Could the New York Giants, who have openly talked about their desire to become the first team to play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium, actually fall to 0-4? Chances are pretty good that is exactly what is going to happen Sunday when they face the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium (1 p.m. ET/FOX).
The Giants are 4.5-point underdogs to the 3-0 Chiefs, who have already won more game under new coach Andy Reid than they did last season, when they finished 2-14. If it weren't for the fact that the Giants have a recent history of being pretty good and the Chiefs have a recent history of being awful the line would probably be bigger. [SB Nation NFL Odds Page]
Can the Giants go to Arrowhead today and come away with an unlikely victory? Sure they can. If you follow this confounding, mystifying, completely unpredictable team you know that it has a history of playing to the level of its competition -- losing games you think it should win and winning games when you think it has no business doing so.
Are the Giants capable of summoning the will to pull off one of those improbable victories today? That's a good question. Fomer Giants and current radio analyst Carl Banks said the Giants went down "without a fight" in their 38-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers last week, setting off a firestorm. Safety Antrel Rolle even agreed with Banks.
The Giants have spent the week promising a better effort. Can they deliver one? Over the past couple of seasons it seems we have heard this kind of brave talk from the Giants, without them being able to back it up, all too often.
Even if they play with more passion today are they good enough to go into Kansas City and win? The Giants are 3-8 in their last 11 games, with five of those losses having been blowouts.
The Giants, with few exceptions, are a collection of veteran players who have not been playing up to the names on the backs of their jerseys and young players who have yet to show they are worthy of the faith the organization has placed in them.
Maybe that will change. Maybe it won't. The Giants are running out of time. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 only one team, the 1992 San Diego Chargers, have made the playoffs following an 0-4 start. The Chargers actually went 11-5 that season and won a playoff game. The last 0-3 team to make the playoffs was the 1998 Buffalo Bills.
On paper, today's game does not look promising for the Giants. They have allowed 11 sacks of Eli Manning, seven last week, and will field a make-shift offensive line Sunday due to injuries. The Chiefs, led by 7.5 sacks from Justin Houston, lead the league with 15 quarterback sacks. The noise level at Arrowhead won't help the Giants' cause.
The Giants' propensity to turn the ball over (13 in three games) won't help, either. While the Giants are -9 in takeaway/giveaway ratio the Chiefs are +9 and have yet to commit a turnover.
Can the Giants find some way to turn things around today? I do believe there will be a better, more competitive effort, from them today. I can't, however, go so far as to say they will win.
Prediction: Chiefs 30, Giants 24