In general, the year 2020 won’t be looked back upon very fondly. For the New York Giants, though, it might just be the dawn of a new age. After the seemingly eternal Eli Manning era, the Giants are finally embracing a fresh start. This season will mark the first time in 16 years that Manning won’t be New York’s Week 1 starting quarterback. General manager Dave Gettleman has assembled a young core consisting of quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, and left tackle Andrew Thomas, that will hopefully carry the Giants into a successful future.
Perhaps most importantly, this season will also be the debut of New York’s first-time head coach Joe Judge. The former New England Patriots assistant has already created buzz with his hard-driving practice methods and eminent quotability. Judge needs to show he can be the leader of a winning organization, not just an oddball media curiosity.
In short, this is a momentous year for Big Blue. If the team shows serious improvement, the Judge-Jones-Barkley trinity could define the next decade of Giants football. If the team staggers through another four or five-win season, ownership could be compelled to oust the current regime and start all over again.
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In order to preview this pivotal Giants season, here’s a win-loss prediction for each game on New York’s schedule, followed by a final record prediction.
Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Loss
The Steelers defense should be too much to overcome for a young Giants offense in the Monday night opener. Ben Roethlisberger‘s return will boost Pittsburgh’s scoring enough to take this one.
Week 2 at Chicago Bears: Win
Expect a close, low scoring affair, much like last year’s game between these two teams. With an increased emphasis on details and special teams under Judge, we’ll give the nod to Big Blue in a squeaker.
Week 3 vs. San Francisco 49ers: Loss
The ferocity of San Fran’s pass rush should overwhelm a green Giants offensive line. New York opens the season against three great defenses.
Week 4 at Los Angeles Rams: Win
Jones and the offense will finally get some traction against a spotty Rams defense. This one could be high scoring.
Week 5 at Dallas Cowboys: Loss
Dallas will have far too much offensive firepower for a thin New York secondary. Jones could have a big day against a suspect Cowboys’ secondary as well, but it likely won’t be enough.
Week 6 vs. Washington Football Team: Win
Washington doesn’t have enough offensively to take advantage of the Giants’ shaky secondary. Barkley always goes off against this team.
Week 7 at Philadelphia Eagles: Loss
The lose one/win one trend continues. Philly has owned New York in recent years, and Carson Wentz always seems play well in these matchups.
Week 8 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Loss
Week 9 at Washington Football Team: Win
This game should play out much like it will have in Week 6. No fans in the stands due to COVID-19 will undermine any homefield advantage Washington might’ve had.
Week 10 vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Loss
The Giants have lost seven straight to the Eagles. After this season there’s a good chance it will be nine straight.
Week 12 at Cincinnati Bengals: Win
A good game for Jones and the offense to get their confidence back up after a bye week. Cincy’s porous defense should be very permissive.
Week 13 at Seattle Seahawks: Loss
Jones could have a decent day against a Seattle defense that lacks a formidable pass rush. But even if this game is close, Russell Wilson will be able to make enough plays to come away with a victory.
Week 14 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Win
A stout New York run defense won’t allow Arizona to scamper for over 150 yards like when these teams met last year. Jones vs. Kyler Murray in a shootout will be fun to watch.
Week 15 vs. Cleveland Browns: Loss
This game has been circled on Giants fans’ calendars for a while now. Unfortunately for them, this revamped Browns offense should be too balanced and potent for New York to slow down.
Week 16 at Baltimore Ravens: Loss
The Giants may be able to contain Baltimore’s dynamic rushing attack with their stout defensive line, but Jones will be in tough against this talented defensive backfield.
Week 17 vs. Dallas Cowboys: Loss
Week 17 games are hard to predict, as either of these teams could have already clinched or been eliminated from the playoffs. Assuming this game retains its meaning, Dallas takes it based on the same reasons provided for Week 5 above.