Sam Darnold, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The New York Giants will have an average schedule in 2019, but there are five quarterbacks they’ll face who’ll be tough to prepare for.

In 2019, the New York Giants take on an average schedule. It’s not an easy one, but it’s also not too difficult. Only six of their 16 games will come against 2018 playoff teams. That includes two against the Dallas Cowboys, two against the Philadelphia Eagles, and games against the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots.

However, there is a multitude of talented quarterbacks who the Giants will have to face next season. Despite how good or bad their teams were in 2018, these quarterbacks are poised to have big seasons in 2019.

That being said, here are the top five toughest quarterbacks the Giants defense will have to face next season:

5. New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (Week 10 @ NYJ)

I understand what you’re going to say, and it’s that I’m insane for putting Sam Darnold on this list. And yes, Darnold only threw 17 touchdowns to 15 interceptions through 13 games in his rookie year in 2018. But look at what some quarterbacks have been able to do in their second year in the pros. Look at guys such as Patrick Mahomes and Mitch Trubisky. The improvement that could be made as a quarterback from their rookie year to the second year could very well be an immense amount. Darnold is no exception to this possibility.

Darnold will also have a good supporting cast around him. He’ll have a brand new head coach in Adam Gase, a new general manager in Joe Douglas, and a new running back in Le’Veon Bell. The former USC Trojan will also have wide receivers Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, and Quincy Enunwa, not to mention offensive weapon Ty Montgomery. The latter proved during his time as a Green Bay Packer that he can play both wide receiver and running back.

Say what you want about Darnold, but he’ll be a much better quarterback in his sophomore season than he was in his rookie year. That’s why the Giants secondary and pass rush will have to prepare well for him that entire week leading up to the game.

4. Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky (Week 12 @ CHI)

When the Giants face Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears in Week 12 in Chicago, it’ll be a tough game to win. The Bears may end up being the toughest team to beat in the NFC, as Chicago and the L.A. Rams could very well be the top two seeds in the conference.

The Bears only won five games in 2017 when Trubisky was a rookie, as he only threw for seven touchdowns to seven interceptions. However, the Bears finished 12-4 and winners of the NFC North division in 2018, and Trubisky is a huge part of that. He finished with 24 touchdowns, 3,223 yards, and completed 66.6% of his passes. These efforts helped earn him his first Pro Bowl honors.

After a great improvement from year one to year two for Trubisky, the former North Carolina Tar Heel will be looking to improve even more in year three. He’ll have running back Tarik Cohen by his side, along with wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Allen Robinson. All-in-all, the Bears will have a great offense next season, and Trubisky will be a huge part of it.

3. Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (Week 14 @ PHI; Week 17 Vs PHI)

The Giants, like every other year, will face the Philadelphia Eagles twice, once Week 14 and once Week 17. Yes, two games late in the regular season. Therefore, fans don’t know at this point if Carson Wentz will be healthy for these games. He sustained season-ending injuries during Week 14 games in each of the last two seasons. But, for the sake of this article, let’s just assume he’ll be good to go for each of these regular-season matchups.

In five games against the Giants thus far in his short career, Wentz has thrown for 1,206 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions. When he’s healthy and in-tune with the rest of the offense, Wentz proves to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. If he didn’t tear his ACL in 2017, he could’ve been the NFL MVP instead of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Wentz will have targets Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz, who he’s had since he came into the league in 2016. The Eagles could end up having the toughest offense in the NFC East. And the fact that the Eagles gave Wentz a four-year contract extension worth $128 million shows they’re investing in him for the long run.

Twice a year for years to come. Needless to say, the Giants will have to get used to Wentz and his tendencies on the field.

2. Patriots QB Tom Brady (Week 6 @ NE)

It’s Eli Manning vs Tom Brady, part six. This time, a Thursday night in Foxboro, MA.

The last time the Giants faced the Patriots in the regular season was Week 10 in 2015. Big Blue went up by two nearing the end of regulation, only for Tom Brady to lead his team down the field for a game-winning field goal. New England pulled away with the win, 27-26.

The Pats that year were the reigning Super Bowl champions. Four years later? Yes, same thing.

New England will be New England, and Brady will be Brady. With wide receivers Julian Edelman and now Demaryius Thomas, the Super Bowl-winning offense that is the Patriots will still be dominant in 2019.

Eli and the Giants usually play Brady and the Pats tough though. Eli currently leads the series 3-2, and this may be the final meeting between these two in their careers. That’s unless, of course, they meet in the Super Bowl for the third time.

1. Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (Week 13 VS. GB)

Listen, I get the Green Bay Packers have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. And people sometimes like to make the argument that good quarterbacks lead their teams to the playoffs. But Aaron Rodgers is nowhere near the problem for the Packers.

Let’s look at the facts here. Coming off an injury last year, Rodgers played in all 16 games for the dysfunctional Packers and threw for 25 touchdowns, and completed 4,442 yards. The Pro Bowl quarterback also completed 62.3% of his throws and only threw two interceptions throughout the entire season.

Rodgers hasn’t faced the Giants since the 2016 season when he faced them in both the regular season and in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs. But in those two meetings, Rodgers and the Packers were 2-0, as the future Hall of Famer threw for six touchdowns, 621 yards and only two interceptions.

Regardless if he has a good supporting cast around him, it’s still Rodgers. He’s still going to be the type of quarterback to get out of the pocket and perform well on the run. He’s also going to be the guy that can have a great pocket presence and pick apart opposing secondaries. All-in-all, Rodgers will be Rodgers, and the Giants secondary will have their hands full that day.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.