The NFL is set to release the league schedule Wednesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. EST.
This is the moment when the upcoming NFL season begins to take shape and feel real; when strategy can begin to be implemented. As per tradition, the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the new season’s official start, which begins on Thursday, Sept. 9. This year’s schedule is also nontraditional though because it will mark the expansion of the football calendar as a 17th game is added for every team.
Here are the Giants’ 2021 opponents:
So, who should Giants fans hope the team faces in Week 1 to kick off the season?
It’s important to consult the past and consider that the Giants have faced the Cowboys in Week 1 in four of the last six seasons. So statistically speaking, there is a strong chance that New York faces Dallas again to start the season.
But one opponent Giants fans might be particularly itching to see is the Philadelphia Eagles - a rivalry that reached a peak in the final week of the 2020 regular season. You will recall that the Giants had defeated the Cowboys in the afternoon in Week 17 and then would have advanced to the playoffs with an Eagles win over the Washington Football Team that night.
The Giants’ odds were looking good heading into the second half of that game as the score was close. But then Doug Pederson pulled Jalen Hurts and sent third-string QB Nate Sudfeld onto the field. The Eagles’ hopes of winning, and the Giants’ hopes of advancing, were quickly dashed after that.
While a division matchup is always exciting, I’m not sure that facing Dallas, Philly or Washington in Week 1 is the best option for New York. Last season underscored the importance of division matchups for the entire NFC East as together, the four teams compiled just 10 wins against teams outside of their own division. It was therefore not surprising that the division winner was decided in the final week of the regular season. Victories against division opponents are always important, but they took on an added significance in the NFC East.
Of course, hopefully all four teams are better this season and there is more winning to go around. But I remain hesitant about New York opening its season against such a crucial opponent, as satisfying as it might be to host the Eagles at MetLife Stadium.
There is also a chance that the Giants opens their season on the road against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. This has the potential to be exciting but it also has the potential to result in a loss.
I think the Giants, like any team, would prefer to open the season at home. I’ve already expressed why I do not think facing a division opponent is the best case scenario, so that leaves us with the Falcons, Broncos, Panthers, Raiders and Rams.
A matchup against the Panthers could prove to be interesting in Week 1. The team won just five games last season under new head coach Matt Rhule in 2020 but they have made some changes this offseason, particularly with the addition of QB Sam Darnold. It could be interesting to watch Darnold play his first game with the Panthers back at his old stadium and Matt Rhule has been connected to New York teams in the past couple of offseasons. A matchup between the Giants and Panthers in Week 1 could provide an interesting test for two second-year head coaches who are still trying to find their footing in the league.
That is just my opinion though.
Who would you all like to see the Giants play in Week 1 of the 2021 season?
Who would you like to see the Giants face to open the 2021 season?
This poll is closed
Tampa Bay Buccaneers