The New York Giants will set out to defend their Super Bowl championship this fall, and as the just-released NFL schedule shows, it appears that Tom Coughlin’s team will have a chance to ease into the season.
After opening against Dallas on Opening Night, New York’s next four opponents all missed the playoffs in 2011 (with a combined 22-42 record). On paper it certainly looks like the Giants should be able to get off to a strong start in their Super Bowl defense – which would be advisable, since the schedule gets much more difficult in a hurry (starting with a Week 6 rematch of the 2011 NFC title game, in San Francisco).
Here’s a look at how Super Bowl champions over the past decade have started the following season. Half of those winners picked up right where they had left off the year before, while the other half struggled to find solid footing.
2004 New England Patriots (12-1; 14-2 / W Super Bowl)
There was very little doubt throughout the 2004 season as t...