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A Pessimist’s Guide to the 2011 New York Giants

Get ready for a lot of this. (Photo by William Perlman/The Star-Ledger)

One of the pure, unbridled joys of the beginning of football season is scanning your favorite team’s schedule and estimating their win-loss record.  The weather is beginning to cool down, leaves will soon change and meaningless exhibition games go unwatched in bars across America.  Taking a look at both New York team’s schedules, Week 16 jumps out – the week the Giants and the Jets face off. A cross-town (but same stadium) rivalry renewed, a battle for supremacy over the greatest city in the world.

Of course, the Giants will be well out of the playoffs by then.

The Biggest Issues

Here in New York, the Jets have dominated local coverage – Mark Sanchez graces this month’s GQ Magazine, Rex Ryan graces the back page of seemingly every paper, and new Jet Plaxico Burress’ ankle is the hot topic on talk radio.

Osi’s Holdout

Meanwhile, the Giants have made nonstop negative headlines since the lockout ended. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora just ended a lengthy holdout this week, but he made the most of his time on the sideline, criticizing GM Jerry Reese and nearly talking his way out of New York.  Longtime Giants Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert found themselves out of a job.  The Jets poached former Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress, the Raiders snapped up TE Kevin Boss.  First round pick Prince Amukamara broke his foot.  Eli Manning dropped his ice cream cone on the street and didn’t have enough money for another (probably).

The Other Steve Smith

Standout wide receiver Steve Smith, who had nearly transitioned from “The Other Steve Smith, Not The One In Carolina” to “The Good Steve Smith,” is now on the rival Eagles.  He’s not the only new addition, joining cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, DE Jason Babin, Vince Young and Ronnie Brown on the reloaded Eagles. Noted Giant killer DeSean Jackson ended his holdout and will continue to give New Yorkers punt return nightmares, and noted dog killer Michael Vick will continue his domination of the Giants – he has a 5-1 career record against Big Blue, including last year’s 4 TD, 372 combined yard evisceration that all but ended the Giants’ playoff hopes.

Competition in the Division

Meanwhile, the Dallas “Football” Cowboys will get back Tony Romo from his Michael Boley-induced injury. The Redskins will continue to play hard against their rivals.  And the Giants lack of action during free agency will make their margin of error even lower than usual.

Enough doom and gloom, let’s look at the schedule!

Looking at the Schedule

The Giants begin the season with a much-needed cupcake – a season opener against the Redskins, albeit at FedEx Field. Their home opener against the Rams will be tough against a rapidly improving St Louis team, but still eminently winnable. After a trip to Philadelphia to face the Offseason Champion Eagles, it’s off to the desert to face the Cardinals in the same stadium where the Giants won Super Bowl 42.  The Seahawks travel to New York to get their yearly beating, and the Bills make the trek down from upstate to see what the big city is like – ooo, look at the pretty lights! You mean it DOESN’T snow all year here?

The Giants return from their bye to face the Dolphins, but that may be the last winnable game on their schedule.  The next five weeks?

At Foxboro for the Patriots, across the country to face San Francisco, home against the Eagles, down to New Orleans for the Saints, home against the world champion Packers.

Absolutely brutal.

They close out the season with a home and home with the Cowboys, a game against the Redskins and the all important Christmas Eve showdown against the Jets – easily the most important thing to happen to New York since Larry David took Curb Your Enthusiasm back to Manhattan.

So what does this all mean for the Giants?  Well, it’s unclear.  The roster is not set, and will not be set until right before their opener in down in DC.  A lot can change in the next few weeks, personnel-wise. But go with your gut – you see the Giants going into their bye week 5-1, don’t you?  You see them beating Miami at home the night before Halloween, right? Then you see them losing 5 games in a row.  And closing out the season with two more losses, minimum, including that away game inexplicably played in their home stadium.

That brings their record to an even 8-8. A typical Giants season, with a promising start and a horrendous collapse down the stretch, New York Mets-style. Absolute upper limit? Ten wins, if they can beat the 49ers in San Francisco, and steal a game either from Dallas or the Jets. Bottom falls out? Eleven losses, including the home opener against St. Louis, the trip to Arizona, both games against Philly and Dallas and the cherry on top, a loss to the Jets in New Meadowlands Stadium.

My 2008 Giants DVD is queued up and ready to go. Keep your fingers crossed, Giants fans. This may get ugly.

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4 comments for “A Pessimist’s Guide to the 2011 New York Giants”

  1. This is going to be a long #NYGiants season. #EliManning #IsAnEliteQB #SoNY

    Posted by Evan Schwartz | August 17, 2011, 3:39 pm
  2. New Post: A Pessimist’s Guide to the 2011 New York Giants

    Posted by Sports of New York | August 17, 2011, 3:49 pm
  3. Great article. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the warning “looking at the schedule” I’ve been trying to avoid that. Haha.

    Posted by Marisa Cannici | August 18, 2011, 11:48 am
  4. Its tough to look at the schedule like that, although it sounds good. I would be willing to bet the Patriots had the Browns circled as a victory last year and look what happened. Good article though.

    Posted by Saltzy | August 18, 2011, 10:24 pm

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