Monday, April 23, 2012

Reaction to New York Giants Schedule Release

On Tuesday, April 16 the NFL released its schedule for the upcoming season.  For Giants fans, the first thought to run your head has to be repeating as Super Bowl Champs with season will not be an easy task.  Of course, it is difficult for any team to repeat as champs, but the Giants will have a difficult road ahead of them just to qualify for the playoffs.  Not only do the Giants face another grueling November and December, the rest of the season is no cake walk as the Giants will face the toughest strength of schedule based off of teams records last season.
Here is the full schedule for this upcoming New York Football Giants season:
SEPTEMBER Sept. 5 DALLAS (Wednesday night), 8:30 p.m., NBC
Sept. 16 TAMPA BAY, 1 p.m., FOX
Sept. 20 at Carolina (Thursday night), 8:20 p.m., NFL Network
Sept. 30 at Philadelphia (Sunday night), 8:20 p.m., NBC

Oct. 7 CLEVELAND, 1 p.m., CBS
Oct. 14 at San Francisco, 4:15 p.m., FOX
Oct. 21 WASHINGTON, 1 p.m., FOX
Oct. 28 at Dallas, 4:15 p.m., FOX

Nov. 4 PITTSBURGH, 4:15 p.m., CBS
Nov. 11 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m., FOX
Nov. 18 BYE
Nov. 25 GREEN BAY (Sunday night), 8:20 p.m., NBC

Dec. 3 at Washington (Monday night), 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Dec. 9 NEW ORLEANS, 4:15 p.m., FOX
Dec. 16 at Atlanta, 1 p.m., FOX
Dec. 23 at Baltimore, 1 p.m., FOX
Dec. 30 PHILADELPHIA, 1 p.m., FOX
-Weird Opening Stretch
As Super Bowl champs, the Giants are given the first game of the season on opening night.  This year they will welcome the Dallas Cowboys to MetLife Stadium to start off the season.  The only difference from years past is this year the opening night game will be played on a Wednesday.  The change from the normal Thursday night is because Barack Obama is delivering his Democratic National Convention Thursday, pushing the Giants up a night. 
The next game for the Giants goes back to a regular Sunday game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also at MetLife Stadium.  The next week is when it gets weird, when the Giants play the following Thursday in Carolina against Cam Newton and the Panthers.  Why the Giants are playing a Thursday game so early in the season I have no idea, but it makes things that much more difficult because of the short turnaround.  The constant switching early in the season can throw a team for a loop, so Tom Coughlin will have to have his team ready to play week in and week out despite the weird scheduling.
-Primetime Players
Having a successful season usually means more airtime for you the following year by the NFL schedule makers.  What can be more successful than winning the Super Bowl like the Giants did?  Because of this, the Giants will have a total of five nationally televised primetime games and play on four different nights throughout the season. 
The first two of these games are mentioned above, against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night Wednesday September 5th at MetLife Stadium and against the Carolina Panthers Thursday September 20th in Carolina.   The next one is a Sunday Night Football matchup at the Philadelphia Eagles September 30th, followed by another Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium November 25th. The last primetime game for the Giants comes on December 3rd in Washington against the Redskins on Monday Night Football.
-Road Warrior Mentality
The Giants have the toughest schedule in the NFL next season based on teams records from last year as previously stated, with Giant opponents going 140-116, which is good for a .547 win percentage.  With such a loaded schedule, you expect there to be some tough road games for the Giants, which is definitely true.  So true, they boast the second toughest road schedule this season, with teams combining for a .555 win percentage last season.  Only the Denver Broncos face a tougher road schedule this year (fitting both Peyton and Eli are going to be showcased throughout the season no?). 
Teams who enter the season with the toughest schedule to start out have not fared well in recent history, going either 6-10 or 7-9 in the last three seasons.  The Carolina Panthers last season and the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans in 2010 finished with 6-10 records.  In 2009 the Miami Dolphins finished 7-9.
But there is some hope for Giants fans, as the Pittsburgh Steelers defied the odds when they had the toughest schedule in 2008.  They finished with a 12-4 record and a Super Bowl victory.  Let’s hope the Giants finished closer to the Steelers than the Dolphins, Titans, Texans and Panthers.

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