Breakdown of 2021 schedule
After months of anticipation, the 2021 NFL schedule has finally been announced.
Heading into the season, the Giants' strength of schedule comes in at No. 25 in the league, as the team's 2021 opponents combined to go 128-142-2 (.474) last season.
Radio voice of the Giants Bob Papa joined Giants.com's John Schmeelk on the Giants Huddle Podcast to discuss each game on Big Blue's upcoming schedule.
First up for the Giants is a Week 1 matchup against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. The Broncos enter the season with some questions at the quarterback position. Drew Lock is returning for his third season in Denver, while veteran Teddy Bridgewater was acquired in the offseason. One thing that cannot be questioned about the Broncos is their talent on defense, as this matchup should serve as a good test for the Giants' offense early in the season.
"Obviously, there's some real significance to this game," Papa said. "20 years ago, the Giants played in Denver the night before 9/11, so there's a little bit of symmetry as far as that is concerned. Look, I think it's going to be an interesting game because it's an uncommon opponent. You don't play them very often. It's every four years. There are questions at the quarterback position. But it's nice to start the season off at home."
The Giants then have a quick turnaround for their Week 2 game. Big Blue will travel south for their first division game against the Washington Football Team on Thursday Night Football, which will be the Giants' only Thursday night game in 2021. With Washington signing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency, this NFC East matchup is sure to offer some excitement early in the year.
"A little Fitzmagic, the Giants have certainly had their fill of Ryan Fitzpatrick over the years," Papa told Schmeelk. "He's probably going to be the starting quarterback for Washington. It's a short week. It's interesting too because they won the division last year, yet the Giants swept them. You know that that's something that's in Ron Rivera's mind and a lot of those players on the Washington Football Team's mind, is 'we won the division but these guys beat us twice.' Let's face it, the Giants have handled pretty easily over the balance of the last five or six years…"
Joe Judge's squad will then close out the month with back-to-back contests against the NFC South. In Week 3, the Atlanta Falcons will travel to East Rutherford to take on the Giants for the first time since 2015. Then the following week, the Giants hit the road for a Sunday afternoon matchup against the New Orleans Saints, who will be without quarterback Drew Brees for the first time since the 2005 season.
"Listen, the Saints have been a house of horrors for the Giants going down to New Orleans for all these years, pre-dating Drew Brees being there," Papa said on the Giants Huddle Podcast. "It's just never been a place where the Giants have played well. There is no Drew Brees. I think Joe Judge brings a certain mentality and toughness. That's going to be an interesting game… The Falcons, they have a lot of weapons, they have a new head coach. Can they stop anybody? That remains to be seen. That's an interesting stretch."
Check out the audio below to listen to Papa and Schmeelk's full breakdown of the Giants' 2021 schedule.
Giants release official 2021 NFL schedule
Three primetime road games, including Monday night contests against Super Bowl LV participants Kansas City and Tampa Bay, and three NFC East games in the last four weeks, two at home, highlight the Giants' 2021 schedule, which was announced today.
The third night game is at Washington on Thursday night in Week 2.
With the expansion of the NFL schedule, each team will play 17 games this season. The Giants will play eight home games and nine road games. Their three-game preseason includes two at home.
"Once you first see the schedule you get excited," said Joe Judge, whose initial season as the Giants' coach ended with a 6-10 record and second place finish in the NFC East. "It starts to become real in terms of not just knowing the opponents you're going to play, but when you're going to play them. You start thinking about the opener, you start looking at your division games, you start mapping out the west coach trip and the longer trips on the road. You start thinking about the best way of setting up the team travel. You start looking at some of the short weeks coming off Monday night games and how you're going to map out your practice that week."
What else does Judge look for as he studies the schedule?
"The first thing you look at in terms of road games, how they all lay out – the distance of the trips, are they back-to-back, the short weeks associated with it," Judge said. "Then you want to look and see the division opponents, when we play them. This year it's really pushed more toward the back end for us.
"You start looking for all the little details. Number one, obviously the first game, are you home or are you away. Where's the second game? That west coast trip against the Chargers, is that after a home game or is it a back-to-back away game, as it ended up being for us. You start mapping out the best way to do it for your team.
"We look at similarities in the schedule, we look at opponents with common systems, we look for things like back-to-back road games and back-to-back home games, short week turnarounds and things of that nature. We try to find as many times that we have an opportunity to tell the players, 'This is really the same as we've already done.' And show them it's a pattern of how the week's going to go and how we're going to prepare."
2021 Opposing Playmakers
From Tom Brady to Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas to Allen Robinson, Christian McCaffrey to Cam Akers, and Darren Waller to Kyle Pitts, the Giants' defense will face off against some talented players this upcoming season.
Check out the gallery below to view photos of the top offensive playmakers from each of the Giants' 2021 opponents.
View photos of the top playmakers from each of the Giants' 2021 opponents.