Giants, Bengals face tough schedules

Having a favorable schedule is huge in the NFL. John Clayton looks at the numbers and says the Giants and Bengals could be in trouble.

Updated: September 5, 2006, 1:56 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Coaches babble the cliché "play the hand you're dealt" almost as often as they give the "one game at a time" speech.

It's the mission of coaches to make sure players focus on the upcoming game. Players can't get lost in the big picture. What coaches of teams playing easy schedules don't want is for their players to become overconfident and complacent. On the flip side, they don't want players nervous and apprehensive about tough schedules.

Regardless of the cliché, one axiom is clear: ...

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