coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/23/2013 07:41 PM in NFL

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs: Preview and Pick

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs: Preview and Pick

The New York Giants had high hopes entering this season. Those hopes of become nightmares as they have yet to get a win this season. To make matters worse they were just bruised and beat down by the Carolina Panthers. It could be worse as they now have to go and play the well-rested Kansas City Chiefs who have one of the best home field advantages in all of football.

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Chiefs listed as (-4.5) point favorites. After the poor outing against the Panthers, the New York Giants are getting no love whatsoever form the public. The early wagering is all on the Chiefs as they are getting 74 percent of the early football betting action. Although the Chiefs are getting the public look, the line has moved down and can now be found at (-4) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The reason for thegood play of the Chiefs is the improved play at quarterback. Alex Smith completed 21-31 for 258 yards on passes 10 yards or fewer downfield. Smith was 1-4 on passes further than 10 yards downfield. Since 2012, Alex Smith has thrown an interception on 1.5% of his pass attempts. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are the only quarterbacks with a lower percentage during that span. The Chiefs are getting good play at quarterback and the GInats are having trouble protecting their leader.
Eli Manning was sacked seven times on Sunday, the third-highest single-game total of his career and highest since Week 15 of 2008. Manning's 2.5 yards per drop back average was more than a yard worse than his single-game low since the start of 2008. They need to do better if they want to play with the Chiefs.

The NFL betting trends for this pivotal matchup between two teams looking for a win are negative for both teams. Kansas City is 1-7 straight up in their last 8 games when playing NY Giants and that includes a 0-5 against the spread (ATS) mark when it counts the most. Kansas City is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games at home and just 4-12 straight up in the last 16 games overall. While that is an ugly trend that is based on teams of the past for the Chiefs and not this year’s team. The total has gone under in 6 of Kansas City's last 7 games and the defense is paying much better.

New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/24/2013 02:41 PM

All the passion, anger and emotion that has been so clearly missing from the Giants the last few weeks came flowing out fast in the span of one 10-minute radio interview on Monday morning. Carl Banks unloaded on his old team, hit them as hard as he ever hit an opposing player.

If only some of that anger and emotion had come from a player currently on the team.

The Giants have talked for two weeks about needing a “spark,” needing to play with “passion,” but it took Banks, the great former Giants linebacker and the team’s current radio analyst, to show them how it’s done. Repeatedly during the broadcast of the Giants’ 38-0 loss in Carolina on Sunday he expressed his disgust at the “embarrassing” display he was watching. He sounded hurt and offended by the hanging heads he saw on the field.

Then on Monday, during his weekly spot with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on WFAN, he hit the 0-3 Giants again for a “disturbing” and “scary” performance, not to mention a complete “lack of pride.” He held nothing back, calling the game “the most disturbing thing I’ve ever experienced.” He even said what many were thinking — that maybe the Giants just aren’t as good as everyone thought.

“I think the most disturbing aspect of it is, in all my years being around the team, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team just not show emotion as they were just getting pummeled,” Banks said. “I don’t advocate fighting, but show some emotion. Show that you care that your quarterback was sacked six times in the first quarter. Show me. Push a guy. Tackle a guy. Do something other than just take it.

“They showed very little toughness at all. Just the pride that you have to have in not letting guys just punch you in the mouth, you get up and let them punch you in the mouth again and they just do it until the game is over with. There’s not one guy that showed emotion.

“And that’s scary. That really is scary.”

The criticism was harsh, to be sure. Banks even hinted at problems in the locker room when he said, “They don’t like each other. They’re not willing to fight for each other.” He later walked those comments back on Twitter, saying he wasn’t talking about the Giants’ chemistry. But whatever his target, the words were still stinging and strong.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/25/2013 03:13 PM

It was late at night, and he'd probably had a few, but Jerry Jones spoke for a lot of owners one night in 1993 when he said "any one of 500 coaches could have won" the two Super Bowls claimed by the Dallas Cowboys under coach Jimmy Johnson.

The obvious message was that this is a general manager's league, and that coaches don't really matter much in pro football.

It's an age-old debate. As I've said before, coaches probably aren't as important as we like to think we are. But a coach's role -- in setting both the tone in the locker room and the expectations for his players -- can be crucial when it comes to changing the fortunes of a team.

