Giants’ soft late-season schedule offers chance to show they’re making progress

The Giants’ schedule softens now after Monday night’s 37-18 loss to the first-place Dallas Cowboys, and that brings both optimism and pressure for Pat Shurmur’s team to perform  Next Sunday’s clash with the despicable Jets (1-7), for example, sets up seemingly as the perfect Big Blue remedy to restore some good feeling heading into a Week 11 bye Advertisement  However, losing to the Jets or even sleepwalking through an ugly win would make the bad taste in the Giants’ mouths even worse  Four of their final seven opponents are in last place in their division or tied for last by record: the Jets (1-7), Bears (3-5), Dolphins (1-7) and Washington (1-8)  The seven opponents’ combined record (23-27, 38.3 win %) is considerably worse than the teams the Giants have faced through their first nine games (39-35-2, 51 3 win %).  So the Giants (2-7) will have a chance to string together some wins, but just like Monday night’s second test against Dallas (5-3), the opportunity will mean nothing if they don’t take advantage  “Everything we want is still out there,” Saquon Barkley said Friday. “Our goal and every team’s goal is to go to the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl Is that still out there for us? Yes, it is, and even though everyone wants to say what they want to say about our team, we understand everything that we want is still there  “We’re not focused (Monday) to have this game, win, and then go compete for the NFC East,” he added “You can’t go compete for the NFC East if you don’t just focus on tomorrow, and that’s another day to practice, get better, and prepare yourself for Sunday ”  Here is a look at the second-half schedule that sets up favorably for the Giants to hopefully build a better feeling entering 2020, having finished 5-11 last season and started this fall at 2-7 All are 1 p.m. Sunday starts except Week 14 Monday Night Football in Philly. Week 10: at Jets (1-7)  The Jets are such a hot mess that the Giants are actually favored by one-and-half-points in this game, despite being losing their fifth straight Monday night to the Cowboys Everyone in New York has been looking forward to Daniel Jones vs. Sam Darnold, Volume One — and now to Leonard Williams’ revenge — but the Jets are so pathetic after losing to the tanking Miami Dolphins that it’s hard to muster the same enthusiasm  The Giants can’t lose this game, though. The only thing going for them from a public relations standpoint is that the Jets are a bigger mess Laying an egg here could send them into the bye week on a six-game losing streak wearing a dunce cap on the back pages Week 11: BYE WEEK Week 12: at Chicago Bears (3-5)  The Bears offense is truly broken with QB Mitchell Trubisky floundering, and even their once-feared defense is letting down Chicago still has a much more talented roster on paper, but Matt Nagy’s club has lost four straight and is vulnerable For the Giants to continue demonstrating progress, Daniel Jones and Big Blue need to keep games like this close and win a fair percentage of them Week 13: vs. Green Bay Packers (7-2)  Aaron Rodgers’ squad made Las Vegas a lot of money on Sunday by losing in a surprisingly one-sided upset to the host L A. Chargers. This visit from Matt Lafleur’s Packers will be humbling for the Giants, however, if the secondary doesn’t clean up its major miscues leading to explosive plays week in and week out Week 14: at Philadelphia Eagles (5-4), Monday Night Football  The Eagles’ secondary is terrible Jones should throw for three touchdown passes in each game against Philly. Carson Wentz and the division rival Eagles haven’t exactly clicked on offense, either This is a beatable Doug Pederson team. If the Giants are in fact improving through the season’s second half, they should split their two remaining meetings with the Super Bowl LII champs from 2017 Week 15: vs. Miami Dolphins (1-7) Brian Flores’ team is playing hard, but the organization’s personnel decisions have the Dolphins tanking (intentionally set up to fail) to get a high draft pick and to accumulate more draft assets along the way Ryan Fitzpatrick can sling it but also will put the ball up for grabs. Again, like facing the Jets, the Giants have a major opportunity here to get a win — but losing to Miami could be catastrophic Week 16: at Washington (1-8)  Rookie QB Dwayne Haskins was unprepared and overwhelmed when he replaced Case Keenum in his Week 4 debut against the Giants By Week 16, we’ll see if Haskins is capable of exacting revenge on the Giants, who passed over him in April’s draft and picked on him in their first meeting Advertisement Week 17: vs. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)  Jones’ progress and the Giants’ results leading up to their regular season finale will determine just how big this game is for the organization It will be important no matter what for Shurmur’s club to demonstrate it’s headed in the right direction, which is ownership’s mandate But if the Giants have regressed, lost more games to bottom-feeders and slipped further into irrelevance, more could be on the line here than just a win or a loss

About the Author: Garret Beatty

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