When: Sunday, Sept. 29th
Time: Noon, CT
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo
TV Broadcast: FOX: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Erin Andrews (Field reporter). NFL Red Zone; DirecTV – 710.
Radio Broadcast: Over 60 radio stations on the Chiefs Radio Network; Mitch Holthus, Len Dawson, Kendall Gammon, commentators, Chiefs Spanish Radio: La Gran D (1340 AM); Play-by-Play: Enrique Morales - Color Commentator: Oscar Monterroso - Sideline Reporter: Ricardo Soto
SIRIUS: 139 (NYG), 91 (KC). XM: 229 (KC).
The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL for the last six seasons while their opponent this week, the New York Giants, have won two Super Bowls and have played in some of the most memorable games in the league during the same span. Yet, when the two teams kickoff on Sunday at Arrowhead, it will be the Chiefs striving to remain undefeated and the Giants trying to salvage their season by getting their first win.
What the heck is going on??
For the Chiefs, it’s simply a matter of coaching. To be blunt, the Chiefs haven’t had a good head coach since Dick Vermeil was still motivated a decade ago. Herm Edwards might have been a good coach eventually, but Chiefs owner Clark Hunt cut him off at the knees two years into Edwards’ youth movement.
But now the Chiefs have Andy Reid as their main man and the results couldn’t be more apparent. (This is the moment when Philadelphia Eagles fans and NFC East fans chime in with their “Wait until there’s a BIG game and Reid will screw it up! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!” Hate to break it to ya, guys and gals, but KC fans will take our chances since we’ve rarely HAD a big game in the last decade.) Reid has a plan and works harder than anyone else to keep his team focused on the task at hand. This week, it’s nice to know that Reid’s teams have won 7 of the last 9 contests against the Giants.
For the Giants, they already have a coach that eventually could end up in the Hall-of-Fame in Tom Coughlin and he didn’t suddenly get stupid overnight. So it’s not coaching that is holding New York back. The Giants are suffering from a boatload of injuries, age at key positions, personnel miscalculations, sub-par years from Pro Bowl-quality veterans, and may just be going through “one of those years” that even the best teams go through occasionally.
It has been popular this week to paint the Giants as a “wounded animal” that is at its most dangerous when cornered, so the Chiefs better watch out. But the truth is, a wounded gazelle with only one good leg isn’t going to outrun a lion on the plains of Africa.
The Giants offensive line is practically holding tryouts in the parking lot to find healthy bodies to play Sunday. Their secondary is in a shambles, and the linebacking corps are vastly underachieving. Take away those three “legs”, with the Chiefs defense – and LB Justin Houston in particular – playing like a VERY hungry pack of lions makes this week’s game a potential blowout.
The Chiefs’ last two victims, Dallas and Philadelphia, played the Chiefs with relatively healthy offensive units and neither could score more than 16 points. Basically the Giants have QB Eli Manning who is talented, but turning the ball over far too often, and wide receiver Victor Cruz, who is one of the best receivers in the NFL. That’s not going to be enough to beat Reid and his squad inside a CRAZY Arrowhead Stadium packed with red-clad fans wanting to see their team go 4-0 for only the third time in franchise history.
Here are three things Chiefs fans should be watching for Sunday if the Chiefs are going to stay undefeated:
- Alex Smith? Time to go deep, dude!! I won’t bore you with the stat-geek talk, but Smith is waaaaaay out in the lead for NFL quarterbacks on throws under 10 yards in the air. Well, since this is a negative stat, maybe I shouldn’t say “lead” in this situation? The Giants are having trouble rushing the passer with just their four D-linemen which means Smith should get a couple more seconds in the pocket to throw the ball. The Chiefs really need him to at least attempt a few more throws downfield. If nothing else, even if he doesn’t complete them, it will make the linebackers and safeties respect the throw instead of crowding the line for Jamaal Charles. Smith is a wonderful game manager and one of the smartest QBs in the game, but fans can already see what some of the complaints are about him not taking chances downfield. It would be nice to see Bowe, Avery, and Fasano (if healthy) catching a few 20 yarders from time to time.
- Keep Eli on his back. The easiest stat to understand about this game is that Eli Manning has been sacked 11 times this year and eight of the 11 have come from the side of the defense where Justin Houston plays. Look for KC defensive coordinator Bob Sutton to deliver a ton of new looks defensively for the Giants inexperienced and patchwork O-line. Like all the Manning brothers, Eli can be breathtakingly amazing from time to time at QB, but he’s like a statue in the backfield. Apparently the Giants have discussed instituting a no-huddle offense to shake things up, but the Chiefs just played the Eagles last week and it doesn’t get any more “no-huddle” than that. Fans need to be calm in most of their expectations for a team that only had 27 sacks last year total, but they have 15 already in just three games and it will actually be a disappointment if KC doesn’t have 4+ sacks this week when everything is taken into consideration.
- Have a halftime lead of 10 points or more. It would be nice if the Chiefs used the blueprint they used against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 and jumped all over the Giants in the first half of the game. Against the Jags, KC bulldozed its way to a 21-2 halftime lead, and with the exception of one fourth quarter drive, the Jags pretty much threw in the towel for the game. The Giants suffered one of their worst losses in their history last week, a 38-0 blowout at Carolina and if the offense and special teams can get a nice early lead, the defense and a home crowd should be able to make it stand. The best way to blow a game you should be winning is by letting a team stay within two scores into the second half.
Prediction: It’s wrong to feel this confident going into a game when the team only won two games the year before and was historically bad in every way. However, the Giants really are bringing a knife to a gun fight this week and if Kansas City is a serious playoff wanna-be, they will win this game. I predict the defense will give up a few big plays to Manning, Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, the other Giants WR, but Jamaal Charles and the offense have their best game of the season and the Chiefs send their fans home happy.
Chiefs – 28, Giants - 17
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