No. Come on now, you know better than that. There’s no such thing as a must-win game in Week 2 of a 17 week football season.
But it is an important game, if for no other reason than the schedule. Based on last year’s winning percentages, the Giants have the most difficult schedule in the NFL, with 7 of their 10 out-of-division games coming against playoff teams from last year. The situation is made more dire by the fact that they lost at home to a divisional rival, while every other team in the NFC East won on the road in Week 1.
All three games on the Giants’ schedule versus non-playoff teams outside of their division will be played in the next four weeks, which makes this a very important stretch. A year ago, the team got out to a hot start, struggled in the middle weeks, and finished the season strong to barely make the playoffs at 9-7. This year, they may not have that luxury. Six of the Giants’ final eight games come against playoff teams from a year ago, with the other two games coming against the Redskins and Eagles, who may be battling for control of the NFC East themselves.
Looking at the next four teams on our schedule, you’ll realize that these games aren’t going to be cakewalks either. The Giants had enough difficulty bottling up Tony Romo, but in the next three games they’ll match up against Josh Freeman, Cam Newton, and Michael Vick – arguably the three most mobile quarterbacks in football. The fourth game brings rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and the less intimidating offense of the Cleveland Browns, but also a defense that showed on Sunday it is not to be taken lightly. Nevertheless it is, on paper, the easiest four-game stretch the Giants will face.
Fans of the Giants know that the team tends to play best when its back is against the wall. Well, they’re against it. If they want to go on a run like they did last year, the Giants have to put themselves in a position where they control their ability to make the playoffs late in the season. To do so, they have to start racking up wins right now.