EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - A home game against the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, four prime time games and two meetings with the Dallas Cowboys in the season's final four weeks highlight the Giants' 2011 schedule, released today by the NFL.
The Giants will play three of their first four games on the road, including the season opener on Sept. 11 in Washington. They will host the Packers on Sunday, Dec. 4. The Giants will play two Monday night games – vs. St. Louis on Sept. 19 and at New Orleans on Nov. 28 - and two Sunday night games – vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 20 and at Dallas on Dec. 11.
On Dec. 24, the Giants will be the visitors on their home field when they face the Jets in New Meadowlands Stadium.
"As always, we face a very challenging and difficult schedule," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "Two of our first three games are division road games, so we have to start well, because your divisional games count twice as much. We have to be ready to play.
"But our deal is how we finish and we play three of our last four games in the NFC East. We need to play good football at the end of the season. Part of our objective for the 2011 season is going to be how our football team plays in the fourth quarter and how we finish. And it's an extremely challenging finish."
The Giants will begin Coughlin's eighth season as head coach on Sunday, Sept. 11 in Washington against the Redskins, meaning teams from the two cities most severely impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks will meet on that solemn day's 10th anniversary. Pittsburgh, of course, was a third NFL city intimately affected by the devastation on 9/11 after Flight 93 crashed 80 miles away near Shanksville, Pa.
The following week, the Giants will open the home portion of their schedule on Monday night, Sept. 19, against the St. Louis Rams, who are coached by former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. It will be the Giants' first home Monday night game in eight years.
The Giants will then play their next two games on the road. They will visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. in their second NFC East game. A week later, the Giants will face the Arizona Cardinals at 4:05 in University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of their Super Bowl XLII triumph.
On Oct. 9, the Giants will host the Seattle Seahawks in the first of a three-game homestand that is interrupted by the bye week and in which all games will begin at 1 p.m. The Buffalo Bills will visit New Meadowlands Stadium on Oct. 16. The Giants will be off on Oct. 23 before resuming action at home against the Miami Dolphin on Oct. 30.
"We're going to need our fans to be on board for all of these home games," Coughlin said. "And when you look at some of these opponents, we don't know them very well. We haven't played Buffalo or Miami (since 2007)."
After the long stay at home, the Giants will play three of their next four games on the road. They will face the Patriots in New England on Nov. 6 and the 49ers in San Francisco on Nov. 13. Both games are scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m.
The Giants will play their first home division game on Nov. 20, when they host the Eagles in a Sunday night game that is scheduled to begin at 8:20 p.m. They're back in prime time the following week when they visit the New Orleans Saints on Monday, Nov. 28, at 8:30 p.m.
On Dec. 4, the Giants will face the defending champion Packers for the second consecutive season.
The Giants are scheduled to play their third night game in four weeks when they visit the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 11 at 8:20 p.m.
New Meadowlands Stadium will be the site of the Giants' final three games, all currently scheduled for 1 p.m. The Giants will host the Redskins on Dec. 18. They will face the Jets on Saturday, Dec. 24. The Giants will conclude their season with a home game against Dallas on Jan. 1.
Some highlights from the Giants' 2011 schedule:
*The Giants will play seven games against 2010 playoff teams – two against Philadelphia and one apiece against defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, New England and the Jets.
*This will be the third time in four seasons the Giants will open against Washington; they defeated the Redskins in season openers at home in 2008 and 2009.
*This is the first time the Giants will open on the road since 2007, when they lost a Sunday night game in Dallas.
*The Giants are 49-32-5 on opening day and 48-33-5 in road openers.
*This is the Giants' first season opener in Washington since 1989, when they defeated the Redskins, 26-24, on Raul Allegre's 52-yard field goal as time expired.
*The Giants concluded their 2010 season with a 17-14 defeat of the Redskins in FedEx Field. This is the first time the Giants will begin a season vs. the same team against whom they ended the previous season since 1995, when they lost to Dallas after beating them in the 1994 season finale. Both games were in Giants Stadium. That is also the last time the Giants ended one season and began the next in the same venue.
*When they face the Rams on Sept. 19, the Giants will host a Monday night game for the first time in the eight-year Coughlin era (not counting the 2005 game against New Orleans in Giants Stadium in which the Saints were the home team). They have been the visitors in their last nine Monday night games (including that Saints game), most recently in a 21-3 victory over Minnesota in Detroit last Dec. 13, a game that was changed from a Sunday afternoon affair in Minneapolis after the Metrodome roof collapsed in a blizzard.
