The New York Giants had two distinct seasons last year. The first was a 0-6 start with losses to their two biggest rivals. The second was a 7-3 finish including wins over the Packers and Eagles. It was ugly in the first season, with low points like a 38-0 loss to the Panthers and a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs. Eli Manning was turning the ball over like he had a clause in his contract that paid him $1 million every time he did it, and the Giants defense was equally horrendous.
What changed? Mainly, the defense shaped up. They went from giving up 31 points per game to less than 18 in the last 10 games of the season. Antrel Rolle and Justin Tuck were big parts of that, and the Giants have something to build on going into the 2014 season. This year the slate is clean, and with no team standing out as the division’s best, they’re right back in the mix for the NFC East title. To help out, the Giants signed guys like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Mario Manningham in free agency, as well as Josh Freeman to help back up Manning.
Outside of the normal divisional opponents, the Giants will welcome in team like the 49ers, Falcons, Texans and Colts to MetLife Stadium in 2014. The 49ers famously came oh-so-close to reaching the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year, and Colin Kaepernick will have the team fired up for another run at the NFC title. While the Texans and Falcons both had down years in 2013, both clubs have lots of talent and will likely be back in the playoff hunt this time around.
When the Giants hit the road they’ll be crossing the country a few times, including stops in Seattle, Jacksonville and Tennessee. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl last year by trouncing the Broncos in the big game, and they’ll be the favorites to do it all again in 2014. Seattle’s defense is one of the best we’ve seen in quite some time, so that game will be quite the test for Eli and the rest of the Giants offense. Jacksonville should serve as a nice bye week with the way they have played the last couple seasons, but if they draft a starter with that first-round pick they could bounce back sooner rather than later.
Being in a division that has no top dog gives Giants fans all the hope they need to right the ship in 2014. Ending up only one game behind the Cowboys after starting 0-6 is commendable, but the fans want to reach the playoffs and not sympathy-pats on the back.
September 8 at Detroit Lions
September 14 vs. Arizona Cardinals
September 21 vs. Houston Texans
September 25 at Washington Redskins
October 5 vs. Atlanta Falcons
October 12 at Philadelphia Eagles
October 19 at Dallas Cowboys
November 3 vs. Indianapolis Colts
November 9 at Seattle Seahawks
November 16 vs. San Francisco 49ers
November 23 vs. Dallas Cowboys
November 30 at Jacksonville Jaguars
December 7 at Tennessee Titans
December 14 vs. Washington Redskins
December 21 at St. Louis Rams
December 28 vs. Philadelphia Eagles