Let's break down some of the match-ups as the 0-3 New York Giants get set to travel to Arrowhead Stadium Sunday to face the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs. To be honest, this does not set up well for the Giants at all.
When The Giants Have The Ball
On paper, this looks like a mismatch. The numbers are stark, and none of them are good for the Giants.
The Giants have turned the ball over 13 times. They have allowed quarterback Eli Manning to be sacked 11 times (seven last week), and only three quarterbacks have been hit more than the 22 times Manning has so far. New York is last in the league with 133 rushing yards and 30th in yards per carry at 2.7. The Giants are a league-worst -9 in takeaway/giveaway ratio. The Giants are 30th in the league in time of possession at 26:00 per game.
Kansas City is second in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 11.3 points per game. The Chiefs lead the league with 15 quarterback sacks. Kansas City is +9 in takeaway/giveaway ratio. The Chiefs have allowed 309 yards per game, eighth in the league.
So, what are the Giants to do?
The Giants' offensive line has been a sieve so far in 2013, unable to run block or keep Manning from taking a beating when he tries to throw. In the Kansas City 3-4 defense, linebacker Justin Houston -- who has 7.5 sacks already in three games -- will likely line up over rookie right tackle Justin Pugh. Houston had 4.5 sacks last Sunday vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. The first-round pick has allowed two sacks and a team-worst 16 pressures. It stands to reason the Giants will have to help him. Chiefs' fans are so confident they have already penciled Houston in for his third straight AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor.
On the other side, franchise left tackle Will Beatty has been awful in two of three games. He will have to be better Sunday because the Giants will likely have to leave him to fend for himself.
In the middle of the line the Giants are a mess. Guard Chris Snee is trying to play through a painful hip injury, and not playing well. Center David Baas is back from a knee injury, but now has a neck injury. It is possible that neither Snee nor Baas will be available Sunday. Veteran David Diehl (thumb) is back to practice, but no one knows if he will be ready to contribute on Sunday.
The young trio of backup offensive linemen -- James Brewer, Brandon Mosley and Jim Cordle -- have one NFL start between them, a Week 1 start at guard by Brewer. It seems possible that two of them could be on the field Sunday.
The Giants' offense is predicated on the big play, and they have to find some way to give Manning time to find Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Reuben Randle down the field.
Houston isn't Kansas City's only quality defensive player. Nose tackle Dontari Poe already has 3.5 sacks and has become a force in the middle. Linebacker Derrick Johnson had more than 100 tackles each of the past two seasons. Cornerback Brandon Flowers and two-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry lead the secondary.
"He's (Houston) obviously off to a great start and his game against Philadelphia was just outstanding. Protection certainly has to be aware of where he is at all times and be in position if need be, you have to help, that's first and foremost. He presents an outstanding defense player, but in my experience if you get too carried away defending or protecting against one, you get bit in the tail somewhere along the line because they have many outstanding players," said Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin.
When The Chiefs Have The Ball
Giants' defenders have talked a lot about needing 'spark' plays on defense. They won't get help from Kansas City in creating them. The Chiefs have not committed a turnover yet this season and are +9 in turnover ratio. The Chiefs are not a high-powered offense, averaging 23.7 points, per game, but they don't have to be.
Quarterback Alex Smith, acquired via trade from the San Francisco 49ers, is 64-of-105 (61. percent) passing for 669 yards and four touchdowns. Smith has also added a running dimension to the Kansas City attack as he is their second-leading rusher with 23 carries for 114 yards (5.0 yards per carry).
Running back Jamaal Charles has three 1,000-yard rushing seasons to his credit. This season has has carried 52 times for 224 yards (4.3 yards per carry). Charles also has a team-high 18 pass receptions.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has only nine catches thus far, but had 81 just two seasons ago.
The Giants have only three quarterback sacks in three games, but will have to find a way to turn up the heat on the Kansas City offense. Corey Webster did not practice Wednesday or Thursday due to a hip injury, so Aaron Ross may have to start at cornerback for the second straight week.
For the Chiefs, Dexter McCluster is averaging 11.1 yards on 12 punt returns. Quinton Demps is averaging 39.3 yards on three kickoff returns.
For the Giants, punter Steve Weatherford is averagnbg 45.7 yards per punt but has not kicked the ball well the past two weeks. Placekicker Josh Brown missed a 37-yard field goal in the loss to the Panthers.
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