missed last season due to should surgery, I think a lot of New York Yankees fans had forgotten how much of an impact player he was for the Bombers. Now that Andujar is fully recovered, another big season for the young slugger should be expected with no hesitation.

In his rookie season, Andujar batted .297 with 27 home runs and 92 runs batted in. According to FanGraphs, that season Andujar held a 91.8% contact rate when swinging at pitches inside the zone and an overall contact percentage of 81.9%, which is very good. Also, an OPS of .855 during your rookie season is nothing to forget about.

As every Yankee fan knows, Andujar controversially fell short for Rookie of the Year to Shohei Ohtani. To put Andujar’s rookie year into perspective, consider the following MLB star’s rookie numbers: Cody Bellinger held a 267BA with 39 home runs and 97 runs batted in while winning ROY. Ronald Acuna Jr. held a .293BA with 26 home runs and 64 runs batted in, while also winning Rookie of the Year. Bryce Harper held a .270BA while slugging 22 home runs and 59 runs batted in, while also being awarded ROY.

Granted, Andujar is still young and has a lot to prove until we can truly compare him to some of the league’s current bests. However, there is a trend with the New York Yankees’ young players. The development that the Yankees have done with Glyeber Torres, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, and many others is something special and I wouldn’t be surprised if Andujar develops the same.

The New York Jets’ offensive line will be tested early on in 2020 season

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

The New York Jets made it a priority to allocate plenty of resources this off-season toward the offensive line. General manager Joe Douglas was simply tired of watching Sam Darnold get sacked over and over, having gone down 63 times the past two seasons. Douglas went out and signed guard Greg Van Roten, center Conner McGovern, and tackle George Fant. However, he also used the 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft on massive Louisville tackle, Mekhi  Becton.

The amount of capital he spent on retooling this unit to boost Darnold’s efficiency is exactly what the team needed. Ultimately, based on the first few games of the upcoming season, a talented offensive line is going to be a necessity.

Adam Gase and the Jets will face off against the Buffalo Bills, who hold the number two defense in the league, and the San Francisco 49ers, who have the number eight ranked defense.

Buffalo just drafted AJ Epenesa in the second round of the NFL draft, not to mention already having Jerry Hughes, Star Lotulelei, and Ed Oliver. They have an impressive interior and pass rush group who will pose a significant threat against a new offensive line composed by the Jets. Their lack of chemistry and overall talent will be tested fiercely in week one.

After the first two weeks of the season, the Jets will travel to Indianapolis to face off against the Colts. The Colts do have Justin Houston and DeForest Buckner, two highly capable pass rushers. That makes three consecutive weeks of playing elite talent. However, it doesn’t stop there, as week four represents the Denver Broncos who feature Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.

So, four weeks in a row of consistently tough opponents. The Jets receive a bit of an easier opponent in the Arizona Cardinals, in week five, but they are a rising team and should not be overlooked. So, to start, the Jets have four consecutive weeks of tough defensive matchups that will significantly threaten the composer of their newly built protection scheme in the trenches. I expect them to rely heavily on their defense keeping them in the game and quick passes to running back Le’Veon Bell and slot receiver Jamison Crowder.

What does the New York Giants’ schedule tell us about the affect of the coronavirus?

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

With the NFL schedule being released on Thursday evening, the New York Giants are now set to open against the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first time since 1966. It will also mark the first game under new head coach Joe Judge, which he expressed his simplicity toward, stating that it is just another game that deserves the same amount of attention as the rest—spoken like a dedicated head coach with fundamentalist values.

However, the season could be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and baking contingency plans into the schedule was a necessity for the NFL. Oddly, the Giants won’t play the Dallas Cowboys until week five, which could indicate they anticipate games played without fans for the first few weeks of the season. The Giants always play the Cowboys within the first two weeks, making this very odd and likely throwing in low viewership games earlier on in the season to ensure they can maximize the better games later on.

The contingency plans the NFL have put in place revolve primarily around the Super Bowl, which is able to move back weeks if not months without affecting the regular season.

Ideally, they can move the entire regular season as a unit, without separating games for too long.

Adam Schefter of ESPN wrote:

If the league does need scheduling help that science cannot provide for the coronavirus pandemic, and delays to the season’s start eventually become necessary, sources around the league indicated that Super Bowl LV could be pushed back by weeks or even a couple of months, potentially, while not having to make significant matchup changes to the regular-season schedule.

Consider this option: Say the start of the season had to be pushed back four weeks — again, not the league’s plan and not what it wants, but a hypothetical — then the NFL simply could push the Super Bowl back four weeks. It then could take regular-season Weeks 1 through 4 and turn them into, essentially, regular-season Weeks 18, 19, 20 and 21.

What does this mean? If the league is forced to close for a few weeks, they can just add the missed weeks onto the end of the season, which could actually result in the New York Giants playing the Cowboys week 1 after all. Since the Super Bowl will be played in Tampa Bay, the weather isn’t much of a factor.

FULL SCHEDULE:

Week 1: Pittsburgh Steelers (HOME) Monday, Sept. 14 – 7:15 PM

Week 2: Chicago Bears (AWAY) Sunday, Sept. 20 – 1 PM

Week 3: San Francisco 49ers (HOME) Sunday, Sept. 27 – 1 PM

Week 4: Los Angeles Rams (AWAY) Sunday, Oct. 4 – 1 PM

Week 5: Dallas Cowboys (AWAY) Sunday, Oct. 11 – 4:25 PM

Week 6: Washington Redskins (HOME) Sunday, Oct. 18 – 1 PM

Week 7: Philadelphia Eagles (AWAY) Thursday, Oct. 22 – 8:20 PM

Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (HOME) Monday, Nov. 2 – 8:15 PM

Week 9: Washington Redskins (AWAY) Sunday, Nov. 8 – 1 PM

Week 10: Philadelphia Eagles (HOME) Sunday, Nov. 15 – 1 PM

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: Cincinnati Bengals (AWAY) Sunday, Nov. 29 – 1 PM

Week 13: Seattle Seahawks (AWAY) Sunday, Dec. 6 – 4:05 PM

Week 14: Arizona Cardinals(HOME) Sunday, Dec. 13 – 1 PM

Week 15: Cleveland Browns (HOME) Sunday, Dec. 20 – 1 PM

Week 16: Baltimore Ravens (AWAY) Sunday, Dec. 27 – 1 PM

Week 17: Dallas Cowboys (HOMES) Sunday, Jan. 3 – 1 PM