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), NFC North (Chicago Bears) and AFC East (Miami Dolphins). Opponents are determined by the NFL's scheduling formula, which you can read about below.
So the question is, how tough is the Giants' 2021 schedule?
Based on combined winning percentages from the 2020 season, the Giants have the eighth-easiest strength of schedule next season. The Giants' 2021 opponents went 128-142-2 (.474) in 2020. The Philadelphia Eagles (.430) will head into next season with the "easiest" lineup, while the Pittsburgh Steelers (.574) 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 2019. 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: 155-115-2 (.574)
2. Baltimore Ravens: 152-118-2 (.563)
3. Chicago Bears: 149-122-1 (.550)
4. Green Bay Packers: 147-124-1 (.542)
5. Minnesota Vikings: 144-127-1 (.531)
T6. Cincinnati Bengals: 144-128-0 (.529)
T6. Detroit Lions: 143-127-2 (.529)
8. Las Vegas Raiders: 142-128-2 (.526)
9. Cleveland Browns: 140-130-2 (.518)
10. Los Angeles Rams: 140-132-0 (.515)
T11. Kansas City Chiefs: 138-132-2 (.511)
T11. Seattle Seahawks: 139-133-0 (.511)
T13. Tennessee Titans: 138-134-0 (.507)
T13. Arizona Cardinals: 138-134-0 (.507)
T15. Washington Football Team: 136-134-2 (.504)
T15. Houston Texans: 137-135-0 (.504)
17. Los Angeles Chargers: 133-137-2 (.493)
18. Jacksonville Jaguars: 133-138-1 (.491)
T19. San Francisco 49ers: 132-138-2 (.489)
T19. New York Jets: 132-138-2 (.489)
T19. New England Patriots: 133-139-0 (.489)
22. New Orleans Saints: 131-140-1 (.483)
T23. Buffalo Bills: 130-142-0 (.478)
T23. Indianapolis Colts: 130-142-0 (.478)
25. New York Giants: 128-142-2 (.474)
26. Carolina Panthers: 128-143-1 (.472)
T27. Denver Broncos: 127-143-2 (.471)
T27. Miami Dolphins: 128-144-0 (.471)
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 126-145-1 (.465)
30. Atlanta Falcons: 123-148-1 (.454)
31. Dallas Cowboys: 122-148-2 (.452)
32. Philadelphia Eagles: 117-155-0 (.430)
The NFL's scheduling formula guarantees that all teams play each other on a regular, rotating basis.
Under the formula, every team plays 17 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).
- One interconference game based on the prior year's standings on a rotating four-year cycle (1 game).
The two intraconference 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.
The one interconference game matches a first-place team from one division against a first-place team in an opposite conference division that the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place and fourth-place teams in each division are matched in the same way each year. The home conference for this game will rotate each season.
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