There are no games off in the NFL, but some are hyped more than others.
From facing the defending Super Bowl champion to a grudge match with a division winner after last year's overtime thriller, the Giants' 2019 schedule has it all. Here are five intriguing games to circle this season:
Week 1 @ Dallas Cowboys; Location: AT&T Stadium
Last meeting: Dec. 30, 2018 (Giants lost, 36-35); Series record: 45-66-2 (1-0 postseason)
The Giants are looking to get back to their winning ways in AT&T Stadium, where they won in the first four seasons of the venue (2009-12). Since then, they are just 1-5 with the lone victory coming in the season opener of their last playoff year in 2016. That means they are split 5-5 all-time at the site, making this year the tiebreaker. Eight of the 10 meetings there have been decided by seven points or fewer, including two by a single point.
Week 6 @ New England Patriots; Location: Gillette Stadium
Last meeting: Nov. 15, 2015 (Giants lost, 27-26); Series record: 4-6 (2-0 postseason)
And so they meet again. Eli Manning and the Giants had a good thing going against the AFC East, as they won the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011 over the Patriots after seeing them and the other three teams in the division in the regular season. But the four-year cycle came to an end in 2015 when the Giants lost to the Patriots by one point at home on a 54-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with a second remaining. This will be just the second regular-season game at Gillette Stadium for Manning, who threw a game-winning touchdown to Jake Ballard with 15 seconds left in his first trip. Meanwhile, the New England dynasty is in its second act, winning two of the past three Super Bowls and three of the last five to bring its total to six with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the former Giants defensive coordinator.
Week 10 @ New York Jets; Location: MetLife Stadium
Last meeting: Dec. 6, 2015 (Giants lost, 23-20, in OT); Series record: 8-5
Saquon Barkley and Sam Darnold will be forever linked in the metro area. The Giants chose the former Penn State running back in the face of what many deemed a strong quarterback class. And they did so one pick before the Jets took the quarterback out of USC third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. It was a win-win for both sides. Barkley was named the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Darnold finished last season on a high note as he threw six touchdowns to one interception in the final four games. The Giants went 2-2 against the AFC East the last time they faced the division in 2015, losing to the Patriots and Jets by a combined four points. Randy Bullock clinched the victory for the Jets with a 31-yard field goal in overtime.
Week 12 @Chicago Bears; Location: Soldier Field
Last meeting: Dec. 2, 2018 (Giants won, 30-27, in OT); Series record: 21-28-2 (3-5 postseason)
The signature win in the Giants' second-half surge last season came against the eventual NFC North champion Bears. Facing one of the best defenses in the league, Barkley ran for 125 yards, including a sensational 22-yard run on third-and-23 late in the first half. It helped set up an Aldrick Rosas 57-yard field goal, the longest in franchise history, before heading into the locker room. Rosas, who made the Pro Bowl, went on to kick a 44-yard field goal in overtime for the win. The Giants forced three turnovers in the game, including a pick-six by linebacker Alec Ogletree less than a minute into the December meeting.
Week 13 vs. Green Bay Packers; Location: MetLife Stadium
Last meeting: Jan. 28, 2017 (Giants lost, 38-13, in Wild Card Round); Series record: 26-33-2 (3-5 postseason)
For the first time since 2006, the Packers have a new head coach. Former Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur took over for Mike McCarthy, who led Green Bay to nine postseason appearances (including a Super Bowl title) but none since 2016. However, it's never considered a rebuild with a two-time league MVP under center. Aaron Rodgers is 4-2 overall against the Giants, including one loss and one victory in the postseason. He is 1-1 against Big Blue at MetLife Stadium.