Jim Mancari, ContributorEvery NFL team has a challenging schedule. It’s certainly a grind week-in and week-out, and when Sunday finally comes, teams only get one shot at their opponents – regardless of if the team is ready or not.
It always seems the Giants have a particularly difficult schedule, and this year is no different. Big Blue will play five primetime games, but I guess that just comes with the territory of Super Bowl expectations.
But one scheduling factor that might work in the Giants’ favor is having their bye during Week 9 – the exact middle of the season.
The Giants have proven in the Tom Coughlin era that they struggle in the second half – even during the two recent Super Bowl seasons.
Hopefully, the bye will come just at the right time for the team to regroup and gear up for the second half.
The schedule leading into the bye should really wear on the team. The Giants host the Eagles before back-to-back primetime games with the Bears and Vikings. Then they go on the road to play the Eagles again before the bye.
The Giants must survive the first half – like they’ve traditionally done – because it does not get any easier in the second half. But the first game out of the gate should hopefully get them going.
Big Blue hosts the Oakland Raiders the week after the bye. Again, there are no lay-ups in the NFL, but this is the game the Giants must win, given that the final seven games will present a challenge.
In this order, the Giants will play home to the Packers and Cowboys, at the Redskins, at the Chargers, home to the Seahawks, at the Lions and home to the Redskins.
At that point, the rest from the bye will be crucial. You have to feel for teams that have their bye in Week 4 and then have the rattle off 12 consecutive weeks of hard-nosed football.
The bye week really does not matter too much in the outcome of a season, but the Week 9 bye can give the Giants the break they need at just the right time.
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