For some, the NFL’s schedule release is an exciting event two weeks after the NFL Draft; for others, it is a faux day of importance with mostly feigned grandiose enthusiasm in preparation for already known opponents. Nevertheless, I appreciate observing the New York Giants’ schedule and forecasting the upcoming season a thousand times in my head and once on paper.
It’s not lost on me - predicting the Giants’ record mere hours after the schedule release may be viewed as doltish, but I’d contend that belief by saying lighten up. Of course, many things still need to happen before the Giants travel to Tennessee on Sept. 11, and the season is long and arduous.
There’s still a lot of roster turnover, but we’ll attempt to have pragmatic fun as we go through the schedule and predict the 2022 Giants record. The Giants have a unique schedule with a Week 3 Monday Night Football game against Dallas and a Week 12 primetime matchup on Thanksgiving against those Cowboys.
The Giants play across the pond in Tottenham against Green Bay in Week 5, and they travel to Minnesota for a Christmas Eve game in Week 16. They have two road stretches; the first is Weeks 7 and 8, which starts in Jacksonville and ends all the way in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle. Luckily for the Giants, Week 9 is their BYE week.
The second two-game road trip is in Weeks 15 and 16, starting in Washington and ending in Minnesota for the aforementioned Christmas Eve tilt. The season concludes at Philadelphia in Week 18. Let’s see what the record turns out to be for Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll’s New York Giants.
Week 1: 9/11 @ Tennessee Titans (Loss) 0-1
In week one last season, the Titans were upset at home by the Arizona Cardinals. The team finished with an impressive 12-5 record, earning the number one seed in the AFC. Still, they were eventually bounced out of the playoffs in the divisional round by Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Titans, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, have to stew on that loss and the three interceptions he threw.
Tennessee lost star wide receiver AJ Brown to the Eagles, and even the addition of Robert Woods and rookie WR Treylon Burks won’t overcome the impact Brown had on the football field. Their offense runs through Derrick Henry, and Martindale will load the box and attempt to force Tannehill to beat the new and improved Giants.
I think the Giants could win this football game by catching the Titans off guard and jumping out to an early lead, and forcing Tannehill to pass more, albeit Mike Vrabel would still stick to the run. Ultimately, I think the Giants respectably lose this and start the year 0-1.
Week 2: 9/18 vs. Carolina Panthers (Win) 1-1
The Carolina Panthers are full of question marks. Their offensive line has improved but is far from a finished product, and who is their starting quarterback? Matt Corral or Sam Darnold? Martindale’s pressure schemes should feast on a young offensive line with either of those signal callers under center. The Giants should win this game.
Week 3: 9/26 vs. Dallas Cowboys (MNF) (Win) 2-1
In my hypothetical world, the Giants are 1-1; they haven’t been 1-1 since 2012. BUT, they were 2-0 in 2016! Regardless, a Week 3 primetime matchup at MetLife Stadium against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys is an excellent way for Daboll to show the NFL that the Giants are here to compete.
I discovered a very disturbing reality about the Giants and Cowboys’ recent history. The Giants haven’t beaten Dak Prescott since his rookie season in 2016. The only win the Giants recorded over the Cowboys since was in 2020, Week 17 against Andy Dalton. This is an NFC East game to remember with two teams scoring, going back and forth; at home, new regime, new philosophy, different result - Giants win.
Week 4: 10/2 vs. Chicago Bears (Win) 3-1
I would like to think the Giants would easily defeat the Bears, a team in rebuilding, but I’m not sure. Teams tend to struggle before short weeks or long travel weeks. The Giants travel to England to face Aaron Rodgers in Week 5. However, the Bears did little to help second-year quarterback Justin Fields. They added some defensive talent who can thrive under Matt Eberflus’ tutelage, but I think the Giants win this game and improve to 3-1.
Week 5: 10/9 “@” Green Bay (Tottenham) (Loss) 3-2
I still remember the first game played overseas in England - a 2007 13-10 New York Giants victory over the Miami Dolphins. It was a peculiar dank affair with Eli Manning squaring off against Cleo Lemon. Manning had a 10-yard rushing touchdown in the game, and high school Nick Falato was jubilant as the Giants won their sixth straight game after starting the season 0-2.
