A week-by-week look at the Giants' 2019 schedule, and some way-too-early predictions that are sure to change a lot:
Week 1 (Sept. 8) - @ Cowboys, 4:25 p.m.
Death, taxes, and the Giants opening against the Cowboys … or something like that. It's a difficult start against a much-improved Dallas team. The Giants gave them a run at the end of last season, but they'll need a few weeks to get their new, Odell-less offense in gear.
Week 2 (Sept. 15) - vs. Bills, 1 p.m.
Fans don't seem too happy with the Giants these days, so will they be … um … pleasant when the Giants return home at 0-1? Guess it depends on the first series, or how long it takes Eli Manning to throw his first interception. Good thing they're playing the Bills.
Week 3 (Sept. 22) - @ Buccaneers, 4:05 p.m.
The Bucs could be a surprise team this year with a much-improved coaching staff, and what should be a much-improved defense under Todd Bowles (Jets fans can stop laughing … really). The Bucs can score a lot. Will the Giants' offense be ready to go yet? Not likely.
Week 4 (Sept. 29) - vs. Redskins, 1 p.m.
This is why these day-of-schedule-release predictions are silly. Who's quarterbacking the Redskins? Case Keenum? Colt McCoy? Josh Rosen? Dwayne Haskins? They have the potential to be a real mess early in the season as they try to figure everything out.
Week 5 (Oct. 6) - vs. Vikings, 1 p.m.
By now, it figures that the Giants' new-look offense will have figured things out, and they'd have the potential of scoring 25-30 points per game. Yes, really. But the Vikings' defense gets in the way here and stunts their momentum. Add in what's looming next and this is a very tough short stretch.
Week 6 (Oct. 10) - Thursday Night Football @ Patriots, 8:20 p.m.
A short week to prepare for Bill Belichick? OK. And by now, the Patriots will have shaken off their usual 1-2 start and endured everyone pronouncing them dead and they'll start to look like Super Bowl contenders again. I know the Giants often seem to have the Patriots' number. Not here.
Week 7 (Oct. 20) - vs. Cardinals, 1 p.m.
Unless the Mets are in the World Series at this point (and yes, I'm holding out hope), New York will be waking from its baseball slumber to see the Giants at 2-4. In other words: Panic! If the Giants have drafted a rookie quarterback, fans will be screaming for him. They'll be screaming for Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur to be fired, too. And then the Giants will beat Kyler Murray and the Cardinals and everything will be fine.
Week 8 (Oct. 27) - @ Lions, 1 p.m.
The Giants sure dodged a bullet by not hiring Matt Patricia, didn't they? Already there are reports that his players hated him last season. The Lions don't look particularly improved right now and Belichick's former assistants still don't have a great track record. So this looks like a winnable game for now.
Week 9 (Nov. 4) - Monday Night Football vs. Cowboys, 8:15 p.m.
A Giants team that has clawed its way back to .500 facing a Cowboys team that should be leading the division by now, at home with a raucous crowd that so desperately wants to believe the Giants are back! Sounds like the game where Manning melts down on national TV and everybody goes home disappointed … and late. Very, very late.
Week 10 (Nov. 10) - @ Jets, 1 p.m.
In past years when the Jets thought they were ready to take over the town, they'd end up getting slapped back to reality by the Giants. Probably not this time, though. Assuming Sam Darnold is everything most people think he is, the Jets suddenly look like the better team, with more dangerous offensive weapons and probably a better defense, too.
Week 11 - BYE
With a record of 4-6 at the bye, the Giants are staring at a terribly difficult final stretch, with what figures to be four games against playoff-bound teams. And they'll need to probably win five of them. That won't be easy.
Week 12 (Nov. 24) - @ Bears, 1 p.m.
I never thought the Bears were as good as they looked at times last season, and that proved to be true in the playoffs. They have a heck of a defense and Khalil Mack is tremendous, but winning at Soldier Field isn't that difficult. The Giants may be down, but this is the game that will give them hope.
Week 13 (Dec. 1), vs. Packers, 1 p.m.
A return home against the Packers in a must-win game to start December. They really better hope for lots and lots of wind and snow. Otherwise, if you buy the theory that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers spent years under achieving under Mike McCarthy, then by now they should be rolling again and the Giants won't have the defense to stop them.
Week 14 (Dec. 9) - Monday Night Football @ Eagles, 8:15 p.m.
And now it's really a must-win with the Giants at 5-7. The Eagles should be good again, competing with the Cowboys for the division title. And the Giants have had their issues in Philly and in prime time games. The combination won't be kind to them as their playoff hopes fizzle out.
Week 15 (Dec. 15) - vs. Dolphins, 1 p.m.
If only this game had come a little bit earlier. The Dolphins sure seem to be in full tank mode right now, and nobody knows who their quarterback is going to be at this point. But as they Tank for Tua in 2020, they have a team that might be lucky to win two or three games. This won't be one of them.
Week 16 (Dec. 22) - @ Redskins, 1 p.m.
If the Redskins were a mess early in the season - and I'd bet that they were - they surely will be a mess late. The quarterback problem is going to hover over them all season long. And if they've got a rookie, they'll have thrown him to the wolves by now.
Week 17 (Dec. 29) - vs. Eagles, 1 p.m.
How Giant-like would it be for them to have a disappointing season that ends on a high note, just enough to give some hope? Seems very Giant-like, and unless the Eagles have something to play for here, it's very possible. Also, this definitely could end up as the final game of Manning's career, since he's only signed through the end of this season. Or maybe he'll play so well down the stretch that the Giants will happily bring him back in 2020. Who knows?
WAY-TOO-EARLY PREDICTED FINAL RECORD: 8-8