Breakdown: They aren't defending Super Bowl champions this year, but the New York Giants remain a prime-time darling with five nationally televised games in 2013. It all begins Week 1 in Dallas, when they play the Cowboys in a Sunday night matchup. They get a Thursday night game in Week 6 in Chicago against the Bears and a home game against the Vikings on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" in Week 7. They host the Packers on Sunday night in Week 11, then visit Robert Griffin III and the Redskins in Washington for another Sunday night game in Week 13.
The Giants get the bye week every team wants -- Week 9, smack in the middle of the season. And it begins the easiest part of their schedule from a travel standpoint, as their first three games after the bye are all home games. If the Giants are going to have another one of those "November swoons," it's going to be harder than ever for them to explain. They play only three games in the month of November, all at home right in a row after the bye against Oakland, Green Bay and Dallas.
One oddity is that only two of the Giants' final five games are division games, and both are against the Redskins. They'll be done with the Eagles before their bye week, done with the Cowboys in Week 12 and won't yet have seen the Redskins. The league likes when possible to pack the final few weeks with division games, and the Giants do close with a home game against Washington, but in the three weeks prior to that they play the Chargers, Seahawks and Lions.
Complaint department: Somehow, things look tough early and late. Three of the Giants' first four games are road games, and three of their final five games are road games. The Thursday night game in Chicago in Week 6 comes just four days after a division game against the Eagles. They'll get a well-rested Cowboys team twice, as they play them in Week 1 and then play them in Week 12 after Dallas' bye week. And if you buy the theory I've put through in every one of these schedule-analysis posts so far that it's better to get the Redskins early while Griffin is still recovering from knee surgery, then the fact that both of the Giants-Redskins games are in December doesn't do the Giants any favors.
Brother vs. brother: What's amazing about this schedule is that the Giants have those five prime-time games, but the game against the Denver Broncos isn't one of them. The prime-time networks must have tried to grab the game between Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his brother, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, but CBS instead snagged it for a late-Sunday afternoon showcase in Week 2. The game will be at MetLife Stadium at 4:25 pm ET.
Giants Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 8, at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 15, Denver, 4:25 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 22, at Carolina, 1 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 29, at Kansas City, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 6, Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Week 6: Thursday, Oct. 10, at Chicago, 8:25 p.m.
Week 7: Monday, Oct. 21, Minnesota, 8:30 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 27, at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 10, Oakland, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 17, Green Bay, 8:30 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 24, Dallas, 4:25 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 1, at Washington, 8:30 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 8, at San Diego, 4:25 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15, Seattle, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22, at Detroit, 4:05 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29, Washington, 1:00 p.m.