Posted 09/01/2011 at 12:59 PM
The Giants finished 10-6 last season but lost the tiebreaker with Philadelphia for the NFC East title and then lost the tiebreaker with the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers for the final wild card spot. New York outscored opponents by 47 points on the season, tied for eleventh best in the league as they were the third highest scoring team in the NFC, averaging almost 25 points per game. The Giants only beat one team that had a winning record last season, the dominant defensive effort against the Bears on Sunday night in week 4 so it was a flawed 10-6 record. New York lost both meetings to Philadelphia, though they probably deserved to win the home meeting in week 15 when DeSean Jackson returned a late punt for the winning score. That was the only close loss of the season for New York as every other defeat came by ten points or more. The Giants did have four wins that came by eight or fewer points however so the final record may have been inflated.
The schedule will be tougher in 2011 as New York trades the four mediocre AFC South teams for the AFC East teams although the NFC East also gets to play all four NFC West teams. The Giants faced a third place schedule in 2010, drawing mediocre teams in Carolina and Seattle who will be replaced by New Orleans and Green Bay this season, two elite teams that the other three NFC East teams will avoid. New York will technically play nine games in its home stadium as the game with the Jets will be designated as a road game but the early season travel is difficult with three of the first four games of the season on the road. After playing one of the biggest games of the season at New England in week nine the Giants will then have to go across the country for a second straight road game in San Francisco. The other west coast game at Arizona also comes in a second straight road game after a big divisional game at Philadelphia. Even if New York gets off to a strong start, the late season schedule is daunting, closing the year with Philadelphia, at New Orleans, Green Bay, at Dallas, Washington, at NY Jets, and Dallas in the final seven games.
New York’s injuries on defense have been troubling in the preseason and the defense led by a great pass rush will be counted on to make big plays this season. The early season schedule is short on great passing teams so New York could be able to survive being short handed a bit in the secondary but New York has not proven it is ready on offense. After throwing 25 interceptions last season Eli Manning will be heavily scrutinized and he has made some of the same mistakes in preseason action. After scoring 99 points in four preseason games last year the Giants have scored just 57 in three games this year and a lot of those points came late in one game against Chicago. With a road game to close the preseason this week the Giants will essentially play four road games in five weeks which is a tough way to start the year, especially with the difficult scheduling week surrounding the hurricane situation in late August. That scheduling disadvantage could take its toll even though the weaker opponents on the schedule will come early in the season. Look for the Giants to get off to a decent start at the midway point, perhaps 5-4 or better but the final stretch will likely knock the Giants out of playoff contention and likely short of this win total number.