Every game is big in the NFL, but some just get hyped more than others.
From facing a rival on Christmas Day to seeing Aaron Rodgers with Gang Green to Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen traveling to their old stomping grounds in Buffalo, the Giants' 2023 schedule has it all.
Here are five intriguing games to circle this season:
View photos of the New York Giants' official 2023 schedule.
Week 1 vs. Dallas Cowboys (SNF)
- Time & Date: Sunday, Sept. 10 (8:20 p.m. ET)
- Location: MetLife Stadium
- Record vs. Opponent: 46-73-2 (1-0 postseason)
- Last Meeting: Nov. 24, 2022 (L, 28-20)
After breaking tradition for three seasons, the NFL returned to its comfort zone of penciling Giants vs. Cowboys in Week 1. The NFC East rivals opened their seasons against each other in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019. The only one of that batch not played in Dallas was 2012, when the Giants opened at home on a Wednesday coming off their fourth Super Bowl title.
That is ancient history, of course.
The Giants, who went 9-7-1 and won a playoff game in Coach of the Year Brian Daboll's inaugural season, will attempt to do the most difficult thing in professional football – sustain success. Despite the turnaround, general manager Joe Schoen said in his season-ending press conference that the Giants needed to close the "talent gap" coming off a 1-4-1 record against the NFC East (not including the playoff loss to the Eagles). They were swept by Dallas and Philadelphia, posting the victory and tie against Washington.
"Obviously, we didn't do that well in division play last year, so I think that's something for us that's going to be heavily emphasized," safety Xavier McKinney said at the start of the offseason workout program. "I don't really see it as just one team that we need to be worried about; I think it's all of the teams in our division. That's just how I see it, and I think that's how a lot of us see it on the team."
The Giants can start closing that gap right out of the gate in 2023.
Week 3 at 49ers (TNF)
- Time & Date: Thursday, Sept. 21 (8:15 p.m.)
- Location: Levi's Stadium
- Record vs. Opponent: 17-17 (4-4 postseason)
- Last Meeting: Sept. 27, 2020 (L, 36-9)
The Giants play four primetime games in the first six weeks. The trip to San Francisco will be the second leg of back-to-back games out West after playing in Arizona. Outside of their respective division foes, the Giants and 49ers have one of the most storied rivalries. The all-time series is split evenly – 17-17 in the regular season and 4-4 in the postseason. Three of the Giants' four Super Bowl championship runs have included playoff wins over the 49ers.
Regarding the current generation, the 49ers have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL, winning at least two postseason games in three of the past four seasons under Kyle Shanahan.
The matchup will be a good test for what the Giants hope is an improved run defense. After allowing the sixth-most rushing yards in 2022, the Giants beefed up the defensive front in free agency with linemen A'Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches and linebacker Bobby Okereke. Dexter Lawrence, meanwhile, signed a contract extension after becoming one of the most dominant defenders in the league last season.
Week 6 at Bills (SNF)
- Time & Date: Sunday, Oct. 15 (8:20 p.m.)
- Location: Highmark Stadium
- Record vs. Opponent: 6-7 (1-0 postseason)
- Last Meeting: Sept. 15, 2019 (L, 28-14)
The connections run deep between East Rutherford and Orchard Park. Daboll spent four successful seasons as the Bills' offensive coordinator and Schoen served as assistant general manager to Brandon Beane before they took over the Giants.
It will also be the first meeting between quarterbacks Daniel Jones (sixth overall draft pick in 2019) and Josh Allen (seventh overall in 2018). Jones and Allen were two of four quarterbacks with 700+ rushing yards and seven touchdowns runs in 2022.
Week 8 vs. Jets
- Time & Date: Sunday, Oct. 29 (1 p.m.)
- Location: MetLife Stadium
- Record vs. Opponent: 8-6
- Last Meeting: Nov. 10, 2019 (L, 34-27)
The Giants are the "home" team in the 15th edition of the series.
The Jets won the previous two meetings in 2015 and 2019 by a combined 10 points (including one that went to overtime), breaking a streak of five consecutive wins for the Giants that dated back to 1996.
After a 7-4 start last season, the Jets lost their final six games and finished 7-10 in 2022, a three-win improvement from 2021 under Robert Saleh.
Of course, the Jets have set their sights higher after they finalized a trade with the Green Bay Packers to acquire quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The four-time NFL MVP was 4-2 against the Giants in the regular season with Green Bay and 1-1 in the postseason. The one playoff loss occurred in the Giants' run to Super Bowl XLVI.
The Jets were an attractive team after they produced both the offensive (wide receiver Garrett Wilson) and defensive (cornerback Sauce Gardner) rookies of the year. It was the third time in NFL history that a team won both awards (1967 Lions and 2017 Saints) in the same year.
Week 16 at Eagles (Christmas)
- Time & Date: Monday, Dec. 25 (4:30 p.m.)
- Location: Lincoln Financial Field
- Record vs. Opponent: 85-89-2 (2-3 postseason)
- Last Meeting: Jan. 21, 2023 (L, 38-7, Div. Round)
There have been 27 Christmas Day games in NFL history, including playoffs. While this will be the Giants' first appearance on the holiday, the Eagles are one of two teams that are undefeated on Christmas with at least two games played (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are both 2-0).
Philadelphia enters 2023 as the defending champions of the NFC and NFC East. The Giants lost all three games to the Eagles in 2022 by a combined score of 108-45, including a 38-7 playoff loss in the Divisional Round. History has not been kind to the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field, where they have not won since 2013.
One fanbase will get a present on Christmas, and the other a lump of coal.
See where the New York Giants will play on the road during the 2023 season.