Brian Daboll
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants are primed to build on a surprising playoff berth just as much as they’re primed to take a step back. They have more offensive weapons for quarterback Daniel Jones, sure. But there are also issues on the offensive line, issues in the secondary, and arguably the most daunting of them all: issues with the schedule.

This team’s 17-game slate is brutal, which is why Sunday night’s season opener vs. the Cowboys is an absolute must-win.

We don’t think the Giants will make the postseason, and a disappointing 8-9 finish could more than likely be in the cards. But that’s not the vibe inside the building (at least fans are hoping it’s not). This team has a goal to close the gap on the division-rival Cowboys and Eagles, and continue to build on a surprising and successful 2022 campaign. But how can one be certain they do that when the schedule poses challenge after challenge, especially early on?

In the first 10 games of the season, the Giants have six matchups against five playoff teams from last year: the Cowboys (twice), 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins, and Bills. Those are all potential losses. Two of the other four matchups? The division-rival Commanders and crosstown Jets, who have Super Bowl aspirations with Aaron Rodgers.

To put this into perspective, the Giants’ so-so offensive line in the first 10 games needs to face Micah Parsons, Nick Bosa, Jaelan Phillips, Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams, Maxx Crosby…you get the point

To put it into perspective even more, this Deonte Banks-Tre Hawkins rookie cornerback duo must play CeeDee Lamb, Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Terry McLaurin, Garrett Wilson, Davante Adams…again, you get the point.

If the Giants want any semblance of another playoff run, with two other possible playoff teams in their division, they cannot fall behind early in the standings. Brian Daboll’s crew needs to stack wins in the early months, starting with potentially the first victory over Dallas since January 2021.

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