New York Giants: This has to happen in the season’s 1st month
By Curt Macysyn
Despite the fact that training camp has not begun for the New York Giants, the goal for the first month of the season seems pretty clear.
No one says he looks ahead, but in reality, you have to project in order to set goals. Objectively, how can the New York Giants look to compete in the tough NFC East division, unless they create benchmarks? New head coach Pat Shurmur may not want to verbalize his goals for training camp and the regular season, but that doesn’t mean goals don’t exist.
Professional sports has slowly evolved to a point where the end result is all that matters. In the other major sports, the seasons are long, and there are many games to be played. In the NFL, you can easily break down the season into four equal quarters. And every game matters.
If New York Giants fans remain honest, a few things will strike them. First, they play in a division with the defending Super Bowl champions. And typically, the team has also fared poorly against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins are capable of beating the G-Men, with Dallas being slightly better. There’s little margin for error to begin with.
New York Giants
That’s the long game, so we’ve digressed just a bit. So let’s narrow things down and take a look at the September schedule for the New York Giants.
Coughlin Returns, Texas Two-Step
Big Blue’s old boss returns to the Meadowlands with a team that will be one of the favorites in the AFC. The Jacksonville Jaguars landed the G-men’s top free agent target in guard Andrew Norwell. The Jags have a mighty defense, and perhaps their Achilles heel is quarterback – Blake Bortles. Maybe that’s the case. It’s opening day at home in MetLife Stadium, so an upset can happen. Overall, however, this game remains a challenging way to open the season.
After that, you have to love those Dallas – New York Sunday night affairs. At one time, Big Blue owned AT&T Stadium. For all the Giants fans who say “Cowboys suck”, look at the stat sheet. According to Pro Football Reference, the ‘Boys hold a 64-45-2 edge over your team. Dallas drubbed the Giants twice last season. Certainly not an easy, but a winnable one.
In Week 3, the New York Giants stay in Texas for a clash with the Houston Texans. Facing Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt isn’t my idea of a good time, but that’s just me. Folks will toss this game into the win column quickly. That may not be the case, especially if DeShaun Watson returns from injury. I will say this, it’s a winnable game, but it also won’t be easy.
Finally, in Week 4, the New Orleans Saints come to town. The best thing you can say about this contest is that at least it’s not in the Big Easy. The Giants have been a dumpster fire on Bourbon Street for many years. In the last four games at the Superdome, the Saints have averaged 48.5 points! The New York Giants fare better at home, winning the last two at MetLife Stadium. The Saints will be in the NFC playoff hunt, so it’s another very big challenge.
The envelope please
With a cursory look at the schedule, and reflecting on the past, here’s where I fall. I think Pat Shurmur can be annointed a miracle worker if he comes out of September with a 2-2 record. These are four quality opponents that the Giants must face, in addition to the added motivation in the first and second games.
Gun to my head right now, I think the Houston game will be most pivotal. If Big Blue comes out of the first two games at 1-1, then Week 3 can create or break momentum. Even if the Giants are 2-0, why would they want to break momentum by losing to the Texans?
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For some reason, I think the Giants will upset the Jaguars, then lose to the Dallas Cowboys. The G-Men then handle the Texans on the road. My gut tells me that they lose to the New Orleans Saints. If Big Blue somehow beats New Orleans, they’ll make a believer out of me.