By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
The Giants have a distinct possibility to finish with a strong, second-half season, along with an overall postseason run .
Those thoughts began to stir when the NFL schedule was officially released Thursday evening. As always, NFL schedules began to slowly trickle out early in the day.
In fact, the Giants’ entire schedule can lend itself to conjure more thoughts about the postseason.
If Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman did his homework correctly, Daniel Jones continues to develop, and Saquon Barkley bounces back into form, the Giants should be able to make a playoff run.
They open hosting Denver in a late afternoon clash (4:25 p.m.) Sept. 12 and then have a quick turnaround heading to Washington for a Thursday night tilt.
They return home to host the Falcons and then travel to the Drew Brees-less Saints.
Then will come the real litmus test with a pivotal four-game span — at Dallas, home against the Rams and Carolina, and a Monday night mesh in Kansas City.
This will be the barometer of Patrick Graham’s defensive unit as well as Jason Garrett’s new high-octane passing offense.
The Giants will get a likely break when they host Las Vegas (remember, they are the Raiders) before their week 10 bye.
Through the first nine games? Let’s put them down at 5-4. Maybe I’m highly optimistic, but I can see them having a legitimate shot at winning their first three games before spiralling downward into a three-game slide.
Here’s where things can get real dicey.
JsuLook at their final eight. They’ll come off their bye with a Monday night trip to Tampa Tom’s Buccaneers.
Philadelphia will head into MetLife, and a road trip to the ever-improving Dolphins will follow on the docket.
That trip will be followed by a junket to Los Angeles to play the Chargers, and the Giants’ defense will be challenged facing two young quarterbacks in Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert in consecutive weeks.
Off the coast, the G-Men will return home for a key matchup against Dallas in which could be a first-place showdown. Another key divisional battle also could be in the works when they travel to Philadelphia the next week.
In the final two weeks, there is a trip to Chicago, which could be an intriguing duel for Jones against rookie Justin Fields, and ending with a home and season final against Washington.
The Giants’ busy off season has raised the expectations bar, and there is a steady, growing feeling that they should be a playoff team in 2021.
They were handed a schedule with many options that easily could swing in their favor.
My sanguine outlook has them creating an impressive 11-5 season and a legitimate NFC East winner. Realistically, they could befall to an 8-9, or 9-8 season.
At this point, anything less would be a disappointment.