Exhibit A: the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year, the Chiefs had the worst season in their history; in fact, considering the Jovan Belcher tragedy, it was perhaps the worst season in any team's history.

Kansas City failed to hold a lead in any of its first nine games en route to a 2-14 finish. The home-field advantage of Arrowhead Stadium -- which, for much of the 1990s and 2000s, was considered one of the loudest, toughest venues for visitors to play in -- was reduced to a joke. All opponents had to do was force one three-and-out and the boos would start. Fans had grown impatient with the levels of football incompetence.

What a difference a year makes. Now, as we head into Week 4 of the 2013 NFL season, the Chiefs are one of seven undefeated teams in the league. New coach Andy Reid, brought over after 14 years with the Philadelphia Eagles, hasn't just changed the offense; he's changed the culture. Throughout training camp, Chiefs players marveled about Reid's remarkable attention to detail, his focus on teaching the small nuances of the game. Ceding many of the personnel duties he'd held in Philadelphia to new Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, Reid was free to do what he does best: coach football players. And the experience and authority he brought to the situation was decisive.

Players must know they are accountable to the head coach; the importance of that can't be overstated. Of course, the owner is obviously the ultimate authority on any team, because the money being spent is his, while in the age of the salary cap, the NFL is more of a general manager's league than ever before. Still, both owner and GM must give the head coach autonomy regarding game-day decisions and allow him to be vested in the larger personnel process; otherwise, the coach loses any chance of truly leading the team.

In recent years, former Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli -- in true New England style -- was the ultimate authority, and he made sure everyone knew it. As a result, former coaches Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel appeared emasculated in the eyes of their players. That is obviously not the case in Kansas City now.

Of course, teams also need good football players, and the Chiefs (who sent six players to the 2013 Pro Bowl) already had a few. One of the first things Reid and Dorsey did was trade for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, replacing the willing but overmatched Matt Cassel. Reid and Dorsey knew exactly what they were getting. Smith will not consistently hurt opponents with deep passes, but he's an above-average NFL quarterback who rarely panics, has superior decision-making skills and runs well enough to be a maddening nuisance to defenses. Smith also might be the purest "West Coast offense" quarterback Reid has ever coached. Consider this: Last year, after three games, the Chiefs had committed nine turnovers; this year, they've committed none (making them the first team since 1998 to begin the season with three straight turnover-free games).

And so good things are happening in Kansas City. We know that when things are going poorly, a team's inertia can spark divisiveness and complaining among players. But the opposite effect also exists: When a coach has established a record of success and his team has bought in, players often rise above personal grievances. The Chiefs' star receiver, Dwayne Bowe, wound up with one catch for 4 yards last Thursday after being double-covered for much of the contest. But he wasn't complaining about it on the sidelines, as Antonio Brown reportedly did during the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 2 defeat. Instead, Bowe stayed positive and helped the team. When the final gun went off, the smiling receiver was among the first players to congratulate Reid. That's not merely a sign of Bowe's increased maturity; it's evidence that the team's key players believe in their coach.

The defense, which had shown flashes of promise for years, seems to be maturing under new coordinator Bob Sutton, who has been able to get consistent pressure on quarterbacks without sending a bunch of extra defenders. There aren't many new faces on the unit; Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson is anchoring the middle, and safety Eric Berry is returning to his status as a game-changing safety. The secondary is stronger, with new additions Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson joining cornerback Brandon Flowers. Flowers is a battler; at 5-foot-9, he is sometimes vulnerable against tall receivers (Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant gave Flowers fits in Week 2), but he remains among the better pure cover corners in the league.

Justin Houston got most of the headlines after Reid's homecoming win in Philadelphia last Thursday, collecting 4.5 sacks. But the key to the defense has been the maturation of second-year nose tackle Dontari Poe. After losing 20 pounds during the offseason, the big defender now possesses a daunting combination of size and speed; he overpowers centers, eats up the interior run game and often gets inside pressure on the quarterback. Finally, Dustin Colquitt, the strong punter who went to his first Pro Bowl after the 2012 season, has consistently pinned opponents back. Chiefs opponents have begun 31 of their 40 drives this season (more than 77 percent) at or inside their own 20-yard line. Few opponents are going to be able to mount many drives of 80-plus yards against the Chiefs and their front seven this year.

