Three Giants writers give their take on the Giants' 2018 schedule:
Our writers give their first impressions of the Giants' 2018 schedule, which was released Thursday night.
That the Giants aren't opening the season in Dallas HAS to be takeaway number one. Of course, they do travel there in Week 2. Small steps, right? I'll take what I can get. Barbeque for everyone on September 15th in Dallas. In the bigger picture, the Giants players better get the schemes of their new coaching staff down fast because they do not have the luxury to start slow early in the season. The first seven games of the year are all extremely difficult, so the team needs to hit the ground running in September.
The first seven opponents of the season all finished with nine wins last year spare the Houston Texans, who had only four but will have DeShaun Watson back in 2018. The Cowboys finished with nine wins, the Falcons and Jaguars had 10, the Saints and Panthers both had 11, while the Eagles finished with 13 and won the Super Bowl. Whew.
The Giants will also get Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott, and likely a healthy Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. Four of the first seven are also on the road. Nothing is guaranteed year to year in the NFL, but that's a body of work and talent base.
And it isn't as though it gets much easier after the first seven either. The Giants play division rival Washington in Week 8, at San Francisco off the bye in Week 10, and then host the Bucs before playing at Philadelphia on Thanksgiving weekend. If the Giants can survive the first 11 games of the schedule, they should have a good chance of closing strong in December against the Bears, Redskins, Titans and Colts before closing the season at home against the Cowboys.
Giants.com looks at the opposing stadiums that the team will travel to during the 2018 season.
Other than immediately checking if the NFL had the guts to schedule another opener in Dallas, my first reaction was really no reaction. It was, "OK, but what's going to happen in the draft?" We have known the opponents for a while, and now that we have the order, I don't know how much of a difference it makes. The Giants are at a point as a franchise where they are trying to figure themselves out. That has to come first and foremost. They have a new general manager with a new methodology, a new head coach with a new vision, new coordinators with new schemes, and a new roster. On top of that, they are about to draft the next face of their franchise, whether that's a quarterback, running back or whatever.
So before you get caught up in strength of schedule or if the second half is easier than the first half, also remember nothing is a gimme. As Billy Costigan quoted Hawthorne in "The Departed", families are always rising and falling in America. The same can be said for teams in the NFL.
For just the second time in seven campaigns, the Giants won't open the season against the Cowboys. I can't tell you how disappointed I am, although we don't have to wait too long as that first matchup will happen in Week 2. I like the fact that the divisional part of the schedule is much more balanced than 2017. Last year, the Giants played just two divisional games in their first 10 contests and four in their final six. In 2018, they have three divisional games in their first eight and then three more in the second half. The same can be said for the schedule overall as the Giants only have two consecutive road games, both in Texas in Weeks 2 and 3 when they visit the Cowboys and Texans, respectively. Outside of those two contests, every other game this season rotates with a home game followed by a road contest.
Although it's impossible to know what type of shape teams will be in when we get a few games into the season and I absolutely hate speculating about the schedule, it's fair to say, the true test of the season will come from Weeks 4 through 8 heading into the bye as the Giants defense will have to deal with Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan and Alex Smith in five consecutive weeks. They will have some additional rest built in as they play Thursday night in Week 6 at home against the Eagles and don't suit up again until Monday night in Week 7 in Atlanta.
Giants.com looks at the quarterbacks expected to face the Giants in 2018.