Late Wednesday, the NFL officially announced the schedule for all 32 teams. For the New York Giants, it was revealed that they would open up the season on the road against the Detroit Lions and would have five scheduled primetime games to begin — something subject to early change with NFL flex scheduling now beginning in Week 5.
In addition to the five primetime games, the Giants also have a four-week span in November where they take on the Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys respectively. Needless to say, and their "strength of schedule" aside, Big Blue does not exactly have it easy.
“It’s a difficult and challenging schedule, as we knew it would be,” Tom Coughlin told Giants.com. “We play a lot of very good teams. We’re playing some teams that we haven’t played for a while that feature some key, key ingredients, some teams that are building and growing and teams with new coaches, guys I have a lot of respect for."
But it's not just the big names you have to concern yourself with, says Coughlin. Rather it's the teams some may overlook — teams like the St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans.
“We do have any number of outstanding games in a row, because in addition to the NFC East, the NFC West and the AFC South. The NFC West is a very strong division and certainly continues to be strong. Seattle won the Super Bowl, San Francisco played in the NFC Championship Game, you look at the improvement in the Arizona team and the way they played, particularly toward the end of the year," Coughlin said. "And the way in which the St. Louis defensive team has played, their quarterback (Sam Bradford) being injured but coming back. That’s a very tough challenge and that’s to say nothing about the fact that we really haven’t been in that AFC South for a while. We played Atlanta a couple years ago. They’ve made drastic changes with their team. You saw Jacksonville improve. Houston has a new coach and with (Bill) O’Brien there and the first pick of the draft…so there are a lot of interesting factors that go into taking a look at this.”
One thing Coughlin also made note of was that his team isn't opening the season against an NFC East opponent — something they've done each year dating back to 2010 when they played the Carolina Panthers. Prior to that, you would have to go back to 2006 when they played the Indianapolis Colts to start the season.
“We’re not opening in the division, which is kind of a rarity," Coughlin said. “We’re on our fourth game before we do get a divisional game. I think that’s an interesting thing.”
Of course, the Giants will close the season against an NFC East opponent (Philadelphia Eagles), which has slowly started to become the norm as well — three of their last four Week 17 games have come against a division opponent (four of their last five if you include the 2014 schedule).
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