Just how good is Kansas City? It's early, but if Jamaal Charles stays healthy, the Chiefs are going to be in nearly every game -- though the jury is still out as to how far into the playoffs Alex Smith can take a team. Still, over just one offseason, Kansas City has been transformed. The Chiefs might have a tough time overtaking the Denver Broncos in the AFC West, but -- with extra time to prepare for the struggling New York Giants in Week 4, followed by games against the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders -- they have a real chance of starting 6-0 and putting a great deal of pressure on Peyton Manning's squad.

Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs were a mistake-prone team whose players weren't sure where to look for guidance and leadership. They made foolish errors, gave the ball away indiscriminately and had a defense that often couldn't get off the field on third down. This year, the Chiefs have played mistake-free ball, they're confident in their quarterback and have a legitimately stout defense -- and they know to whom they're accountable. The roster consists of a lot of the same guys. But they're playing smarter, sounder football, and they find themselves in a position to win even when they don't play their best.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/26/2013 01:29 PM

History suggests that the Giants, 0-3 and off to their worst start since 1996, should be all but bereft of hope. Since 1990, when the current playoff format began, only 3 of the 115 teams to drop their first three games have reached the playoffs.

But the Giants are ignoring that daunting background as they prepare for Sunday’s game in Kansas City, Mo., against the resurgent Chiefs, who are 3-0 in their first season under Coach Andy Reid. Giants Coach Tom Coughlin declined to characterize his team’s visit to Arrowhead Stadium as a must-win situation.

“It’s a long season,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve played three games, and we have a lot of games to go. Certainly, we want to win. That’s our entire objective. Are we standing on the edge of a cliff? I don’t look at it that way. I see a lot of football to be played.”

Justin Tuck, a ninth-year defensive end and one of the team’s captains, emulated the calm demeanor of his coach after a practice that was particularly spirited and scrappy.

“We still can do anything and everything we came into the season wanting to do,” Tuck said, perhaps recalling the 2007 season, when the Giants started 0-2 but won the Super Bowl.

Both comments were startling given the Giants’ predicament, the deteriorating health of the roster and the enormous challenge that lies ahead. The team was dysfunctional in every aspect in absorbing the third-worst shutout defeat (38-0 to Carolina) in franchise history and the worst loss in Coughlin’s 10 years as coach. The timing seemed especially poor because the players had vowed to rally around Coughlin after the unexpected death of his younger brother, John, last week.

Much of the attention is on an offensive line that continues to fail the team. The Giants, traditionally known for a punishing ground game, are averaging a league-worst 44.3 rushing yards per game. With defenses forcing the Giants to pass more than they would like, the line is struggling to keep Eli Manning upright.

Manning, who lacks the mobility of many quarterbacks, has been sacked 11 times. The Panthers sacked him 7 times and hit him 15 times. He was sacked 20 times last season.

Left guard Kevin Boothe said the line was unfairly taking the brunt of the criticism.

“When we lose, we lose as a team,” he said. “Obviously, we could have played better. If you want to put it on us, that’s fine. We’re tough. We know we have to execute better for us to be successful as a team.”

The line could not afford one setback, let alone the two it received when Chris Snee, a four-time Pro Bowl right guard, and David Baas, the center, were unable to practice Wednesday. Snee, who had off-season surgery on his right hip, is having trouble with his left hip. Baas is dealing with a neck injury. On a positive note, the versatile tackle David Diehl returned to practice for the first time since having thumb surgery more than a month ago.

It was unclear whether any of those linemen would play Sunday.

Defensively, the Giants rank last in points allowed per game (38.3). There was negative news on that side of the ball, too. Terrell Thomas, a cornerback who has endured three major operations on his right knee, was limited in practice and will most likely continue to be limited.

Thomas made a heartening comeback after a two-year absence. He said the rigors of the first three games forced him to back off in practice and rely more on film study.

“If I can’t go, I can’t go,” he said. “If I can, I can. Obviously, there are times when I have to push through it, but I have to be smart.”

Thomas said he was that Sunday’s debacle would not be repeated against the Chiefs, who have beaten two of the Giants’ N.F.C. East rivals in their last two games: the Dallas Cowboys (17-16) and the Philadelphia Eagles (26-16).

