How the New York Giants fair against Tom Coughlin’s Jaguars and JPP’s new Buccaneers will go a long way in determining their success.
The New York Giants will see two familiar faces this season that helped them achieve Super Bowl glory as they take on their former head coach Tom Coughlin’s new team the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, and their former star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul who is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer in Week 11.
Unlike other sports, in the NFL each game matters because there are only 16 precious regular season games. The two reunion games the Giants have against Coughlin and JPP are pivotal.
Week 1 vs. Jaguars
This won’t be Tom Coughlin’s first return to MetLife Stadium. The two-time Super Bowl champion as head coach of the Giants came back for his Ring of Honor induction in 2016 and to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 championship team during a halftime ceremony last season.
But this will be his first trip back as an opponent. In his first season as executive vice president of football operations last season, the Jaguars won the AFC South, had the second-ranked defense in the league and were three minutes away from advancing to Super Bowl 52.
This year many are expecting the Jaguars to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 53. This will be a tough task for the Giants revamped roster as they look to begin the Pat Shurmur era with a victory.
The marquee matchup in this game will be the Giants offense, led by Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr and Saquon Barkley, going up against the Jaguars defense, led by Calais Campbell, Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey.
It’s imperative that the Giants pick up the win in the season opener as they have a tough stretch to begin the season. They face five teams in the first eight weeks that made the playoffs a season ago. Following the Jaguars game, they have two road games in Texas against the Cowboys and Texans.
Games against the Cowboys are always tough and the Texans will be more than a formidable opponent with a healthy Deshaun Watson at quarterback. So the Giants don’t want to head into these game 0-1.
Week 11 vs. Buccaneers
The Giants will play JPP’s new team on a short week after play the 49ers at San Francisco on Monday Night Football. Pierre-Paul had a solid career with Big Blue recording 58 sacks in his eight seasons. He had his best season in the Giants Super Bowl season of 2011 where he had a career-high 16.5 sacks.
Not much is expected out of the Buccaneers this season, but they’re still a dangerous team as they have playmakers in Mike Evans and Giants long-time nemesis, DeSean Jackson.
The Giants know how dangerous the Buccaneers can be as they lost to them in Week 4 of last season 25-23. In that game, JPP had four tackles and half a sack. This time around he’ll have his eyes locked in on Manning.
Based on the upgrades the Giants have made to the offensive line this season such as Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, and having Barkley in the backfield, the Giants should be favored to win this game despite the short week.
A win would be crucial to the Giants and give them momentum heading into the final stretch of the season. Following the game against the Buccaneers, the Giants only face two playoff teams from a season ago in their final six games.
So this game will begin the “easy” portion of the Giants schedule in which they have to take care of business if they want to make the playoffs.