With a 16-game (soon to be 17-game) season, every NFL regular season matchup counts. For the New York Giants, games against their NFC East foes mean the most. Then there are games that, while not mathematically more important than others, stick out when the schedule gets released in May. Whether it be a matter of revenge, trash-talk, or an interdivisional rivalry, there are always certain teams that fans want to see crushed at the hands of Big Blue. This season is no exception, as there are a few matchups worth circling on your calendar. Here are the Giants’ three biggest non-divisional games of 2020.
Week 8 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If there’s been one thing most NFL fans have had in common the last 20 years, it’s their love of beating Tom Brady. The six-time super bowl champ’s move from the New England Patriots to the Buccaneers won’t change that. New York has been fortunate enough to beat Brady three times, including twice in the super bowl. No matter how small those super bowl triumphs get in the rearview mirror, Giants’ fans will always think their team has a mental edge over “The GOAT”. It’s hard not to relish the chance to rub another loss in the face of the NFL’s golden boy.
Tampa Bay has been a trendy pick to win the NFC. A mid-season victory over them could go a long way towards making the playoffs, potentially even as head-to-head tie-breaker at the end of the year.
Throw in that the game against the Bucs last year was Daniel Jones‘ breakout, and this has the makings of a highly anticipated matchup.
Week 14 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Carson Wentz vs. Jared Goff. Baker Mayfield vs. Sam Darnold. Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota. Quarterbacks taken at the top of the same draft will always be compared against each other. So it goes without saying that a duel between 2019 draftees Jones and Kyler Murray will draw plenty of interest. Much of the two fan bases have dug in their heels, insisting their team has the better player.
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Both young quarterbacks had impressive first seasons, with Murray even winning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. Murray has already drawn first blood in this budding rivalry by beating New York last year. Jones would love to fire back with a win of his own.
This game could have playoff implications if both teams improve with their second-year quarterbacks.
Week 15 vs. Cleveland Browns
Ever since Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to Cleveland in March 2019, this matchup has been anticipated by Giants fans, Browns fans, and football fans alike. The flamboyant receiver was a fountain of controversy while a Giant. Kicking nets, boat trips, and Lil’ Wayne interviews are all items on his resume of scandals in New York. Bad feelings over the trade were heightened when Beckham Jr. and Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman exchanged barbs after the fact. Gettleman implied Beckham Jr. was causing a “culture problem” in New York, and Beckham Jr. said Gettleman traded him to Cleveland to “send me here to die“.
The flames of excitement for this game were fanned even higher when Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield criticized the Giants for drafting Jones sixth overall. Thanks to all this intrigue, plenty of rancor has built up between the two fan bases.
This game may have no practical meaning when it finally arrives, but the worth of it’s bragging rights will be skyhigh.