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2016 Giants schedule, analysis, game-by-game predictions

The 2016 schedule has been released.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has just released every team's schedule for the 2016 season. The New York Giants are said to have a favorable schedule, ranking in the bottom five in strength of schedule. It will remain to be seen whether or not the perceived weak competition ends up staying that way.

The NFL Draft is still two weeks away, but let's dive into the schedule to look at how well Ben McAdoo's first year as head coach will end up.

Giants' 2016 NFL schedule

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 11 -- at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

I suppose it is now NFL law to have the Giants and Cowboys play week one. It's not often when the Dallas Cowboys refuse to make headlines during free agency, but that is exactly what happened this year. One could argue that they don't need to. If Tony Romo and Dez Bryant come back healthy, they are once again in consideration in being a playoff. Not only that, but the Cowboys potentially have a choice between Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick. That being said, the Giants always play the Cowboys well, even if they don't ultimately end up winning. Last year's opening game against the Cowboys was the healthiest game for either team and it was a game that most view the Giants should have won. The results may be a coin toss, but I expect another tough game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Prediction: Loss (0-1)

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 18 -- vs New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m., FOX

The Giants and Saints were essentially the same team last year with ferocious offenses and breakable defenses. Their matchup last year was a nail-biter that came down to the last defense with the opportunity to let their team down. However, this year the Saints are the visiting team and their road issues are well known. If the teams end up being similar in talent level again, the Saints' road woes makes this week a Giants victory.

Prediction: Win (1-1)

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 25 -- vs. Washington Redskins, 1 p.m., FOX

Even though the Washington Redskins are the division champions, it may have more to do with playing in a weak division. Certainly, the Redskins have holes on their roster too and have decided to not use free agency as a source for help. The draft will certainly be a huge deal for the Redskins, whereas the Giants are hoping for immediate help with their free agency splurge. The Redskins also had their fair share of road issues last year as they only had three wins while traveling. The Giants had an easy time last year at home against the Redskins and they should take care of business again.

Prediction: Win (2-1)

Week 4: Monday, Oct. 3 -- at Minnesota Vikings, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Last year, the Minnesota Vikings took control of the NFC North in which the Green Bay Packers have recently dominated. They look to build upon their success to go deeper in the playoffs where a missed field goal robbed them of a victory against the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings look to be one of the powerhouses in the NFC and it would be unfair to expect a win, especially on the road.

Prediction: Loss (2-2)

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9 -- at Green Bay Packers, 8:30 p.m., NBC

Speaking of the Green Bay Packers, even though they didn't win the title in 2015, they still remain as one of the best in the NFC. With Jordy Nelson back, the Packers offense should be as deadly as ever. We've seen an underdog Giants team beat the Packers in Green Bay for a couple of pivotal games before so it's not impossible. However, a loss seems like a prediction on the safe side.

Prediction: Loss (2-3)

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16 -- vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m., CBS

The Giants first AFC opponent will be the Ravens. Usually an AFC powerhouse, the Ravens finished with a disappointing 5-11 record in 2015. While they are unlikely to be as bad in 2016, this is a game the Giants need to win if they are to be considered a playoff team.

Prediction: Win (3-3)

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23 -- at Los Angeles Rams (London) 9:30 a.m., NFL Network

That one was a weird one to type. The Giants don't get to visit L.A. when they face the Rams, instead they get a special trip to London. This game will be determined not only by the more talented team, but the more prepared team. Honestly, it's tough to evaluate this game but Eli Manning has done it before when visiting London in 2007. The Rams are usually filled with promise but have been letting fans down every year. A victory is certainly possible.

Prediction: Win (4-3)

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6 -- vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m., FOX

The Philadelphia Eagles are a team in flux. Chip Kelly turned the roster upside down last year, and the Eagles are now playing damage control. New head coach Doug Pederson will have a lot of work to do to meet these lofty Philadelphia expectations. There is a lot of moving parts for this Eagles team which might make them more vulnerable than ever. Games against the Eagles are always tough, but this year is their best shot against them.

Prediction: Win (5-3)

Week 10: Monday, Nov. 14 -- vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

The Cincinnati Bengals can arguably be called the best team out of the AFC North for the past five years. But if there was one weakness, it would be prime time games in which the Bengals lose in dramatic fashion. Late in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs, the Bengals essentially secured the victory. Until costly personal fouls changed that story. With the Bengals playing on the road, the Giants definitely have a shot here to win. Another close matchup this week, let's give it up for the team that makes the playoffs consistently.

Prediction: Loss (5-4)

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20 -- vs. Chicago Bears, 1 p.m., FOX

After a playoff loss against the Green Bay Packers in 2010, the future was supposed to be bright for the Chicago Bears. However, they haven't reached the playoffs since then. They are still in the process of heavily rebuilding the team. Knowing the Giants, the Bears will give them scares but this is another game the Giants absolutely need to win.

Prediction: Win (6-4)

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27 -- at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m., FOX

The Cleveland Browns are a team that has never left rebuilding mode. Johnny Manziel has already flamed out and the Browns are in a quarterback search once again. Even on the road, this game should not present problems for the Giants.

Prediction: Win (7-4)

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4 -- at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m., FOX

If healthy, the Pittsburgh Steelers could very well be the best team in the NFL. An offense led by Ben Roethlisberger will always be scary but you can also add in Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell to the mix. A shootout is in the makings here, but I would have to bet on the Steelers here.

Prediction: Loss (7-5)

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11 -- vs. Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m., NBC

Without a doubt, the Giants need to play better against their divisional foes. The playoff push begins here as three of the last four games come against NFC East opponents. With almost a full year to acclimate under Ben McAdoo, the Giants should be firing on all cylinders. Cowboys and Giants games are almost always close contests. The Giants earn the victory this week to split the season series.

Prediction: Win (8-5)

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18 -- vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m., FOX

Might be a trap game as the Lions are also another team deep in the rebuilding process. One of the lone bright spots on the team, Calvin Johnson, announced a surprise early retirement. The Lions have a lot of work to do and should be victory for the New York Giants.

Prediction: Win (9-5)

Week 16: Thursday, Dec. 22 -- at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:25 p.m., NBC

The Giants average a frustrating loss to the Eagles about 1.5 times a season. Maybe we should feel lucky if they don't sweep us this year. If there's any year for the Giants to pull off the first sweep against the Eagles since 2008, it would be this. Still not banking on it, though.

Prediction: Loss (9-6)

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1 -- at  Washington Redskins, 1 p.m., FOX

This might end up the most important game of the year. Quite possible, this would be a make it or break it game if the Giants want to make the playoffs. The Redskins are the division champions yes, but they are still a team with weaknesses. Even their strengths don't seem like sure things. Will Kirk Cousins repeat his successful 2015? The Redskins are a tough team at home which will present the Giants a lot of problems. Ultimately, I'll go the homer route and choose the win. The Giants could do a lot of favors if they take care of business against the Eagles, though.

Prediction: Win (10-6)

Final thoughts

The draft hasn't happened yet so this is all an exercise for entertainment. Though with all the moves in free agency, it's hard to not feel a bit optimistic about this year. Making the playoffs will be a tough task, but completely achievable. The division crown is probably a long shot thanks to the Dallas Cowboys but a wildcard spot isn't out of the question. If the Giants get rid of their infamous injury woes, then the rest of the league needs to watch out.