This Sunday’s matchup between the New York Giants (3–0) and the Kansas City Chiefs (0–3) pits two teams that seem to be heading in opposite directions.
New York is surging, coming off an impressive 24–0 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs are on life support, after a battering 31–14 loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, and playing for pride three weeks into season.
Against Tampa Bay, the Giants front seven controlled the trenches and limited them to a mere 28 yards rushing. The Bucs quarterbacks were also under pressure the entire day, throwing for 58 yards and leading them to only 5 first downs total.
Conversely, against the Eagles, the Chiefs’ defense was sliced for 327 yards through the air by backup quarterback Kevin Kolb and failed to get a sack.
Things won’t get easier for the Chiefs as they’ll face one of the best offenses in the NFL for a second week in a row.
Eli Manning is ranked third in the NFL with a 104.1 quarterback rating, behind only Drew Brees and elder brother Peyton. Coupled with Manning’s proficiency, the Giants are averaging 252 passing yards per game and 142 rushing yards. Those numbers don’t bode well for Kansas City.
Making matters worse for Kansas City is the fact that General Manager Scott Pioli switched their defense from a 4–3 to a 3–4 this year, but failed to acquire personnel that fit the scheme. The Chiefs best linemen, Glenn Dorsey and Tamba Hali, are undersized for a 3–4 and aren’t able to match up against bigger offensive linemen. The rest of their defensive tackles barely break 300 pounds. That translates into fewer quarterback pressures and added stress on the secondary, as well as poorer run defense.
Football is all about the battle of the trenches, and when the Giants defense takes the field the Chiefs could be in trouble for that same reason.
So far this year, KC’s offense has given up 8 sacks and been hampered by 19 penalties. Because he plays under duress, quarterback Matt Cassel is prone to taking a lot of sacks and doesn’t seem to have much time to connect with his receivers, especially Dwayne Bowe. The Chiefs are also terrible on third-down conversions this year, succeeding on only 7 out of 36.
Despite all the signs pointing in the Giants' favor, head coach Tom Coughlin refuses to take Kansas City lightly, “You are talking about a franchise that has a great fan base, great tradition. They have done some really good things. New coach working his tail off trying to get his team to where he knows exactly what he has.
“We are concerned about our team and getting our team ready to play and being at our best and improving in the areas that we need to improve on.”
Granted, on any given Sunday any team could win. But if there are no surprises in this game, the Giants should win this one.