The last time the Giants were the home team on a Monday night was Sept. 15, 2003, when they lost to the Cowboys in overtime, 35-32. They lost their last two Monday night home games, including a 10-9 defeat to Philadelphia in 2001. The Giants' last Monday night home victory was a 13-10 triumph over the Cowboys on Oct. 18, 1999. That is the Giants' only home victory on a Monday night since 1991.
*The Giants last played their home opener on a Monday night in 1995, when they lost to Dallas.
*The Giants are 21-31-1 on Monday night and 15-20-1 on Sunday night.
*Against each of their three NFC East opponents, the Giants play the first game on the road and the second at home.
*The Giants twice play back-to-back road games: at Philadelphia and at Arizona on Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 and at New England and at San Francisco on Nov. 6 and 13.
*The Oct. 30 home game vs. Miami will be the 1,200th regular season game in Giants history.
*The three-game homestand is the Giants' first since 2006, when they defeated Tampa Bay and Houston and lost to Chicago.
*The Giants' bye is in Week 7; last year it was Week 8.
*The Giants will play in one domed stadium – the Louisiana Superdome – and one stadium with a retractable roof, in Arizona.
*When the Giants visit the Cowboys on Dec. 11, it will be the sixth consecutive season their annual game in Dallas will be played in prime time. They won Monday night games in 2006 and 2010 and a Sunday night game in 2009 and lost on Sunday nights in 2007 and 2008. The Giants are 5-10 against the Cowboys in prime time.
*The Giants will finish the regular season at home for the first time since 2007, when they faced New England.
*The Giants will conclude their season against Dallas for the first time since 2004, Coughlin's first season with the Giants.
*The Giants last week announced their four preseason opponents, but the dates and times of every game have not yet been finalized.
They will visit the Panthers in Charlotte on the first preseason weekend (Aug. 11-15) before hosting the Chicago Bears on Monday, Aug. 22 in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPN.
In Preseason Week 3 (Aug. 25-29), the Giants will host the Jets in their annual preseason game. To conclude the preseason, the Giants will travel to Foxboro to face the Patriots, marking the seventh consecutive year the two teams have closed the preseason by facing one another.
*The kickoff times for six of the Giants' second-half games – including night games vs. Philadelphia and at Dallas - will be subject to the NFL's flexible schedule policy.
The NFL will utilize flexible scheduling in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17. It will not be in effect in Week 16, which includes Christmas Day.
In the weeks flexible scheduling is in place, the NFL schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday night on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game will be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights.
A flexible scheduling move will be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the change may be announced six days before the game. Flexible scheduling was designed to ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give "surprise" teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.
The six Giants games that could have their kickoff times changed are at San Francisco on Nov. 13 (currently listed as a 4:15 p.m. start), vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 20 (8:20 p.m.), vs. Green Bay on Dec. 4 (4:15 p.m.), at Dallas on Dec. 11 (8:20 p.m.), vs. Washington on Dec. 18 (1 p.m.) and vs. Dallas on Jan. 1 (1 p.m.).
The kickoff times of late season games at New Orleans (Monday, Nov. 28 at 8:30) and at the Jets (Dec. 24 at 1 p.m.) cannot be changed.
A closer look at the Giants' 2011 schedule:
Sunday, Sept. 11, 4:15, FOX
New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, Dec. 18, *1 p.m., FOX
Washington's 2010 record: 6-10
Series Record -- Regular season: Giants lead, 91-61-4; Postseason: Tied, 1-1
The Giants have faced the Redskins 156 times in the regular season since their first game in 1932, making this their most frequently-contested rivalry. The Giants have won six consecutive games against the Redskins, their longest winning streak over Washington since they won six in a row from 1993-95 and their longest streak vs. an NFC East opponent since they defeated Philadelphia eight consecutive times (plus once in the playoffs) from 1997-2000. The Giants have won nine of their last 10 games against the Redskins. In addition, the Giants have won their last five games in Washington, the first time in their history they've won five consecutive road games against one opponent. In 2010, they swept the season series for the third consecutive year, winning 31-7 at home on Dec. 5 and 17-14 in the season finale in FedEx Field, where they are 8-5-1. The Giants have swept the season series with the Redskins 30 times.