I don’t envision the Giants defeating the Packers in this game, but it’s not crazy. The Packers don’t necessarily travel too well, and Aaron Rodgers could eat some lousy fish and chips. Unfortunately, though, I’m going with the Packers on this one.
Week 6: 10/16 vs. Baltimore Ravens (Loss) 3-3
The mid-season struggles start to hit the young Giants’ team as they drop two in a row after struggling to contain Lamar Jackson. I know, if anyone should know how to play Jackson, it’s Martindale, but I’m still going with the Ravens - a team I believe is slept on too much.
Baltimore lost Hollywood Brown but are gaining several injured players back from a brutal 2021 training camp. Mike Macdonald is a smart defensive coordinator who worked under Martindale for a few seasons. I think the Giants put up a good fight but lose to a talented team against a quarterback looking to have a bounce-back season.
Week 7: 10/23 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Win) 4-3
Doug Pederson and the New York Giants meet again! Maybe Pederson will bench Trevor Lawrence in favor of C.J. Beathard because Beathard is a good guy who practices hard. Perhaps it’s water under the bridge with the new regime in town.
Even on the road, this is a winnable game. Jacksonville is a much more stable franchise than they were last year under Urban Meyer. The team spent money and attempted to revamp their defense. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Giants lose frustratingly, but I’m picking them to win before they slide on a three-game losing streak.
Week 8: 10/30 @ Seattle Seahawks (Loss) 4-4
Big Blue travels up to the Pacific Northwest to face Pete Carroll and whoever the Seahawks play-caller happens to be. The Giants are the better team on paper than Seattle, but I think they start slow and fatigued and end up losing the game in a maddening style (bad turnover, special teams mistake, dropped interceptions or three - something like that).
New York returns home at .500 with two consecutive winnable games on their forecast. For the first time - in what seems like forever - the Giants are genuinely competitive entering November.
Week 9: BYE WEEK
Week 10: 11/13 vs. Houston Texans (Win) 5-4
The Giants come out of the BYE week hungry and beat the Texans handily in Week 10. Jones is efficient, the defense is suffocating, and the Giants record six sacks in the contest. It’s an impressive win for a motivated team.
Week 11: 11/20 vs. Detroit Lions (Loss) 5-5
After a convincing win at home against the Texans, the Giants lose a heartbreaker against the Lions. This is a game many - including myself - expect to win. New York starts slow and makes a good comeback to press the Lions but ends up failing in the end. The Giants are a better roster than the Lions, who had a very good draft.
I think this is an affair that could go either way, but sometimes the ball bounces in the opposite direction. It’s a down to wire game that the Lions somehow squeak out, and now the Giants have to travel to Dallas on a short week to play primetime football.
Week 12: 11/24 @ Dallas Cowboys (THANKSGIVING) (Loss) 5-6
New York loses to Dallas to split the series in front of the nation. The game is respectable but not as high-scoring as the first game. Micah Parsons makes a few big plays on defense, but Kayvon Thibodeaux matches him with a huge third-down sack in the second half. A bad special teams mistake gives Prescott the ball, and Dallas goes up by two scores after kicking a field goal. An interception during the two-minute drill on a questionable - non-called - defensive pass interference ends the game for the Giants.
Week 13: 12/4 vs. Washington Commanders (Win) 6-6
The Giants pressure Carson Wentz all game and restrict the Washington offense. New York only allows 10 points and forces a few turnovers to score 24 of their own (a score prediction - how bold!). The Washington defense doesn’t play terribly in the game, but the score makes them look worse than they were.
Week 14: 12/11 vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Loss) 6-7
The Giants’ man coverage struggles to contain Jalen Hurts’ scrambling, but the Giants do a good job shutting down the Eagles’ rushing attack. This is a low-scoring game where the Giants can’t find a way to overcome the Eagles’ steady offense, that is moving the ball on slow - methodical - drives. The game ends up being a field goal affair before AJ Brown catches a deep pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, and the Giants score to make in a six-point game. New York kicks the onside kick but fails to recover, and the Eagles win.
