The opponents are set. The locations are set. Now all we need to wait for are the exact dates to complete the Giants' 2021 regular season schedule.
While it will be some time before the scheduled is released, we can take a look at the strength of the Giants' 2021 schedule now based on their opponents' performances this past year.
This upcoming season, in addition to the typical NFC East foes, the Giants will take on the NFC South, AFC West, and same-place finishers from the NFC West (Los Angeles Rams) and NFC North (Chicago Bears). Opponents are determined by the NFL's scheduling formula, which you can read about below.
So now the question is, how tough is the Giants' 2021 schedule?
Based on combined winning percentages from the 2020 season, the Giants match the Indianapolis Colts for the fourth-easiest strength of schedule next season. The Giants' 2021 opponents went 118-136-2 (.465) in 2020. The Philadelphia Eagles (.449) will head into next season with the "easiest" lineup, while the Pittsburgh Steelers (.563) have the "hardest" schedule in the NFL.
Since 1990 – a streak of 31 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before. Last year, with the expansion of the postseason, there were seven new playoff teams, including the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The other six teams included the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, Washington Football Team, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts.
Additionally, two teams won division titles – Washington (NFC East) and Pittsburgh (AFC North) – after missing the playoffs in 2018. At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 17 of the past 18 years.
2021 NFL strength of schedule (toughest to easiest):
1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 143-111-2 (.563)
2. Baltimore Ravens: 142-112-2 (.559)
3. Chicago Bears: 141-114-1 (.553)
4. Detroit Lions: 138-116-2 (.543)
5. Cincinnati Bengals: 138-118-0 (.539)
6. Minnesota Vikings: 137-118-1 (.537)
7. Las Vegas Raiders: 134-120-2 (.527)
8. Green Bay Packers: 133-122-1 (.521)
9. Cleveland Browns: 132-122-2 (.520)
10. Houston Texans: 132-124-0 (.516)
11. Jacksonville Jaguars: 129-126-1 (.506)
12. Los Angeles Rams: 129-127-0 (.504)
T13. San Francisco 49ers: 128-127-1 (.502)
T13. New York Jets: 128-127-1 (.502)
T15. Los Angeles Chargers: 126-128-2 (.496)
T15. Arizona Cardinals: 127-129-0 (.496)
T15. Seattle Seahawks: 127-129-0 (.496)
T15. New England Patriots: 127-129-0 (.496)
T19. Tennessee Titans: 126-130-0 (.492)
T19. Kansas City Chiefs: 125-129-2 (.492)
21. Carolina Panthers: 124-131-1 (.486)
22. Washington Football Team: 123-131-2 (.484)
T23. Buffalo Bills: 123-133-0 (.480)
T23. Denver Broncos: 122-132-2 (.480)
25. Atlanta Falcons: 122-133-1 (.479)
26. Miami Dolphins: 122-134-0 (.477)
27. New Orleans Saints: 120-135-1 (.471)
T28. New York Giants: 118-136-2 (.465)
T28. Indianapolis Colts: 119-137-0 (.465)
30. Dallas Cowboys: 115-139-2 (.453)
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 115-140-1 (.451)
32. Philadelphia Eagles: 115-141-0 (.449)
Implemented in 2002 with realignment, the NFL's scheduling formula guarantees that all teams play each other on a regular, rotating basis.
Under the formula, every team plays 16 games as follows:
- Home and away against its three division opponents (6 games).
- The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (4 games).
- The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (4 games).
- Two intraconference games based on the prior year's standings (2 games).
These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.