St. Louis Rams
New Meadowlands Stadium
Monday, Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
St. Louis' 2010 Record: 7-9
Series Record -- Regular season: Giants trail, 25-13; Postseason: Tied, 1-1
The Giants won the last four meetings between the teams in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2008, a streak that immediately followed a five-game St. Louis winning streak in the series. The Giants are 8-12 in regular season games vs. the Rams, which included a 5-6 mark in Giants Stadium. St. Louis' head coach is Steve Spagnuolo, who was the Giants' defensive coordinator in 2007 and '08.
Lincoln Financial Field
Sunday, Sept. 25, 1 p.m., FOX
New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, Nov. 20, *8:20 p.m., NBC
Philadelphia's 2010 record: 10-6, won NFC East
Series Record -- Regular season: Giants lead, 79-71-2; Postseason: Tied, 2-2
The Eagles have won the last six games in the series, including five in the regular season (sweeping the series in 2009 and 2010) and a postseason victory in 2008. The Giants held fourth-quarter leads in each game vs. Philadelphia last year, but lost 27-17 on Nov. 21 in Lincoln Financial Field and 38-31 on Dec. 19 in New Meadowlands Stadium. The Giants won four consecutive regular season games in Lincoln Financial Field from 2005-08, Each team swept the season series 11 times in the last 26 seasons. The Giants won both games in 1985, 86, 87, 93, 94, 97-2000, 2005 and 2007. Philadelphia swept the series in 1988, 89, 91, 92, 95, 96, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010. The teams split their season series in 1990, 2002, 2006 and 2008. The Giants are 4-4 in the regular season and 0-1 in postseason play in Lincoln Financial Field.
University of Phoenix Stadium
Sunday, Oct. 2, 4:05 p.m., FOX
Arizona's 2010 record: 5-11
Series Record -- Giants lead, 79-49-2
The Giants will make their third visit – second in the regular season – to University of Phoenix Stadium, where they defeated New England in Super Bowl XLII. Their only regular season game there was on Nov. 23, 2008, when Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes in a 37-29 triumph. The Cardinals won the teams' most recent meeting, 24-17, on Oct. 25, 2009 in Giants Stadium. The Giants are 10-7 in Arizona since the Cardinals moved there from St. Louis following the 1987 season.
New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, Oct. 9, 1 p.m., FOX
Seattle's 2010 Record: 7-9, won NFC West, lost divisional playoff game.
Series Record -- Giants lead, 9-5
The Giants won the last two games in the series by a combined 85-13. Last Nov. 7, they routed the Seahawks in Qwest Field, 41-7. On Oct. 5, 2008, they earned a 44-6 victory in Giants Stadium. The Giants' triumph in Seattle last year ended a streak of nine consecutive victories by the home team in the series. The streak began with the Seahawks' 17-12 victory on Oct. 19, 1986, which was the last defeat suffered by the Giants' first Super Bowl championship team. The Giants beat the Seahawks in Giants Stadium in 1989, 1992, 2001, 2002 and 2008 and lost in Seattle in 1986, 1995, 2005 and 2006. The Seahawks last defeated the Giants in New Jersey on Dec. 11, 1983, a 17-12 decision.
New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, Oct. 16, 1 p.m., CBS
Buffalo's 2010 record: 4-12
Series Record -- Regular season: Giants trail, 6-4; Postseason: Giants lead, 1-0
This will be the Giants' first home game vs. the Bills since 2003, when Buffalo won, 24-7. The Giants lost the last three games in which they hosted Buffalo, in 1990, 1996 and 2003. The only time they defeated the Bills at home was in the teams' first-ever meeting on Dec. 6, 1970, when the Giants won, 20-6. The Giants did win the most significant game the teams played against each other, defeating the Bills, 20-19 in Super Bowl XXV in Tampa on Jan. 27, 1991.
Week 7: Bye
New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, Oct. 30, 1 p.m., CBS
Miami's 2010 Record: 7-9
Series Record -- Giants lead, 4-2
The Giants will face the Dolphins for only the seventh time, their fewest games against any opponent in existence at the 1970 merger. A 1987 Giants-Dolphins game that would have been played in South Florida was canceled by the players strike. This will be their first meeting since Oct. 28, 2007, when the Giants defeated the Dolphins, 13-10, in London's Wembley Stadium in the first NFL regular season game in history played outside of North America. The Giants are 1-2 as the home team vs. the Dolphins, most recently losing a 23-10 decision on Oct. 5, 2003. Miami was 6-2 on the road in 2010.
New England Patriots
Sunday, Nov. 6, 4:15 p.m., FOX
New England's 2010 Record: 14-2, won AFC East, lost divisional playoff game.
