Giants (1-8) vs Chiefs (6-3)
City is coming off a bye week. The last game was played against the Dallas Cowboys.
It wasn't a good road trip for them, as they took a 28-17 loss going into the
The Giants had hoped to turn things
around. Their first game back from their bye was at home, and it was a disappointing
51-17 loss to the Rams. Last week they took a 31-21 loss
to the 49ers in San Francisco.
Giants - 49ers
Andy Reid was the head
coach of the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 years until he was fired after the final
game of the 2012 season, a 42-7 loss to the Giants. Reid was hired less than a
week later to coach the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that had finished with a 2-14
record. In his first year the schedule happened to have the Chiefs playing against
the four NFC East teams. The Chiefs won all of those games, and they closed out
the season with an 11-5 record and a wildcard slot. The game was in Indianapolis,
and they lost by just one point to the Colts, 45-44. Since then the Chiefs have
had 9-7, 11-5 and 12-4 seasons, won one wildcard game, and played in two consecutive
AFC Divisional games. Those divisional games were lost to the New England Patriots
27-20, and then last year to the Pittsburgh Steelers 18-16.
This year the
Chiefs got off to a great start at New England, defeating the defending Super
Bowl Patriots with a 42-27 win. They continued on to win the next four. The most
bothersome loss must have been their first, a game with the Steelers who had previously
knocked them out of the playoffs, and it broke their 5-0 win streak, That game
was followed by a one point loss to the Oakland Raiders who are vying for their
top spot in the division. They split the next two games and now have a 6-3 record
City Chiefs offense.
Smith is their quarterback, and he's been with the Chiefs as long as Andy Reid.
His near 70 percent completion percentage, and 8.3 average yards per pass, is
the highest since he's been their quarterback. Smith has thrown 18 touchdown passes,
and has had only one interception on the year. That one came on a fourth-and-eight
as they were trying to come back from an 11 point deficit to the Cowboys on their
next to last drive of the game. It ended his streak of 293 passes without an interception.
Smith has taken 24 sacks so far, which is actually high considering his mobility.
He was sacked 28 times last year in 15 regular season games.
line started out strong this year, but they have been hit with injuries, and shuffling
positions hasn't helped. Smith has felt the pressure, and also the run blocking
hasn't been the best. Running back Kareem Hunt's average of over 121 yards a game
in their opening game win streak has dropped to less than 48 since their loss
to Pittsburgh right after that. While it's true that the Chiefs have run the ball
less while taking three losses in four games, his average yards per carry dropped
from 6.2 yards to 3,2, and the Chiefs have converted on only 17 of 49 third downs.
Smith likes to throw to Hunt when he can, and his top leading receiver is actually
a tight end. Travis Kelce led the team in receptions and yards last year, and
he is doing the same now. Tyreek Hill is the next leading receiver with almost
as many yards as Kelce, and Hunt is next. Offensive linemen Mitch Morse and Laurent
Duvernay-Tardif should be back playing, and that would steady the line and present
a bigger problem for the Giants.
City Chiefs defense.
to last year they have slipped in most defensive areas, passing yards18th-28th,
rushing 26th-29th, and points 7th-19th. It hurt to lose veteran safety Eric Berry
in their season opener win over the New England Patriots. They still won the next
four, but the offense, some good red zone play, and key turnovers carried the
way while the defense gave up 22.2 points a game during the five-game win streak.
They have done worse since, giving up an average 24.3 points in the four games
before the bye. The pass rush has weakened in those games, generating just 5 compared
to 14 in the ones played earlier.
Outside linebacker Justin Houston can generate
sacks, and he has 7.5 on the year. It looked as though fellow linebacker Tamba
Hali would be playing in this game with him, and that would have helped. Hali
had come off the physically unable to perform list and was in the game with the
Cowboys before the bye, but he has just been ruled out. The secondary has eight
interceptions on the year, but had just one in their three losses. Cornerback
Marcus Peters, who last year had tied for second in the league with six interceptions,
currently leads his team with three.
Last week the 49ers knew they had
to stop Sterling Shepard, the most talented and experienced wide receiver the
Giants had on the field, but they couldn't. Shepard caught 11 passes on 13 targets
for 142 yards. Tight end Evan Engram was also in their sights, and he still caught
6 of 9, including 1 touchdown. Eli Manning doesn't have much time to throw, and
he has to be selective. Roger Lewis caught Manning's other touchdown pass, pulling
in 3 out of 4, and running backs Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa caught all six
that came their way. They ran the ball along with Wayne Gallman for over 100 yards.
So how could they lose the game? The offensive line has been a weak point
all year. Manning threw no interceptions, but was under a lot of pressure. He
took three sacks and fumbled the ball over on one of them while in scoring range.
Right tackle Justin Pugh left the game in the second half with a back injury,
and he was replaced by Bobby Hart. Pugh looks to be out for a while, and it looks
like rookie Chad Wheeler will make his first career start in his place. He'll
be up against the Chiefs best linebacker, Justin Houston. The only good news is
that the Chiefs have given some good yardage on running plays, and have had some
issues with missed tackles by linebackers Derrick Johnson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches,
and safety Daniel Sorensen.
defensive numbers don't look great at all. They are ranked 31st in the NFL, allowing
opponents an average of 400.3 yards per game while scoring an average of 26.4
points. Over the last two games the Giants have allowed 18 plays of at least 15
yards or more, and they were outscored 82-38. Up front it's hard to get by run
stopper Damon Harrison, who works along with Oliver Vernon and Jason Pierre Paul
to pressure the quarterback. Unfortunately, middle linebacker B.J. Goodson has
been ruled out for yet another game with an ankle injury.
Veteran Kelvin Sheppard,
who was recently signed and played last week in that spot, is listed as doubtful.
The unit will have to focus on Chief's Kareem
Hunt as they try to re-establish a sluggish running game while being mindful of
tight end Travis Kelce. They usually struggle against tight ends, and Kelce is
one of the best. It wouldn't hurt if the Giants secondary played up to their full
capabilities. That's something that's been a big issue of late.
It turns out that Andy Reid is 16-2 in his head coaching career coming off a bye
week. His only losses were in back to back years to the Atlanta Falcons and Denver
Broncos, who had a combined 16-1 record when he faced them. Also Reid's Chiefs
are 33-5 against teams that are .500 or less.
Head coach Ben McAdoo, his coaching
staff, and all players have had a lot to think about after losing their last two
games in the fashion that they did. There may have been some productive talk,
and the Giants may upset one or two teams this year, but it's hard to see it happening
this week against the Chiefs.
TeamGiants on Twitter.
Sunday at 1:00pm Chiefs (6-3)
at Giants (1-8)
Sunday at 1:00pm Redskins (4-5) at Saints (7-2)
8:30pm Eagles (8-1) at Cowboys (5-4)
The Eagles are the only NFC East team
favored to win in these games.
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Eli Manning will make his 209th consecutive regular-season start, putting him
second on the all-time NFL consecutive start list behind Brett Favre (297).
Giants Evan Engram can break the Giants rookie
tight end record by getting one more touchdown.
have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in all nine of their games this season.
Aldrick Rosas has missed a field goal attempt in four straight games.
Chiefs third round pick Kareem Hunt, who fumbled on his very first NFL carry this
season, was the first rookie in NFL history to top 100-plus all-purpose yards
in his first seven games.
Nov 23 Giants at Washington.
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Dec 3 Giants at Oakland.
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