By Michael Stewart
Introduction: The 1-8 Giants will host the 6-3 Chiefs this coming Sunday at Met Life Stadium. Since their bye week the Giants defense has surrendered 82 points in 2 games and now must face a well rested Chief team coming off their bye week. Offensively currently ranked 5th, the Chiefs are lead by quarterback Alex Smith (2444 passing yards/18 touchdowns and only 1 interception), rookie running back Kareem Hunt (800 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns), tight end Travis Kelce (51/629/5) and Tyreek Hill (40/617/4). On defense, the Chiefs are ranked 30th overall, just one spot ahead the Giants defense. They really don’t have any high profile player on defense (with the exception of linebacker Justin Houston) as they are winning games on the offensive side of the ball with an explosive offense averaging 28.1 points per game. The Giants are struggling on both sides of the ball and will have a major challenge against this Chiefs team.
Top 3 Matchups:
- QB Alex Smith-vs-The Giants defense: Smith is having a solid season (league leading 113.9 passer rating) and the Giants defense must find a way to play to their potential of 2016. There is no margin for error here as Smith will utilize all his weapons and use rookie running back Kareem Hunt as a weapon and a decoy on play action.
- Giant’s special teams-vs-Chief’s special teams: This is the first time this season that I’ve listed special teams as a key matchup and with good reason. The Chiefs have several weapons on special team that could impact this game. Akeem Hunt is averaging 26.2 per kickoff return, De’Anthony Thomas is averaging 22.9 per kickoff return and Tyreek Hill is averaging 10.1 per punt return with a touchdown. The Giants special teams are surrendering 23.1 on kickoffs and 12.9 punt returns. Giant’s punter Brad Wing needs to have a solid game as he will most likely have many opportunities to punt in this game. Wing has 8 punts inside the 20 and he needs to add to that total on Sunday to give the Chiefs bad field position.
- Giant’s offense-vs-Chiefs defense: Despite the Giants lack of an offense for the most part this season; they will be facing a Chief’s defense that gives up a ton of yards (131.1 per game) and can be scored upon (surrendering 26 per game in their last five road games). Eli Manning and the Giants offense must sustain longer drives and keep the Chief’s defense on the field longer than they would like. The best way to do this is by running ball and commit to it. This will obviously keep the Chiefs offense off the field more; which would limit their scoring chances.
What to look for: Look for the Giants to run the ball to establish a running game; which could open up the passing game and eat up the clock. Their commitment to the run is vital as the Chiefs defense is ranked 29th against the run. On defense, the Giants must find a way to keep the Chiefs high powered offense from taking over the game; which includes big plays. The Giants have given up big plays all season, but more recently over the last two losses since their bye week. Many Giants on the defensive side of the ball need to step up and have a big game. For the Chiefs offensively, Alex Smith will throw everything at the Giants with rookie running back Kareem Hunt as their featured weapon. Smith will stretch the field and go deep on the secondary that’ve been vulnerable in that department lately. On defense, the Chiefs just need to keep the play in front of them and not give the Giants easy plays for long yardage. The bend but not break mentality will prevent this game from being a shootout.
Final Score Summary: It’s hard to imagine, but the Giants look worse in the last two games since their bye week than they have in the seven games prior to the break. Facing the Chiefs who have something to play for and have talent will be extremely difficult and to expect this team to suddenly play inspiring defense and put points on the board is a lot to ask. This game has all the makings of a blowout for the Chiefs (similar to the Rams lost) or a shootout; with both team scoring 30+ points. I want to believe that the Giants will show enough pride in this game and give the effort expected; and perhaps they will. Maybe at this point that’s a lot to ask based on their performance over the last two games. The current point spread is around +11 Chiefs and with all the negativity surrounding this Giants team right now; and the fact that they are playing a much better team. I’d take the points. Look for the Giants to continue their losing ways and inch closer to the 1st overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Chiefs 42/Giants 17