Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Monday, October 22, 2012
On the Giants and the 'tough schedule'

By Dan Graziano

This is why I can never get into the whole idea of analyzing schedule strength before the NFL season even starts: We don't know which teams are going to be good. Did anybody think, before this season started, that the Minnesota Vikings was going to be a tough game? The New Orleans Saints a super-soft defense?

So back before the season, when I predicted a 12-4 record and a repeat division title for the New York Giants, I found it hard to respond to those who were saying, "Impossible! Have you seen their schedule?" because I couldn't reasonably make any judgments about the schedule. No one could.

It's happening still. The Giants stand at 5-2 and in control of the NFC East, and I'm still hearing people fretting about this brutal schedule yet to come. Thing is, though, I've looked at it. And it doesn't look so brutal.

The Giants have nine games left. Of those nine, exactly three are against teams that currently have winning records, and not one of those comes before Thanksgiving. They have the 4-3 Green Bay Packers at home in Week 12, the 6-0 Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta in Week 15, and the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore in Week 16. So not only do they only have three games left against teams that currently have winning records, they have exactly one game left against a team whose record is currently better than theirs.

I'm not saying it's going to be a cakewalk, that the Saints or the Philadelphia Eagles won't be playing much better in December than they have so far, or that intradivision trips to the Dallas Cowboys or the Washington Redskins should count as easy games. All I'm saying is that perspective is an important thing. And while there might be a few teams on the Giants' schedule that looked or still do look like tough opponents to you, it's useful to remember that the Giants look like the "tough" part of those teams' schedules too.