Ray, a dear friend of mine, also a crazy Giants fan and a former boss of mine when we worked together many years ago, always has some keen insights into football in general and the Giants in particular. We worked at the same company about 25 years ago, each went our separate ways professionally, but have kept in touch and remained friends ever since. We occasionally have long email exchanges about the Giants and push each other into analyzing and understanding the game better than either of us did before. He sent me an email a while ago, right after the NFL published the schedule for 2009, in which he had some really good insights into the Giants 2009 schedule. I have copy and pasted the email below (with only trivial changes and an editorial comment) because he makes some really good points. Here it is:
Can't resist a few comments on the schedule...
First, Giants surely lead the league in away games played on (or near) the banks of the Mississippi with three (Minnesota, Kansas City, New Orleans). Though to be completely honest, to count KC as on the Mississippi is a bit of a stretch. But that does lead to a point - there is only one game which requires travel west of that point - the Thanksgiving day game in Denver. So, for the second year in a row (or, if memory serves me, maybe even the third, though Giants did go to London that year), there is no west coast trip. And that will probably not be true for our NFC East rivals, because the Giants were fortunate enough to get both San Diego and Oakland at home. So it could be a small advantage. (Editor's note: all the east coast NFC teams have at least one west coast trip. Tampa Bay goes to Seattle, Atlanta goes to San Francisco and Carolina goes to Arizona. Within the NFC East it works out even better, because both the Redskins and the Eagles have two west coast trips: to Oakland and San Diego. Cowboys get Oakland and San Diego at home, but Dallas is of course situated centrally in the country and a west coast trip is not a burden for them. This aspect of the schedule is probably optimal for the Giants.)
Also, the bye week comes well into the season for the Giants - I always thought that was more helpful than having it early.
I also really like the Giants November/early December schedule. Giants have the bye in week 10 before playing two games in 5 days (Atlanta at home and at Denver on Thanksgiving). Then after playing Thanksgiving night at Denver, they have another nice break before playing two straight home division games (Cowboys and Eagles).
But I am also really tired of late season games against Minnesota. In fact, I'm tired of playing them at all. Seems like Giants do so every year.
---Thanks for the insights Ray.