By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: Add me to the list with providing my two cents on projecting the Giants record in 2020. The New York Giants will be facing the AFC North and NFC West in 2020; which are two of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Throw in that currently, the Giants are the third best team in their own division with the Cowboys and Eagles projected higher and the fact that there’s a new Head Coach and an entirely new coaching staff will make the 2020 season arguably the toughest year for the Giants.
When you look at the Giants 2020 schedule, their first five games are going to be difficult along with the final five games of the year. Sandwich in between are six games that the Giants could take advantage of if things go their way. So let’s dive into it and start the predictions:
Game 1 –Giants Host Pittsburgh: Giants open on Monday night and expect a little sloppy play by both teams, but mostly the Giants. Pittsburgh has a solid record on Monday night and along with the return of QB Ben Roethisberger should be a bit too much for the Giants to overcome: Pittsburgh-27/ Giants-13 (Record 0-1)
Game 2-Giants at Chicago: Giants travel to Chicago on a short week and licking their wounds from their lost to the Steelers. The Giants face a defense equal to or perhaps better than the Steelers as the Bears have some playmakers in linebackers Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn along with Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks clogging the middle. Doesn’t matter whose under center for the Bears, Trubinsky or Foles, this game will be decided on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants show effort and keep it close, only to falter in the end. Chicago-17/ Giants-14 (Record 0-2)
Game 3-Giants Host San Francisco: The Giants first home game of the season will be a tough one as the NFC champs 49ers are the next opponent. The 49ers defense is every bit as nasty as the Steelers and the Bears and they prove it in the Giants home opener. I just can’t see the Giants containing the 49ers defensive front 7 for the entire game and expect to see the 49ers defense scoring a touchdown at some point in the game. Valiant effort once again by the Giants, but the growing pains continue as do the losses. San Francisco-28/Giants-13 (Record 0-3)
Game 4-Giants at Los Angeles: The Giants just finished a three game stretch of facing three stifling defenses. Now in game 4 they will face the best offense thus far in the Los Angeles Rams. The last time the Rams made a visit to Met Life Stadium, it wasn’t pretty, manhandling the Giants 51-17. Although I don’t expect a repeat performance by the Rams, I do see the Giants young defense tested more in this game than the previous three to start the season. The Giants will come to play and will show some life early on, however; as the game wears on into the 3rd quarter the Rams will slowly pull away and walk out with a win. Los Angeles-31/Giants-20 (Record 0-4)
Game 5-Giants at Dallas: Giants travel to Dallas to face their 1st divisional game of the season and this game will have lots of emotions attached to it. OC Jason Garrett returns to Dallas and despite the Giants being winless thus far, don’t expect this to be an easy game for the Cowboys. Once again, The Giants will show lots of heart and make some plays on both sides of the ball, but it won’t be enough. Dallas-20/Giants-14 (Record 0-5)
Game 6-Giants Host Washington: The Giants return home and will probably be facing another winless team at this point in Washington; so something has to give. Giant fans will finally have something to cheer about this season as the Giants put forth a complete team effort on both sides of the ball and also in special teams. Giants-30/Washington-17 (Record 1-5)
Game 7-Giants at Philadelphia: Giants travel up I-95 with loads of confidence with a dominant performance against Washington and square off with their 3rd straight divisional game against Philadelphia. The Giants have lost the last seven meetings against the Eagles dating back to 12/26/2016. Although I project the Giants playing inspiring football and giving one of the best efforts against Philadelphia, in the end they find a way to lose. Philadelphia-17/Giants-13 (Record 1-6)
Game 8-Giants Host Tampa Bay: The Giants return home to play Tampa Bay and against a familiar face in Quarterback Tom Brady. Historically; the Giants have done well against the future Hall of Famer throughout his career and will be ready to play on Monday Night Football for the 2nd time this season. This game should have a little bit of everything for both-sides, scoring chances, big defensive plays and some special team highlights. However; in the end I see the experience of Tom Brady, along with the play makers on the defensive side of the ball for Tampa Bay being the difference. Tampa Bay 28/Giants-23 (Record 1-7)
Game 9-Giants at Washington: At this point, all I can say is “thank goodness the Giants play Washington twice’. The Giants travel to RFK Stadium after a crushing defeat to the hands of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and atone with another gutty performance. This time this game is a lot closer as both sides battle in the trenches. In the end, Daniel Jones and Saquan Barkley put the final nail the coffin and for the 2nd straight season, sweep Washington. Giants-27/Washington 13 (Record 2-7)
