The New York Giants have been rewarded for their Super Bowl title with what looks to be the NFL's toughest schedule. The G-Men's opponents combined for a .547 winning percentage last season, and that includes disappointing seasons from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers, who should both be improved this year.
As Sports Illustrated's Don Banks asserts in his 2012 NFL schedule snap judgments, the Giants' schedule is brutal.
Good luck to the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. Lord knows they're going to need it. You can't project these things accurately, of course, but New York's schedule looks brutal at first glance.
Not only does Tom Coughlin's team have rematches with all three teams it beat in the NFC playoffs -- Week 6 at San Francisco, Week 12 at home against the Packers, Week 15 at Atlanta -- but also New York faces four other playoff clubs from a year ago: Week 9 vs. the Steelers, Week 10 at Cincinnati, Week 14 vs. the Saints, and Week 16 at the Ravens.
On top of that, you can mix in a tough trip to ascending Carolina in Week 3, two games against Robert Griffin III and a Redskins team that swept the Giants last year, and then the four annual knock-down, drag-out games New York seems to have with NFC East foes Philadelphia and Dallas.
Want more? The Giants play three of their first four games in prime time, don't get their bye until Week 11, and become the first team in NFL history to play on a Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and Monday night in the same season.
Enjoy that defense of your Super Bowl title, G-men. If you go back-to-back, you're going to earn it maybe more so than any other champion in recent memory.