New York Giants fans are tired. The legendary franchise has not had a winning season since 2016, a lull highlighted by mediocre quarterback play and fourth-quarter collapses. But with the eighth-easiest schedule in the league and Daniel Jones entering his pivotal third year, the Giants appear headed for success.
A lot will change between now and Week 1, but here are The Game Haus’ early predictions for New York.
Week 1: vs Broncos (Sunday, Sept. 12, 4:25 p.m.)
Daniel Jones and Drew Lock are both in make-or-break years, so expect them to air it out in Week 1. Former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is now the Broncos’ offensive coordinator and will be looking for revenge, but Denver has no one on the roster who can cover Kenny Golladay. The Giants have not won in Week 1 in five years, but that is about to change.
Week 2: at Washington (Thursday, Sept. 16, 8:20 p.m.)
This will be a low-scoring affair that plays well to the Giants’ strengths, and head coach Joe Judge will have them playing passionately. Washington added Jamin Davis to an already incredible front seven, but the Giants can eke out a win with just two touchdowns as long as Jones keeps the fumbles to a minimum.
Week 3: vs Falcons (Sunday, Sept. 26, 1 p.m.)
The Giants are built around their defense, but they do not have enough elite cornerbacks outside of James Bradberry to match up with the Falcons’ pass-catching trifecta: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. A big game from Barkley could change the outcome, but Atlanta will score at least four touchdowns.
Week 4: at Saints (Sunday, Oct. 3, 1 p.m.)
New Orleans is a hard team to evaluate now that Drew Brees is gone. New York has the size up front to limit Alvin Kamara‘s yards after the catch and make him close to a non-factor, and Taysom Hill doesn’t fare well when he’s forced to throw deep.
Week 5: at Cowboys (Sunday, Oct. 10, 4:25 p.m.)
Dak Prescott has beaten the Giants seven times in a row, and not much has changed in the meantime. Dallas’ defense is too talented to be as dreadful as they were in 2020, especially after adding Micah Parsons. Golladay and Barkley will have their best games of the young season, but the Giants aren’t built for a shootout.
Week 6: vs Rams (Sunday, Oct. 17, 1 p.m.)
This one is going to be ugly. Aaron Donald is a matchup nightmare for any team, but he will have a field day with the Giants’ inexperienced offensive line. All the spin moves in the world won’t help Barkley get past him either. New York may not score any touchdowns.
Week 7: vs Panthers (Oct. 24, 1 p.m.)
There is a lot of bad blood in this game: Carolina head coach Matt Rhule spurned the Giants last year, who passed on Sam Darnold two years earlier. Jones turns in a big performance with help from Sterling Shepard‘s speed in the slot to quiet critics and prove that he will last in New York.
Week 8: at Chiefs (Monday, Nov. 1, 4:25 p.m.)
Hey, anything is possible. The Giants seem to pull off at least one major upset every year, and nothing would be more shocking than beating Kansas City on national TV. The only way to stop Patrick Mahomes is with pressure on both sides, so Leonard Williams and Azeez Ojulari will be the keys here. Still, the most likely outcome is a blowout loss.
Week 9: vs Raiders (Sunday, Nov. 7, 1 p.m.)
Judge’s coaching focuses on fundamentals, an approach that will serve the Giants well against a Raiders team that committed 98 penalties last year. Expect Golladay to feast on the Raiders’ young secondary as New York heads into its bye week with their most convincing win of the year.
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: at Buccaneers (Monday, Nov. 22, 8:15 p.m.)
The hardest stretch of the Giants’ schedule ends with a trip to play the Super Bowl champs. Bradberry will be able to contain either Mike Evans or Chris Godwin, but the other will put up big numbers on the other side of the field. New York should still be able to keep it close and cement themselves as playoff contenders.
Week 12: vs Eagles (Sunday, Nov. 28, 1 p.m.)
MetLife Stadium is going to be deafening. The Eagles’ loss in Week 17 last year — which some have speculated was intentional — kept New York out of the playoffs, and every Giants fan and player has been waiting for revenge. Barkley carries the team to a blowout win as the Giants become favorites for the NFC East title.
Week 13: at Dolphins (Sunday, Dec. 5, 1 p.m.)
Ojulari’s breakout game could come here against a rebuilding Miami offensive line, but the focus will be on playmakers. Barkley will be humming along by now, and Jones is capable of outplaying Tua Tagovailoa
Week 14: at Chargers (Sunday, Dec. 12, 4:05 p.m.)
The Chargers are better than most people realize, and Justin Herbert may be playing at an MVP level at this point in the season. But both teams will be on the outskirts of the playoff bubble, and the Giants have the edge when it comes to big moments. New York’s defense does just enough to seal a victory in the fourth quarter.
Week 15: vs Cowboys (Sunday, Dec. 19, 1 p.m.)
Three of the Giants’ last four games are against NFC East opponents, which is a good thing for a team that tends to get better as the season progresses. It will take a career day from Jones to topple Dallas, and he will meet the challenge and then some with a big game from Golladay.
Week 16: at Eagles (Monday, Dec. 26, 1 p.m.)
It has been years since the Giants won in Philadelphia. Though the Eagles will be out of playoff contention by Week 16, they will not let that streak without a fight. New York struggles against mobile quarterbacks, which will let Jalen Hurts work some late-game magic to end their win streak.
Week 17: at Bears (Sunday, Jan. 2, 1 p.m.)
The Bears are exactly the sort of mediocre team the Giants would lose to in most years, making this game a good litmus test for their season as a whole. Khalil Mack and the rest of Chicago’s stingy front seven limit Barkley, but Bradberry helps hold them to one touchdown.
Week 18: vs Washington (Sunday, Jan. 9, 1 p.m.)
Jones completed a season-high 68 percent of his passes with the NFC East title on the line in last year’s finale, and he will need to be flawless here in another high-pressure situation. Chase Young will hold him below 250 yards passing, but a mistake-free performance by New York will send them to the playoffs.
Record Prediction: 11-6
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