Where do I begin?
After a reprehensible and disgusting effort in Carolina last week, the Giants are a crossroads, and how they fare this week in Kansas City will ultimately define their season.
As the team tries to avoid going 0-3, they will visit an old friend in Andy Reid, who is turning around the fortunes of the Chiefs. He has them storming out of the gate at 3-0. The Chiefs defense is legit and they will present a stern test for the Giants on Sunday.
Here then, are five things to watch for on Sunday, in what has to be considered a must-win game.
Can Eli Manning survive playing behind this beaten down and battered line?
With the Giants down David Baas and Chris Snee and David Diehl not likely to return, the Giants awful offensive line, well, just got more offensive. Manning was like a human piñata last Sunday against the Panthers.
Whether it’s more max-protect packages, or what not, the Giants must do all in their power to keep Manning upright. If you just give him a chance, he can connect with his receivers and if this season is to be salvaged, Manning is going to have to lead us. So, come high or hell water, Manning has to be protected and given time to drop back in the pocket or it will be more of the same.
Will David Wilson get a chance?
While the Giants were getting punched in the face constantly last week, Wilson actually looked more confident with the ball. He had a brilliant run for a touchdown called back because of a holding penalty.
There is no nice way to sugarcoat it, the Giants rush attack is just flat-out awful. To keep the offense more balanced, the Giants are going to have to run Wilson loose. Hopefully it comes this week.
Can the Giants pressure Alex Smith?
While Tony Romo, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton (whom the Giants let throw all over them) are dynamic quarterbacks, if the Giants let Smith pass for more than 300 yards, then the Giants won’t likely win. They need to get pressure. Yeah, I know, it’s a familiar refrain, but it’s the key to staying in this game.
While Jamaal Charles can beat you (we’ll discuss that below), the Giants must rattle and take Smith out of his rhythm for their to be a chance at victory for the Giants. Bottom line, don’t let Smith beat you. They did well last year taking him out of the game when he was with the 49ers. Let’s see if they go with a similar game plan this week.
What’s the plan to contain Jamaal Charles?
Like I said before, it would wise to pressure Smith and just let Charles do his thing. I mean, Charles is one of the more electrifying running backs in the game and he’ll likely get his numbers anyway.
It’s Smith and the so-so receiving corps of the Chiefs that the Giants should worry about. Let Charles run for his 100 yards. If the Giants can limit to Smith to less than 200 or so yards passing, there is a good chance they can sneak out winners.
Will there be any passion, fight and resolve in these Giants?
It’s been rehashed and lamented all week, and with Giants’ great Carl Banks calling out the team, will this team show any toughness and pick themselves up from the ground? If there is any remote chance of turning around the season, the Giants are going to show a lot of pride and fight to the last whistle.
There has to be no feeling sorry for yourselves. They have to dig down deep and show the same type of resolve that made them Super Bowl champs twice in the last six years. Losing is one thing, but quitting should not be tolerated.
Dan Stack | Featured Columnist