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Cover 4: Giants 2023 schedule reaction & analysis


The crew reacts to the 2023 schedule, which was officially released Thursday night:

John Schmeelk: We are going to know very early in the season how good this Giants team is. The Giants not only play four of their first six games on the road, but five of those six games are also against playoff teams last season (vs. Dallas, at SF, vs. Seattle, at Miami, at Buffalo). Those opponents also feature some of the most dangerous quarterbacks and receivers in football, such as Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. The secondary will be tested early and often. If the Giants can just play even in those first six games, it will set themselves up well for the remainder of the season.

Another major schedule takeaway is a very odd final five games after a late bye week. The Giants have only two games in their final five against teams in the division, with both coming against the Philadelphia Eagles in Weeks 16 and 18. The Giants are done playing the Cowboys and Commanders by Nov. 19, playing those opponents three times between Weeks 7-11.

Dan Salomone: The Giants solved one major problem last year but not another. In between their past two playoff runs, the Giants went 7-30 over September/October from 2017-21. In 2022, they got off to the hot start they desperately needed, winning six of their first seven games. Brian Daboll's tenure began with the gutsy decision to go for the two-point conversion in the season-opening victory in Tennessee instead of settling for overtime. That was part of the good news – of which there was plenty – from the inaugural season under the new regime.

Now for the bad news. They were 1-4-1 in the NFC East, not including the 38-7 playoff loss to the Eagles. General manager Joe Schoen had no qualms about stating the need to close the talent gap in the NFC East during his season-ending press conference, and the Giants spent the off-season with that goal in mind - it's a mentality has also trickled down to the players.

"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 off-season 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."

Thus, the next step for the Giants is taking care of business in the division. It is the key to sustaining success and can begin right away in Week 1 with a prime-time visit from the Dallas Cowboys.

View photos of the New York Giants' official 2023 schedule.

Lance Medow: First thing that comes to mind when you look at the 2023 schedule is Animal and Hawk. That's a wrestling reference for those of you who may be lost because the Giants are going to be "The Road Warriors" for the first half of the season with seven of their first 11 contests away from MetLife Stadium, including three straight from Weeks 9-11. The good news is with consecutive games in Arizona and San Francisco in the span of five days in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively, New York will be able to stay on the West Coast to avoid going back-and-forth in a very short period of time. It will leave Las Vegas as the only remaining lengthy trip. On the flip side, the team will be home for four of its final six games, including each of the last two contests against the Rams and Eagles, respectively.

After a three-year hiatus in which the Giants opened the season against an AFC opponent, back by popular demand is a showdown with the Cowboys in Week 1 (It happened six times from 2012-19!). This year, the game will be played in East Rutherford, which hasn't happened since 2012. It will be the first of four prime time games in the first six weeks as they'll also be showcased on Thursday Night Football in Week 3 in San Francisco, on Monday Night, at home, against the Seahawks in Week 4 and then on Sunday night again in Week 6 in Buffalo. So New York will have an extended break following its early season Thursday game, given Brian Daboll and Co. won't take the field again until 11 days later. It will help to break up the season a bit considering the Giants won't have their bye until Week 13, which will lead into their only other prime time game against the Packers, at home, in Week 14.

The other noticeable takeaway from the schedule is the fact that they only play two divisional games in their final six contests - with both coming against the Eagles in the span of three weeks. In comparison, last year, they played five games against NFC East foes in their final seven with two coming against Washington in the span of three weeks. As far as weather goes, they're visiting the Dolphins in early October when Mother Nature could still have a surprise or two with respect to the heat, but they will avoid the Bills in late November/early December with a trip to upstate New York right following Miami in Week 6.

Matt Citak: According to last season's records, the Giants are tied with the Patriots and Cowboys for the third-toughest strength of schedule this season. In fact, the teams with the eight toughest schedules come from the NFC and AFC East. This should not come as much of a surprise as the two divisions face off against each other this year, with the NFC East having had three teams in the playoffs last year while the AFC East had two. The Giants will face off against the AFC East in three of four games from Weeks 5-8, including back-to-back road games in Miami and Buffalo. When you add in the contest in Las Vegas, the Giants will have four inter conference games in five weeks, with three coming on the road. Brian Daboll's squad went a perfect 5-0 against the AFC last year, and even close to as much success against the AFC this year would go a long way in helping the Giants reach the postseason for the second consecutive season.

The other thing on the schedule that jumped out is the Giants' number of prime time games. When last year's schedule was originally released, the Giants had only one night game (Week 3 against the Cowboys on Monday Night Football) on the slate. Daboll went on to be named Coach of the Year as he led the Giants to the franchise's first postseason victory since Super Bowl XLVI. One year later, the Giants are slated to play five prime time games, in addition to their Christmas Day matchup against the Eagles. After four consecutive seasons without a Sunday night game, the Giants have two on the schedule this year, including the season opener against the Cowboys. It's safe to say the Giants' fortunes have turned significantly after just one season under Daboll and GM Joe Schoen.



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