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5 Games That Will Define New York Giants’ 2014 Season

5 Games That Will Define New York Giants' 2014 Season

Tom Coughlin Giants
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are coming off a lackluster 2013 season with some people beginning to question if the combination of Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin is at the end of its line. The Giants can put those concerns to rest if they take care of business throughout the regular season when it matters most. Here are five games that will define the Giants' 2014 season.

5. Week 1 @ Detroit Lions

New York Giants vs Detroit Lions
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

5. Week 1 @ Detroit Lions

New York Giants vs Detroit Lions
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants started last season very poorly, opening 0-6. They cannot afford to get off to a start like that again. Playing against a Lions team that is expected to fight for a playoff spot as well makes this an important game. The Giants cannot afford to lose many games in-conference if they are to make the playoffs. This will also be the first true look of the Giants' new offense, which has left plenty to be desired in the preseason thus far.

4. Week 11 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick and Eli Manning
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. Week 11 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick and Eli Manning
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is the third game in grueling stretch of games for the Giants. After the bye, they are home against the Indianapolis Colts, visit the defending champion Seattle Seahawks and then host the 49ers. This game will test the toughness and fortitude of a Giants team that could be riding a losing streak heading into the matchup. This is yet another game that should impact the NFC playoff picture immensely.

3. Week 4 @ Washington Redskins

New York Giants vs Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

3. Week 4 @ Washington Redskins

New York Giants vs Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

This is the Giants' lone Thursday game of the season, and will start a stretch of three out of four games on the road. What makes it even more intriguing is that all of the road games are against the NFC East, meaning the Giants get all of their divisional road games out of the way before their Week 8 bye. It would be nice for the Giants to get a victory to start off arguably the toughest stretch of their season.

2. Week 7 @ Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

2. Week 7 @ Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

This is the last game for the Giants heading into the bye week. Gaining some momentum into the bye week with the tough stretch the Giants face after it would be good for the team in the long run. Rivalry games are always intense, and getting a win in division on the road would be huge. It also is the last division road game the Giants will play all season. That stretch of games could set up the Giants for the remainder of the season.

1. Week 17 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

1. Week 17 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

For three-consecutive seasons, the NFC East has been decided the last week in the season. That means this game could very well be for the 2014 NFC East title. There is a good chance this game could also decide the playoff fate of either team, as both are expected to be closer to the pack than the elite teams. Nothing says "season defining" more than a winner-take-all game for a playoff spot.

Kenneth Teape is a New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @teapester725, or join his Google network.