By Joshua Pickering
The New York Giants kick off their 2015 season at AT&T Stadium, seeking to avenge the Cowboys' dominance over the NFC East last year, and finish in Week 17 with a matchup against the rival Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. In between, the Giants will seek to win enough games to make that final game matter, with a playoff spot on the line. Here is our look at how each game of the schedule will play out this coming season.
.Week 1: at Cowboys, 8:30 p.m., Sunday
The Cowboys will surely be the favorites coming off a terrific season. The Giants, however, tend to fair quite well in Jerry World and they will do so again, putting up a strong challenge. Eventually though it will be the line of scrimmage that dictates this game, providing the Cowboys with an opening game win at home. Giants start 0-1, and more importantly, lose the first NFC East game of the year.
Week 2: vs. Falcons, 1 p.m., Sunday
The Falcons will be much-improved from a team that last year had one of the worst defenses in football. But dome teams tend to do poorly in outdoor stadiums, and combined with a Giants team desperate to get off the snide at home, the G-Men come away with the victory and improve to 1-1 on the young season.
Week 3: vs. Redskins, 8:25 p.m., Thursday
With the Redskins quarterback position seemingly in turmoil and having to prepare for what should be a much improved Giants secondary on a short week, the task ends up being too great for Washington. New York controls time of possession and in result grinds out a tough division win at home. The Giants move to 2-1 and 1-1 in the division.
Week 4: at Bills, 1 p.m., Sunday
New York comes into this matchup on a two-game high, but with maybe the most complete defense in the NFL and a defensive mind as great as Rex Ryan at the helm, the Bills bully the Giants in all phases of the game and crush the Giants' optimism of starting 3-1. New York falls hard and the record drops to 2-2 at the quarter point of the season.
Week 5: vs. 49ers, 8:30 p.m., Sunday
Coming into the game the Giants are in need of making a statement in East Rutherford. Fortunately this week the G-Men get the "W" beating a 49ers unit that is a shadow of itself from recent years. New York just has too much speed and talent at the receiver position for the woeful 49ers secondary to compete with, resulting in the Giants getting back on track at 3-2 in a very pivotal game.
Week 6: at Eagles, 8:30 p.m., Monday
At 3-2, New York comes into Week 6 wanting to improve to 2-1 in the division and 4-2 overall. Unfortunately, Philadelphia matches up too well with the Giants. With DeMarco Murray likely to have another stellar year in the backfield, with a new team, and Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense, the Giants defense gets shredded. The Eagles handle the Giants easily and drop them to 3-3 coming up on the halfway mark of the season.
Week 7: vs. Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., Sunday
Arch rival Dallas comes into town in Week 7 expecting to handle New York with relatively ease, and the vaunted Cowboys live up to expectations, completing a sweep on the Giants for the second straight season. Now showing their true colors, the Giants defense exposes the useless job GM Jerry Reece did during the offseason. New York falls to 3-4 and 1-3 in the division.
Week 8: at Saints, 1 p.m., Sunday
These two teams enter the halfway point needing a win to boost them back into contention. The Giants have shown in recent weeks their undermanned defense cannot hold up against reasonable opposition. Fortunately, they are facing a New Orleans offense that has an aging Drew Brees at QB and a poor receiving core reeling with the loss of Jimmy Graham. The Giants win behind a solid offense that finally gets a chance to compete. The Giants are 4-4.
Week 9: at Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m., Sunday
The Giants will feel confident in beating a Buccaneers team with a rookie quaterback. The Giants defenae finally provides a decent showing by giving Jameis Winston some confusing looks and getting a couple of turnovers to help the offense push the game out of reach. That gives the Giants the win and greatening their record to 5-4.
Week 10: vs. Patriots, 4:25 p.m., Sunday
In Week 10, the G-Men host reigning Super Bowl champion New England. In a high-scoring affair, Eli Manning once again beats Tom Brady, proving the Giants actually are the Patriots boogey team. The Giants receivers pick apart the Patriots weak secondary and help give New York a confidence-boosting upset win. New York improve their record to 6-4 and place themselves firmly in the playoff conversation going into the bye.
Week 11: Bye Week
Week 12: at Redskins, 1 p.m., Sunday
Although I believe RG3 will bounce back to the form of his rookie season in a contract year, I still have the Giants completing a season sweep of the Redskins. Coming off a bye and on a three-game win streak, the Giants handle the rival Redskins in a close encounter that is ultimately won by their offense. The Giants stand at 7-4 heading into the biggest game of the season against the Jets.
Week 13: vs. Jets, 1 p.m., Sunday
Week 13 on the calendar plays host to the biggest game of the year for the rivals, The New York Giants and the New York Jets. In Bryce Petty’s first career start, he and the Jets dominate the Giants in every phase, shutting out the G-Men and crushing their confidence in the process. The Giants fall for the first time in four games, sinking their record to 7-5.
Week 14: at Dolphins, 8:30 p.m., Monday
Luckily for New York, they get an extra day to prepare for this game after getting humiliated by the rival Jets, but in primetime the G-Men bounce back against the Dolphins and win a close game. With their defense rising up as the hero in this one, roughing up Ryan Tannehill, New York gets back on track and climbs to 8-5 with only three weeks left.
Week 15: vs. Panthers, 1 p.m., Saturday
New York arrive back home on a short week to host the Panthers. Unfortunately for the Giants, they’re facing the MVP frontrunner in Cam Newton and the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner, Luke Kuechly. New York gives the Panthers their best shot, eventually though, their valiant effort isn't enough against the red hot Panthers. New York loses and drops their record to 8-6.
Week 16: at Vikings, 1 p.m., Sunday
Needing to win out with some help to make the playoffs, the Giants come into Minnesota with one goal. Facing a well-coached unit, the Giants struggle to handle the running of Adrian Peterson, combined with the improved passing game of Teddy Bridgewater and company. Despite that, the Giants prove good enough to scrape out a low-scoring victory. New York stays alive and improves to 9-6 with one game left.
Week 17: vs. Eagles, 1 p.m., Sunday
With the playoffs still a real possibility, New York arrives at Week 17 knowing exactly what they need to do. The Giants make the game a battle in the trenches in attempt to slow down the Eagles potent offense. With both teams battling for a playoff berth the game becomes scrappy, ending in a low scoring affair in the favor of the more talented team, Philadelphia.
The Giants end the regular season with a solid 9-7 record. Unfortunately, having a 2-4 division record costs New York their first playoff berth since 2011.