When considering the strength of a schedule in the NFL, a lot of factors play a part. We are going to take a look at the New York Giants‘ top three most difficult games for the season ahead, and a majority of those games come in a mentally and physically tough stretch.
To start off the season, Big Blue will take their first shot at a solid Jacksonville Jaguars team, stacked full of defensive talent and youth on the offensive side of the ball. They added star-studded guard Andrew Norwell and a serviceable receiver in Donte Moncrief. They also grabbed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and corner D.J. Hayden. They proceeded to terminate the contract of Allen Hurns, but drafted D.J. Clark in the second-round of the 2018 NFL draft out of LSU.
There’s no doubt that the Jags will provide a good test for a young Giants team featuring Saquon Barkley, Will Herenandez, Nate Solder, and Odell Beckham Jr. Taking on a solid opponent in week one could get the ball rolling early in a tough first-half of the season, or it could present a serious struggle as they take on Dallas the following week.
For the game, though, the Giants will fail to pull out a victory despite a strong effort, given our prediction. Testing their resilience is not a bad thing either, as they will need to learn to lose as a team before they can make a playoff run.
Final Score: 23-17 – Jaguars
The second most tantalizing matchup comes only a few weeks later, as they take on the Eagles in a Thursday night football showdown. This game is coming off a tough road matchup against the Carolina Panthers, Dave Gettlman’s old club.
The Eagles are coming off their first Super Bowl win ever and will be looking to continue the success they had in 2017. The Eagles will be an extremely dangerous team in the coming year, as they added pieces to the defensive line and signed speedster receiver Mike Wallace. The return of Carson Wentz further puts the Giants in a bad position, as they have too much youth on the offensive side of the ball to be considered the favorites. Their secondary is also thin, which doesn’t bode well against one of the NFL’s top pass-throwers. It’s yet to be determined if Wentz will return from a torn ACL fully, and if there will be any lingering effects, but it’s likely he will make a full-recovery, putting the week six game for the Giants very much in question.
Final Score: 27-24 – Eagles
The final game that presents a major issue for the Giants will be the week 17 matchup against the Cowboys. Despite losing to both the Jags and Eagles in their previous two intimidating matchups, they will have the opportunity to stifle the Cowboys at MetLife. The reason this game will be so important is the fact that both teams will be vying for a playoff spot, and whoever manages to squeak out the win will earn the spot in the Wild-Card.
We all know the Cowboys will not give this game away to the Giants, so it’s extremely important that Big Blue brings their A-game. Dallas added several new pieces on the defensive side of the ball – one being Leighton Vander-Esch, their first-round pick out of Boise state. The linebacker brings an instictual prowess to his game, making him the exact type of player that haunts the minds of Giants fans twice per-year.
Luckily, they lost Dez Bryant and the “Giant killer” Jason Witten. They signed Allen Hurns, but his impact could be a lot, or nothing at all.
The Giants will need to utilize their prized possession in Saquon Barkley to get this win, as baiting the secondary with long balls to Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard, and dumping it off to Barkley will be the winning formula. Getting passed their first-level is the key to success against the Cowboys, as they made building their defensive line and linebacker corps a priority this offseason.