Series Record -- Giants trail, 5-3; Postseason: Giants lead, 1-0
The Giants and Patriots will meet for the first time in the regular season since the Giants defeated New England in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14. That game was played five weeks after the Giants narrowly lost, 38-35, to a Patriots team that completed a 16-0 regular season. New England won the last four regular season games in the series, in 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007. The 2003 game was the Giants' only previous regular season visit to Gillette Stadium, though they have played four preseason games there and will do so again this summer. The Giants' last regular season victory over the Patriots was by a 13-10 score on Dec. 30, 1990. In the teams' eight regular season games, the Giants have scored 143 points, the Patriots 142.
San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, Nov. 13, *4:15 p.m., FOX
San Francisco's 2010 Record: 6-10
Series Record -- Regular season: Giants lead, 14-13; Postseason: Giants trail, 4-3
The Giants have a three-game winning streak in the series with victories in 2005, 2007 and 2008, the first of them in San Francisco. Prior to that, the 49ers had won the previous five meetings, including postseason triumphs in 1993 and 2002. The Giants are 4-6 in the regular season and 1-4 in the postseason in Candlestick Park since the 49ers moved there in 1971. How close is this series? The teams have met 34 times in the regular season and postseason. Each team has 17 victories and they are separated by only five points. The regular season point total is tied, 533-533. The 49ers hold a 161-156 edge in postseason points.
Vs. Philadelphia – see above.
New Orleans Saints
Monday, Nov. 28, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Saints' 2010 Record: 11-5, lost NFC Wild Card Game
Series Record -- Giants lead, 14-11
For the second time in three seasons, the Giants will visit the Superdome, where they lost, 48-27, to the Saints on Oct. 18, 2009. New Orleans has won two in a row and three of the last four in the series. The Giants are 4-7 as visitors vs. the Saints – 3-7 in New Orleans, 3-6 the Superdome and 1-0 in Giants Stadium, where a Saints home game was played in 2005 after the team was forced to leave New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Saints Coach Sean Payton was the Giants' quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator from 1999-2002.
Green Bay Packers
New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, Dec. 4, *4:15 p.m., FOX
Green Bay's 2010 record: 10-6, won Super Bowl XVL
Series Record -- Regular season: Giants trail, 26-21-2; Postseason: Giants trail, 4-2
The Giants and Packers will meet for the second year in a row. On Dec. 26, 2010, Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes as the Packers won in Lambeau Field, 45-17. That was the team's first meeting since the Giants' epic 23-20 overtime victory in frigid Green Bay in the 2007 NFC Championship Game. The Packers won each of their final three games in Giants Stadium – in 1998, 2001 and a 35-13 triumph on Sept. 16, 2007. The Giants' most recent home victory over Green Bay was a 27-7 decision on Nov. 8, 1992. The Giants are 7-18 in regular season games against defending Super Bowl champions (plus 2-0 in the postseason). This is their first game against the reigning titlists since Nov. 24, 2003, when they lost a Monday night game at Tampa Bay, 19-13.
Sunday, Dec. 11, *8:20 p.m., NBC
New Meadowlands Stadium
Sunday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m., FOX
Dallas' 2010 record: 6-10
Series Record -- Regular season: Giants trail, 56-39-2; Postseason: Giants lead, 1-0
The Giants split their two games with the Cowboys in 2010, with each team winning on the road. On Oct. 25, the Giants overcame a 13-point deficit to win, 41-35, as Eli Manning threw four touchdown passes. The Giants are 2-0 in Cowboys Stadium, which opened in 2009. But on Nov. 14, the Cowboys defeated the Giants, 33-20, in their first visit to New Meadowlands Stadium and Jason Garrett's debut as head coach. The Giants swept the season series in 2009, while Dallas' last sweep was in 2007 (when the Giants later won the only playoff game the teams have played against each other). The Giants have swept the season series 11 times, while Dallas has 18 series sweeps. The Giants are 17-31-1 in Dallas.
Vs. Washington (above)
New York Jets
New Meadowlands Stadium
Saturday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m., FOX
Jets' 2010 Record: 11-5, lost the AFC Championship Game
Series Record -- Giants lead, 7-4
The Giants will be the visiting team on their home field when they face the Jets for the 12th time since the regular season series began in 1970. The teams have met in the preseason every summer since 1969. The Giants won the last four regular season games vs. the Jets, in 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007. They are 4-2 in the games in which they are the visiting team.
Vs. Dallas (see above)
*Game subject to Flex Scheduling All Times are EASTERN