Week 15: 12/18 @ Washington Commanders (Loss) 6-8
After clamping Washington’s offense two-weeks ago, the Commanders start fast with a quick touchdown to Terry McLaurin. The Giants adjust and keep the game within reach; they eventually tie the score at ten, and get a special teams break, but Antonio Gibson churns out three good runs to set up a Brian Robinson Jr. touchdown (fantasy managers for Gibson are upset).
New York leads a scoring drive with time expiring to force overtime. The Giants receive the ball, and Jones does a good job driving the team into the red zone, but they eventually stall and settle for a field goal. Washington hits a big play to Gibson, and then Curtis Samuel records a deep reception that goes the distance for a touchdown.
Week 16: 12/24 @ Minnesota Vikings (Win) 7-8
The Vikings and the Giants are on a similar trajectory, with both teams battling for a wildcard spot. The Vikings are favored heading into the game, but the Giants defense contains Dalvin Cook and forces Kirk Cousins to throw. The quarterback does well, finding Justin Jefferson on a few big catches, but Daniel Jones and the Giants receivers keep pace.
Daboll finds his stride running the football, and the Giants control the clock in the third quarter. They only settle for one field goal, and end up scoring multiple touchdowns in the red zone. The Giants defense comes up with a big Thibodeaux sack on third down to force a fourth and long that goes incomplete. The Giants win a close one and are contenders for the Wildcard spot in the NFC.
Week 17: 1/1 vs. Indianapolis Colts (Loss) 7-9
The Colts use their bruising rushing attack to establish the run early in New Jersey’s winter weather. The Giants do a solid job containing Jonathan Taylor throughout the first half, but he breaks a big run for a touchdown in the second half. This game is low-scoring and physical; the Giants respectively compete but drop to 7-9.
Week 18: 1/8 @ Philadelphia Eagles (Loss) 7-10
The Eagles are - unfortunately - contending for the division’s lead and need this game to win, so they are in full competition mode. The game is exciting and important for both teams. The Giants harass Hurts and contain him more effectively in this affair, but they struggle to handle AJ Brown and TE Dallas Goedert.
The Eagles hit on a few explosive plays, but the Giants match on an explosive play to Wan’Dale Robinson early in the third quarter. However, Philadelphia finds a crossing Devonta Smith for a big third-down conversion after a huge Azeez Ojulari sack on the previous down. The Eagles score, and the Giants settle for a field goal early in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia scores on their ensuing drive, and the Giants can’t find the endzone again.
The 2022 Giants schedule looks much more favorable than the 2021 schedule. Instead of playing the AFC West, they play the AFC South with Jacksonville and Houston. Instead of the NFC South (whhci isn’t that great), they play the NFC North, who have one real powerhouse team in Green Bay - who they don’t have to play in Lambeau Field. Since the Giants were the worst team in the division, they also get to play Carolina and Seattle as the two other fourth seeds in the NFC. Then the Ravens - after their down season - are the one team they play from the AFC that isn’t a member of the AFC South.
A 7-10 record is very attainable and respectable, given the recent Giants history. The Giants are in a slight rebuild; they’re young and talented but maybe a year away from truly competing, but this schedule can allow them to have realistic goals to possibly make the playoffs via the second wildcard spot. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that in a weak NFC.
In the scenario above, the Giants just miss the wildcard berth, but they are playing meaningful football until the very last game. The 2020 Giants played meaningful football in Week 17, but that was in one of the weaker divisions in NFL history - not to trivialize, but that is reality. The Giants aren’t embarrassed much in the scenario above. If the ball bounced a different way, they maybe could have won some of the close losses.
This season - with this schedule - is not nearly as challenging as previous years, and this boat seems to be on the right path. I do not think 10 wins is insane, but I would not bet on that, either. Let us know what you think in the comment section below!