Giants Have Tough Row to Hoe

No one could blame the Giants if they complained about their tough 2006 schedule. Not that they're moaning about it, mind you, but Big Blue has every right to. The Giants and Bengals boast the toughest schedules of any NFL teams, with New York's and Cincinnati's opponents having compiled a .543 winning percentage last year (139 wins, 117 losses).

The Giants will play eight games against 2005 playoff teams: two versus Washington and one each against Chicago, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Indianapolis and Jacksonville. The Seahawks, Buccaneers and Colts won their divisions last season.

"This challenging schedule will allow the New York Giants football team to compete and hopefully succeed at the highest level in the NFL," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Our goal is to be the best football team in the National Football League. In order to be the best, you have to play the best. And this schedule certainly provides us with the opportunity to do that."

The Giants schedule is highlighted by the opening Sunday night contest against the Colts. In addition to the Manning Bowl, the Giants have three nationally-televised road games and their first three-game homestand since 1983.

Other highlights of Big Blue's ‘06 sked include:

*The Giants will play just two of their first six games at home. After their season opener, they will play only one home game in the next six weeks. They will visit Philadelphia on Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. and defending NFC champion Seattle on Sept. 24 at 4:15 p.m. The following week – Oct. 1 – will be the Giants' bye. They return to action on Oct. 8 with a 1 p.m. home game against Washington before hitting the road for two more games: at Atlanta on Oct. 15 and then at Dallas for the Monday night game.

* New York will host Tampa Bay on Oct. 29, Houston on Nov. 5 and Chicago on Nov. 12. That will be the first time they will play three consecutive regular season home games since Sept. 26-Oct. 9, 1983, when the Giants hosted Green Bay, San Diego and Philadelphia, winning the first game before losing the next two.

*The Giants will play back-to-back road games three times. They will be at Philadelphia and Seattle on Sept. 17 and 24 and at Atlanta and Dallas on Oct. 15 and 23. The Giants will also make a rare road trip the week after a road Monday night game. They will play at Jacksonville on Monday night, Nov. 20, then at Tennessee the following Sunday. The last time the Giants were the visitors on Monday Night Football and then played a road game the following week was Nov. 30 and Dec. 6, 1998, when they were at San Francisco and Arizona.

Here's a quick glance at New York's 2006 foes:

Vs. Indianapolis: Sunday, Sept. 10, 8:15 p.m. NBC – Can young Eli outshine his MVP older brother? Or can he at least keep the Giants close?

At Philadelphia: Sunday, Sept. 17, 1 p.m. FOX – 19 of the last 21 season series have ended in sweeps, including New York's two victories last year.

At Seattle: Sunday, Sept. 24, 4:15 p.m. FOX – Think Jay Feely will be ready for this one? Giants return to scene of their most devastating loss in '05.

Bye Week: Sunday, Oct. 1

Vs. Washington: Sunday, Oct. 8, 1 p.m. FOX – Giants paid utmost tribute to late owner Wellington Mara with a 36-0 whitewashing of Skins at Giants Stadium last year.

At Atlanta: Sunday, Oct. 15, 1 p.m. FOX – Think 34-year-old Michael Strahan is looking forward to chasing Michael Vick around?

At Dallas: Monday, Oct. 23, 8:30 p.m. ESPN – Giants will be looking to make amends for heartbreaking overtime loss in Big D last season.

Vs. Tampa Bay: Sunday, Oct. 29, 1 p.m. FOX – Forget all the talk about the Manning Matchup, the Barber Bowl will be much more exciting to see.

Vs. Houston: Sunday, Nov. 5, 1 p.m. CBS – Former Giants OC/current Saints coach Sean Payton won't be the only one glad Houston passed on Reggie Bush this afternoon.

Vs. Chicago: Sunday, Nov. 12, 1 p.m. FOX – The Giants have never beaten the Bears in a regular season game in Giants Stadium, losing in 1977 (12-9 in overtime), 1995 (27-24) and 2004 (28-21).

At Jacksonville: Monday, Nov. 20, 8:30 p.m. ESPN – Can't imagine the Jags faithful are going to be any happier to see Tom Coughlin than the Giants players were two-and-a-half years ago.

At Tennessee: Sunday, Nov. 26, 1 p.m. FOX – The Giants have dropped three straight against the Titans, including when they last visited Nashville on Oct. 1, 2000 and dropped a 28-14 decision.

Vs. Dallas: Sunday, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. FOX – Is there anyone that honestly thinks this won't be Tuna's last game at the Meadowlands?

At Carolina: Sunday, Dec. 10, 1 p.m. FOX – New York still looking for payback from postseason whipping – or at least looking to score against the Panthers.

Vs. Philadelphia: Sunday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m. FOX – Somehow this one just seems like it's going to be trouble for Big Blue – even seven months in advance.

Vs. New Orleans: Sunday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m. FOX – Boy are the Giants going to wish Houston had drafted Reggie Bush this Christmas Eve.

At Washington: Saturday, Dec. 30, 8 p.m. NFL NETWORK – Giants looking to wrap up another division crown in second straight Saturday night road finale.

Note: The kickoff times for five of the Giants' second-half games will be determined later in the season because of the advent of the NFL's new flexible scheduling policy. Those five games are currently listed as 1 p.m. starts: Nov. 12 vs. Chicago, Nov. 26 at Tennessee, Dec. 3 vs. Dallas, Dec. 10 at Carolina and Dec. 17 vs. Philadelphia. The Dec. 24 home game vs. New Orleans and the prime time games at Jacksonville and Washington are not affected.

The Giants Beat Top Stories