Game 10-Giants Host Philadelphia: Philadelphia comes into town tied with Dallas for 1st place in the NFC east and they’re not about to lose any momentum at this point. The Giants aren’t about to roll over easily at home as both teams give a solid effort and with the outcome being determined in the final 5 minutes of the game. Philadelphia squeak outs a tough win and remain tied with Dallas in the NFC east. Philadelphia-21/Giants-17 (Record 2-8)
Game 11-Giants at Cincinnati: After a much needed bye week, the Giants return to action and pay a visit to Cincinnati and leading rookie of the year candidate, Quarterback Joe Borrows. The week off does wonders for the Giants as they excel on both sides of the ball as RB Saquon Barkley enjoys his best performance of the year. Giants defense intercepts Burrows twice with the final one by rookie safety Xavier McKinney sealing the deal. Giants-28/Cincinnati-20 (Record 3-8)
Game 12-Giants at Seattle: The Giants travel to Seattle and walk into a buzz saw as the Seahawks are challenging the 49ers for 1st place in the NFC west and are not able to let their guard down against the Giants. The effort will be there for the Giants and they will show some flashes on both sides of the ball. However; in the end Quarterback Russell Wilson will be too much and puts together a 300+ day in the air with multiple touchdowns via on the ground and through the air. Seattle-31/Giants-17 (Record 3-9
Game 13- Giants Host Arizona: The Cardinals defeated the Giants last season in Met Life Stadium as rookie Quarterback Kyler Murray provided some flashes of why is was selected first overall in the 2019 draft. Expect this game to go down to the wire as both offenses will be clicking and it could come down to whoever has the ball last. In this scenario, the Giants will and Daniel Jones will lead the team from a come from behind win as time expires. Giants-23/Arizona-21 (Record 4-9)
Game 14-Giants Host Cleveland: At this point of the season, both teams have been eliminated from the playoff picture. However; this could be the most watched game by Giant fans as former wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, will be facing the Giants for the 1st time since being traded away. Beckham won’t admit it, but this will be a very emotional game for him and one that’s been on his mind once the schedules came out. For the Giants, it’s business as usual and don’t expect any media verbiage leading up to the game as Head Coach Joe Judge will put a lid on that. As far as the game goes, I see emotions high early on and perhaps some sparkling catches by Beckham, but in the end Daniel Jones will outshines Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley will put to rest who is the better running back, him or Chubb. Giants-34/Cleveland-27 (Record 5-9)
Game 15-Giants at Baltimore: On paper this should be the hardest game of the year for the Giants. Playing against a Baltimore team on the road that finished with an NFL best 14-2 record with league MVP Quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens shored up their defense with off season trades for Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers , some key free agent signings (OLB-Matthew Judon and DE-Derek Wolfe ) and a solid draft headed by linebacker Patrick Queen. What does this all mean for the Giants? Well to be blunt; not good. This could be the biggest lopsided loss for the Giants in 2020 as the Ravens are deep on both sides of the ball and have a very physical defensive front-7 that could really make Daniel Jones and the Giants offense struggle to find points. Baltimore-35/Giants 13 (Record 5-10)
Game 16-Giants Host Dallas: I’m a firm believer in that old adage that “every dog has it’s day” and this statement will hold true in the Giants final game of the year against most fittingly the Cowboys. This will be very emotional game to start with as it will be a divisional rival clash, but the two other factors will be that a Giant win will keep Dallas out of the playoffs and the other is this will be Offensive Coordinator’s Jason Garrett final game with the Giants; as he will become a Head Coach with other team in 2021. Expect one of the most physical games of the season with a few late hits and some pushing and shoving after the whistle. I see each team making plays on both sides of the ball with the Giants prevailing in the end. Giants-24/Dallas-21 (Record 6-10).
Final Thoughts: So there you have it, the Giants finish the season with two more wins in the 2020 season and in all likelihood selecting in the top 10 in the 2021 NFL draft for the third straight year. Despite only a six win season, I believe the Giant fans will have seen a glimmer of hope among some of the young players GM Dave Gettleman has brought in via the draft along with a few solid free agent signings. It takes time to build a championship caliber team and the 2020 season will only make the Giants more determined to learn and work harder for 2021.