Yesterday night, the NFL released their entire schedule for the 2021 NFL season. Each team will play 17 regular season games this year, with a week taken off of the preseason to balance the schedule out. The regular season begins the weekend of September 19th - 13th, with the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicking off against the Dallas Cowboys.

Who cares about that, though. Let's talk Giants! Here are five games I believe the Giants will HAVE to win in order to compete for the NFC East. Now, let me clarify, these games won't necessarily be layups, but rather pivotal games that I believe could go either way. Let's get to it.

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1. Week 3 @ Atlanta Falcons

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A weak first pick? Maybe, but here's why I did it. This is a measuring stick to see where the franchise is right off the bat. This game should be a layup for you, and based on your schedule to begin the season, you should be leaving this game a minimum of 2-1. If you struggle against the Atlanta Falcons, to whom I mean no disrespect, you're not as far along in the rebuild as you should be.


2. Week 7 vs. Carolina Panthers

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With the Sam Darnold-Robby Anderson connection still untested, it's too soon to know what the Panthers will be. No matter what they can do with Matt Rhule, the Panthers are in a similar situation of finding their identity for the long-term.

But Christian McCaffrey vs. Saquon Barkley...YES PLEASE.


3. Week 9 vs. Las Vegas Raiders

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Three words. Not today, Levack.


4. Week 14 @ Los Angeles Chargers

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This will be a battle of two young quarterbacks, standing behind improved offensive lines. The Chargers added through the draft, with LT Rashawn Slater joining the group. The Giants sported a much improved O-line a season ago, and have continued to add pieces through free agency. I am also intrigued to see how Asante Samuel Jr. fits in with a strong Chargers secondary.


5. Week 17 vs. Washington Football Team 

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Given the uncertainty of the NFC East, we are likely to see another season that comes down to Week (now) 18 in order to decide the division. The Cowboys bring the names and the bright, flashing lights on their roster, but WFT brings a gritty mentality and a unique style of play. This is a rivalry that has started to re-ignite over the last season or two, and will continue to grow this year.

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