Expect a bounce-back year for the New York Giants, a team that last year played frustratingly inconsistent yet still found itself in a race for the NFC East crown.
The team opens up with the Dallas Cowboys in a contest the Giants always bring their A game. Dallas has a high ceiling, but their play on the field is never a sure thing. The Giants open 2013 on a high note after an offseason chock full of anticipation.
Week 2 brings quite the test in the form of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, a favorite of many to appear in the Super Bowl. Though the game will be played in Jersey, expect the elder brother to get the best of the G-Men.
Beginning Week 3, I see the Giants embark on their first winning streak of the year. Games against the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles present very beatable teams. Though Carolina and Kansas City could be better than they were last year, neither should stack up to the talent of the Giants.
Week 6 and 7 the Giants face NFC North squads in the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. Expect a split, with the Giants losing against the Bears in Windy City and besting the Vikings at home. We're still unsure of what we'll see from the new-look Bears, but it remains no easy task to take down the Bears in Solider Field. We're a lot more confident the Giants will bully Christian Ponder in MetLife Stadium.
The Giants face Philly at the Link before their bye, heading into their week off on a high note and a 5-3 mark.
After the bye, the Giants get three straight at home, embarking on their second three-game win streak of the year. First comes the Oakland Raiders, which should be a pushover, followed by the Green Bay Packers and the Cowboys in their series finale. The Giants tend to have the Pack's number, especially in the regular season, and if the pass rush is at high octane expect Aaron Rodgers to have a rough day. And because the Dallas rematch is in Jersey, I'll give the edge to the home team.
In Week 13 the Giants get their first taste of the Washington Redskins rivalry, this game in the nation's capital. Last year, both Giants-Redskins contests were closely contested and there's no reason to believe this year won't bring the same kind of competition. Give Robert Griffin III the edge in D.C.
After a strong road win in San Diego against the Chargers Week 14, the Giants embark on a two-game skid, with losses to the Seattle Seahawks at home and on the road in Detroit. Though New York is a superior team, Detroit's pass rush looks formidable and I'm not quite sure the Giants have the personnel to contain Calvin Johnson or Reggie Bush.
In a regular season finale -- a game that may have postseason and division title implications -- I see the Giants avenging their Week 13 loss to Washington and beating the Skins at home. This win should give the Giants a 11-5 record and an impressive 5-1 mark in the division, enough for an NFC East crown an a top-four seed in the NFC.
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