Unless you are Davis Webb, the announcement of the Giants’ preseason opponents isn’t likely to trigger much of a rise out of you. But the prelude to the release of the regular-season schedule (which should be unveiled later this month) took place on Wednesday and will include the Browns, Lions, Jets and Patriots.
Facing the Browns in Week 1 and the Jets in Week 3 – both at MetLife Stadium – means that unless there is a trade, the Giants likely will get a chance to see each of the top four draft picks (including their own at No. 2). It’ll be a good chance to compare and contrast who got the best of those first four picks. The Lions game will pit first-year coach Pat Shurmur against Lions first-year coach Matt Patricia, who interviewed for the Giants’ job over the winter. And the Patriots game on Aug. 30 MetLife Stadium, could give new Giants left tackle Nate Solder a chance to face his former team.
The dates and times of those games have yet to be finalized.
Shurmur also had left open the door for joint practices this summer, and the Browns and Lions would seem to be the teams that match up for that relationship. The Browns may come to New Jersey for a few days prior to the preseason opener, but a more likely scenario would be the Giants spending the days prior to their game against the Lions practicing with them in Detroit (or Allen Park, where the Lions hold training camp).
As for who will actually play in those games, that remains to be seen. Former head coach Ben McAdoo held Eli Manning out of most of the preseason action for the past two years, and it’s unclear what philosophy Shurmur will have. In all likelihood, he’ll want to get a good look at Webb in game action – even if it is preseason game action – to get a feel for how much he has progressed since his rookie season. Webb has not thrown a pass in a competitive situation against another team since the preseason finale in Foxborough against the Patriots last year.
Also, it is unlikely that Odell Beckham Jr. will see much action, if any, in the four preseason slates. Even if Beckham is with the Giants for the preseason and not holding out over a contract extension (as many believe he will be), the fact that he will be coming off ankle surgery should preclude him from playing in those games. Shurmur said last month that Beckham is progressing well and is expected to be ready by the opener in September. It was a hit against the Browns last preseason that initially injured Beckham’s ankle and forced him to miss the 2017 opener.