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Giants' 2011 NFL Schedule: Finish Will Be 'Extremely Challenging'

My first reaction to the New York Giants’ 2011 schedule? This had better be another year when the Tom Coughlin-coached Giants get off to a fast start because the second half of the schedule is absolutely brutal.

Under Coughlin the Giants have a history of starting strong and fading toward the end of the season. Last season the Giants started 6-2, then went 4-4 the second half of the season to finish 10-6 and miss the playoffs. In 2009, they were 5-0 but went 3-8 to finish 8-8, also out of the playoffs. In 2008, the Giants started 11-1 and finished the regular season 12-4.

The Giants’ 2011 schedule features what right now appears to be a brutal final nine weeks. It breaks down like this:

Sunday, Sept. 11 — at Washington Redskins, 4:15 p.m. (FOX)
Monday, Sept. 19 — vs. St. Louis Rams (MNF), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Sept. 25 — at Philadelphia Eagles (FOX)
Sunday, Oct. 2 — at Arizona Cardinals (FOX)
Sunday, Oct. 9 — vs. Seattle Seahawks (FOX)
Sunday, Oct. 16 — vs. Buffalo Bills (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 23 — BYE
Sunday, Oct. 30 — vs. Miami Dolphins (CBS)
Sunday, Nov. 6 — at New England Patriots, 4:15 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Nov. 13 — at San Francisco 49ers, 4:15 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Nov. 20 — vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Nov. 28 — at New Orleans Saints, 8:30 p.m. ESPN)
Sunday, Dec. 4 — vs. Green Bay Packers, 4:15 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Dec. 11 — at Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Dec. 18 — vs. Washington Redskins, 1 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, Dec. 24 — at New York Jets, 1 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, Jan. 1 — vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Giants coach Tom Coughlin looked at the schedule and called the end of it “extremely challenging.”

No kidding. Beginning with a Nov. 6 visit to New England the Giants play four division games and four other games against teams that made the playoffs a season ago. Giants’ fans would realistically have to be happy with 5-4 over that stretch. Meaning a 5-2 start would be necessary to get to 10 wins, which wasn’t enough to make the playoffs in 2010.

The schedule also includes two Monday Night Football appearances (vs. St. Louis and New Orleans) and a Sunday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles.