In this special edition of "Cover 3" on Giants.com, the crew reacts to the 2019 schedule release.
JOHN SCHMEELK: In Dallas Week 1. Again. Seriously? I do not understand this obsession and I never will. Beyond that, a few things jumped out to me:
*There are three primetime games but no Sunday night games. This is the first time since joining the organization in 2007 I can remember there isn't a Sunday night game on the schedule. Of course, a game could be flexed to Sunday night, but that there isn't one on the schedule before the season starts is a surprise. New York is a huge market and Saquon Barkley is a huge star.
*The Giants play at home on November 4 against Dallas on a Monday night, and the Giants' second Monday night game is on the road in Philadelphia on December 9. It is always a good thing when there isn't a long trip for a Monday night game. A long flight on a short week is more challenging.
*The Giants' lone Thursday night game is also on the road in the toughest place to try to win a football game: New England. Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 10.
*Three of the team's first four games are against teams that finished below .500 in 2018. After opening against Dallas, the Giants play the Bills at home, at Tampa Bay and at home against the Redskins. The first four games also feature two division matchups. If the team can somehow win both division games and start 3-1, it would be in great position the rest of the season. You have to go at least 3-3 in the division to have a shot at winning it.
*The three games following the bye week are tough: at Chicago, home against the Packers and at Philadelphia.
*The Giants close their season with three of four against divisional opponents, two against the Eagles and one in Washington on December 22. They close the season at home against the Eagles on December 29.
DAN SALOMONE: There are 17 weeks to the schedule, but I only care about six of them. None of the schedule release hoopla means a thing if the Giants don't take care of their divisional matchups – no matter when or where they happen. Since the Giants last won the NFC East in 2011, the same year they claimed their last Lombardi Trophy, they are 16-26 in the division. They went 1-5 each of the past two seasons against their closest rivals. The only year they had a winning record in the division during that span was 2016, the last time they made the playoffs. That is not a coincidence. The good news is that the NFC East turns over at an incredible rate. There have been no repeat winners since the Eagles won four in a row from 2001-04. Dallas, which went 5-1 in the division last year, is next up in trying to buck the trend. If the Giants can win more games than not in the division and defend their home turf, they will be in good shape.
LANCE MEDOW: When have you heard this before? The Giants are opening the season against the Cowboys and it's going to happen for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. In general, I'm not a fan of having divisional games this early in the season but given it's the 100th anniversary of the NFL, I'm not surprised that they're looking to have as many rivalry games as possible in Week 1. My first takeaway from glancing at the schedule is that it is similar to last year, the Giants are essentially alternating home and road games the entire season with the exception of Weeks 4 and 5 when they host the Redskins and Vikings. New York also has a late bye in Week 11 meaning they'll have to get through the grind of the first ten games without a break following four preseason games.
Eleven of the team's 16 games are currently slated for Sunday 1 PM eastern kickoffs, which resembles 2018, and the three primetime game are spread out enough that the team won't have to deal with any noticeable quick turnarounds other than traveling to New England on Thursday night in Week 6. The final quarter of the season is always a challenge with three divisional games in four weeks but when you take into consideration right before that stretch the Giants will have to face two NFC opponents in the Bears and Packers, the final six games following the bye will likely be a season defining stretch.