Ezekiel Elliott, Carson Wentz
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

Here are the top three in-division games to look forward to as a New York Giants fan as the 2019 regular season approaches.

On Thursday, the 2019 NFL regular season will finally commence. The Green Bay Packers will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears and kick off the NFL‘s 100th season.

The New York Giants‘ Week 1 game will be this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. It’ll be the first of the Giants’ six in-division games. With individuals such as Saquon Barkley, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot (possibly), Carson Wentz, and now rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the NFC East is gearing up to be vitally competitive.

There are a few games against NFC East opponents that will be crucial for Big Blue’s season.

3. Week 16: Giants at Washington Redskins (Dec. 22, 1:00 p.m. ET)

If there’s going to be a team that won’t be as competitive against the Giants in this division, it’s the Redskins. Heck, the Giants defeated the Redskins 40-16 in a Week 14 game in Washington last year, with the score at 40-0 at one point. It’s usually an easier game for Big Blue than matchups against Philadelphia and Dallas.

However, this is going to be a game to look forward to because at this point in the season, the Redskins will likely have benched quarterback Case Keenum for Dwayne Haskins. Keenum is the starter for now, with Haskins sitting on the bench and preparing for the future, as the Eli ManningDaniel Jones situation. But by Week 16, the Redskins will have figured it out with Haskins on the field.

Having said that, this will be the Giants’ first test against a quarterback they could be seeing twice every season for years to come. This is a guy that fans wanted the team to draft instead of Jones, and it’ll be interesting to see how Haskins fares in his first meeting with the Giants.

With a great pocket presence in college along with good throwing mechanics (4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns last year for Ohio State), Haskins could be the futuristic answer for Washington. Jones vs. Haskins has the potential to be a great battle throughout the years, and it could all start Week 16.

2. Week 1: Giants at Dallas Cowboys (Sept. 8, 4:25 p.m. ET)

Week 1 is obviously the farthest week from the postseason. However, when you have the Giants-Cowboys Week 1 in Dallas, a matchup that’s occurred four of the last six years, you have an environment that could be overwhelming.

This will be the game that’ll set the tone for both of these teams. Will Dak Prescott and the Cowboys surge to a hot start? Will the Giants start out 1-0 for the first time since 2016? Can the Giants beat the Cowboys for the first time since Dec. 11, 2016, when they ousted them 10-7 in a Sunday Night battle at MetLife Stadium? Will Ezekiel Elliot have settled his contract dispute by then?

Many questions will be answered in this game, and many of those answers will go a long way to determining how the 2019 NFC East battle will play out.

Last year, the Giants were defeated in Dallas by a score of 20-13 during a September game. They were also beaten at home in December by a score of 36-35. These teams seem destined to play close games with one another, but the Giants defense will need to keep Prescott in check if they want to pull out the victory in Week 1. In the second of the two matchups last season, the Dallas quarterback was 27-of-44 for 387 yards and four touchdowns.

1. Week 14: Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (Dec. 9, 8:15 p.m. ET)

When was the last time the Giants defeated the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia? You’d have to go back to Week 8 of 2013 when the Giants emerged victorious by a score of 15-7. The Eagles’ leading passer in that game? Matt Barkley. The leading rushers for the Eagles and Giants? LeSean McCoy and Peyton Hillis, respectively.

Yes, Peyton Hillis. Remember him? He was good for what felt like 10 minutes, was awarded the Madden 12 cover, and then we never saw him again.

The Giants will travel to Philadelphia to take on Carson Wentz and the Eagles during Week 14, and hopefully, it’s a meaningful game for Big Blue. Another Week 14 game without playoff implications, at the very least, would be a disappointment. This organization needs to get to the point where meaningful games are played this late in the season.

And if they do get to that point in 2019, this matchup will be huge. The Eagles will arguably be one of the teams to beat in the NFC, as they’ve been the past two years. If both the Giants and Eagles are contenders, this would be a huge road game for New York to steal.

Not to mention, if the Giants were to defeat the Eagles in this game and establish a momentum towards the end of the regular season, it would be huge for the eventual second matchup.

The Giants take on the Eagles in Week 17 at MetLife Stadium. That game will be an easier matchup than on the road, so it would be great to snag a victory on Philly’s home turf and put the Giants in position to sweep the season series.

Follow Ryan on TWITTER

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