On paper, the New York Giants have a favorable schedule but if they don’t take care of business in the NFC East, it won’t matter.
The 2019 schedules were released last week and we now know who and where the New York Giants will play their 16 regular season games.
On paper, Big Blue has a favorable schedule. Their 2019 opponents had a combined record of 120-134-2 which is tied for the 27th easiest schedule in the league. The Giants will also only play four teams that made the playoffs a season ago.
In addition, they’re never away from the confines of MetLife Stadium in back-to-back weeks. The only consecutive road games they’ll experience is a Week 10 matchup against the Jets in which they’re the “road team,” which is followed with a bye in Week 11 before they head to Chicago to take on the Bears in Week 12.
Head coach Pat Shurmur spoke on Wednesday about his team’s road schedule.
“For whatever it’s worth, our travel schedule this year is really good,” Shurmur said. “We’re not doing a whole lot of travel.”
It’s true, the Giants might have the most favorable travel schedule in the league this year. Their Week 1 trip to Dallas will be the furthest they’ll have to travel all season. They also will not have to fly in the final five weeks of the season, when they will play three home games and visit Washington and Philadelphia.
Your 2019 #NYGiants schedule‼️
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 18, 2019
But the favorable schedule the Giants have will all be irrelevant if they continue to struggle within their division.
The Giants division woes have plagued them for years. Over the last two seasons, they’re a combined 2-10 in the NFC East.
Those two wins came against the Washington Redskins, the only team the Giants have had some moderate success against over the last five seasons. In their last 10 games against Washington, the Giants are 6-4.
They have fared far worse against their other two divisional foes.
In their last 10 games against the Cowboys, the Giants are 3-7, and in their last 10 games against the Eagles, they are an embarrassing 1-9. You simply can’t compete for a playoff berth when you’re going 1-5 or 2-4 in your division every year.
To make matters worse, since winning Super Bowl 46, every other NFC East team has won the division at least twice.
One of the reasons for the Giants failures in recent seasons has been their offensive line, and defensive front seven as they’ve easily been the worst in the division.
Over the last 13 months, general manager Dave Gettleman has begun to rebuild the offensive line by signing left tackle Nate Solder to a four year, $62-million contract, drafted guard Will Hernandez in the second round of the 2018 draft, and traded away Olivier Vernon to acquire Kevin Zeitler last month.
Big Blue has two first-round picks (No. 6 and 17) and it’s almost a guarantee that they will use at least one of their first round picks to get an edge rusher. The Giants haven’t used a first round pick to draft a defensive front-seven player since Jason Pierre-Paul in 2010. That seems unfathomable considering the emphasis in the NFL on putting pressure on the quarterback and the rich history of elite pass rushers in the Giants history.
Adding one or two pass rushers will certainly bode well for the Giants in turning their fortunes around especially in the division.
At minimum, the Giants will need to go at least 3-3 in the division if they have any hopes of contending for a playoff spot in 2019. If they do that and then go 6-4 or better in their other 10 games, they stand a good chance of making the playoffs.
Pat Shurmur knows he has to win in 2019 if he’s going to remain head coach after the season. The best way for him to secure his job is if his team can take care of business in the NFC East.