Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Now that I've provided knee-jerk analysis for all four teams, it's time to take a closer look at the schedules. The New York Giants P.R. staff has done a nice job compiling some schedule nuggets, so I thought you might enjoy some of these:
The Giants will play seven games against 2008 playoff teams, including five at home: Arizona, San Diego, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Carolina. They will play two postseason teams on the road: the Eagles and Vikings.
Five of the first eight games are on the road. Last year, five of the first eight were at home. Last year's schedule allowed the Giants to stack up a lot of wins in the first half of the season, which sustained them through a turbulent December.
The three-game road swing through Dallas, Tampa Bay and Kansas City will be the Giants' first in the regular season since Nov. 21-Dec. 4, 1994, when the Giants swept the Houston Oilers, Redskins and Browns. Tom Coughlin said in a press release this evening that the Giants would have to be "road warriors" again.
Coughlin had three three-game regular season road trips as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 1997, the Jaguars lost to Dallas and Pittsburgh before winning at Tennessee (later that year, they won their final two regular season games at Buffalo and Oakland before losing at Denver in an AFC Wild Card Game). The following season, Jacksonville lost at Buffalo and Denver before a victory in Baltimore. And in 2001, the Jaguars swept their three-game road trip by winning in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Minnesota. The league tries to avoid three-game road trips, but it doesn't always work out.
The Giants last played on Thanksgiving on Nov. 26, 1992, when they lost to the Cowboys in Dallas, 30-3. The Giants are 7-6 on Thanksgiving, but have played on the holiday just twice since 1938, including a 13-6 victory over the Lions in Detroit on Nov. 25, 1982. Overall, the Giants are 9-6 on Thursdays. Wait, are we to believe the Giants played 11 Thanksgiving games before 1938? That doesn't sound right to me. I'll look into it.
The Giants are 18-31-1 on Monday nights and 13-15-1 on Sunday nights.
The Giants will play back-to-back home games twice, though the first set of those games is interrupted by the bye. They host San Diego and Atlanta on Nov. 8 and 22 (the bye is the 15th) and Dallas and Philadelphia on Dec. 6 and 13.
This is the second consecutive year the Giants will play their NFC East opponents in games 13-15. Last year, they won at Washington but lost in Dallas and at home to Philly.
The Nov. 15 bye is the Giants' latest since 2001, when they were off on Dec. 2.
This is the first time the Giants will open the season against the same opponent (Washington) since 1991-92, when they hosted the San Francisco 49ers in consecutive seasons. They won the first, 16-14, but lost in '92, 31-14. The Redskins have to be wondering what they did to deserve this type treatment.
The Giants are opening the season against an NFC East opponent for the third consecutive season (including Dallas in 2007), the first time that's happened since 1988-90 (Washington twice and Philadelphia).
This is the first time the Giants will conclude the regular season against the same opponent in back-to-back years since 1993 and '94, when they hosted Dallas in the finale -- losing in overtime in 1993, but winning the following year. The Giants were scheduled to end both the 2001 and 2002 seasons vs. Philadelphia, but after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the NFL moved the Week 2 games to Jan. 6 and the Giants hosted Green Bay to conclude the season.
When the Giants visit Tampa Bay on Sept. 27, Coughlin will be 63 years, 27 days old and Buccaneers first-year head coach Raheem Morris will be 33 years, 24 days old. The age difference of 30 years, 3 days will be the largest between two head coaches in a regular season game since Nov. 4, 2007 when Eric Mangini (36 years, 289 days) faced Joe Gibbs (66 years, 344 days), a difference of 30 years, 55 days. Wow, who thinks to look this stuff up?
When the Giants visit Denver on Thanksgiving night, the age difference between Coughlin and Broncos coach Josh McDaniel will be 29 years, 234 days.