“Man, we’re going to fight,” Thomas said. “We got socked in the mouth. That’s not what the Giants are all about. We’ve got players on this team who won two Super Bowls. They know all about being tough and resilient.

“We’ll definitely be a different team come Sunday.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/27/2013 11:58 AM

There must be a part of Tom Coughlin, deep down in his soul, that wants to rip apart his team and just start over. The Giants are shell-shocked by their 0-3 start, especially the 38-0 beating they took in Carolina. Clearly he must see that what they’re doing isn’t working, so why not try something else?

And maybe he would, if he could. Maybe he’d start changing things up this Sunday in Kansas City. But the reality is that in-season changes are often impossible to pull off. And one look at the Giants’ aging, injury-depleted roster reveals Coughlin doesn’t have many options.

That’s why, the most honest thing he’s been saying about his battered team this week, is this:

“We are what we are.”

“How much change is going to take place in one week’s time?” Coughlin asked. “You may see some things of difference. You may not see a lot. You may see a personnel combination that you, perhaps, haven’t seen before. That’s a little bit of tinkering.

“But basically, we are who we are and we have to make corrections and go on.”

The Giants came into this season with huge expectations — as evidenced by Jerry Reese’s infamous Super Bowl countdown clock. But the reality is that what the Giants are isn’t pretty at all. They are an aging, fragile and flawed team with a group of young players who have yet to fulfill their potential, all built around a franchise quarterback who no longer has time to throw.

What they are is closer to being a rebuilding team than a contender — and that’s not what they thought they were at all.

There is no doubt that injuries have led to this 0-3 collapse more than anything else — whether it was the preseason losses of running back Andre Brown and safety Stevie Brown, the Game 1 loss of linebacker Dan Connor, the injuries to center David Baas, guard Chris Snee and tackle David Diehl, or the spring surgery that clearly has reduced the effectiveness of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

But even before all that it’s hard to argue they were built to be a contender. They knew what their problems were (toughness along both lines) and they knew where they were vulnerable (linebacker, experience at running back) but Reese did little to fix it. Outside of their lone free-agent splurge — three years, $8 million on defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins — it’s hard to find an offseason move that really helped.

They addressed their aging line by drafting right tackle Justin Pugh in the first round — a reach in the eyes of some scouts — and gave a five-year, $38.75 million deal to left tackle Will Beatty (that wasn’t looking so smart on Sunday in Carolina). But that was just the start of a line rebuilding project that should’ve began in 2011 when Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert were cut. Now, with so many veterans hurt, their inexperience is glaring.

Maybe it wouldn’t matter if the pass rush was there the way it was during their Super Bowl seasons. But they spent the offseason going heavy (literally) on defensive tackles (Mike Patterson, Shaun Rogers, second-round pick Johnathan Hankins) and very light on ends (third-round pick Damontre Moore). They were counting on an unlikely revival of Justin Tuck and a miracle recovery from Pierre-Paul.

So it’s no surprise that through three games they have just three sacks.

They have no solid linebackers, either — a position they’ve clearly devalued under this regime. And with Andre Brown out, David Wilson has no protection from himself. Even before Brown got hurt, the Giants were prepared to go with a Brown-Wilson backfield that had just 146 career carries between them. So they knew they were dangerously thin.

But they believed that with a quarterback capable of wonderful things and an all-pro-caliber receiving corps, that they could hold everything together and build on last year’s 9-7, playoff-less team. They saw the potential in their core, not the ugly mess that was blown out 67-14 combined in Weeks 15 and 16.

In fact, despite their disastrous opening, many of them still do.

“The personnel on this team is not an 0-3 team,” said cornerback Terrell Thomas. “We’re a really good football team. We know how good we can play.”

All the evidence, of course, is to the contrary, and at this point there’s not much that anyone can do about it. There are no young, promising players ready to be unleashed, no veteran savior they can go out and sign, no magic potion coming from the coach.

“Whatever we decide to do,” Coughlin said, “don’t forget it’s based a lot on your personnel, what your status is in terms of where you are.”

In other words, these are the 2013 Giants, for better or mostly for worse. They are what they are, and this is the team they have to live with, flaws and all.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/27/2013 12:01 PM

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston led all NFL players in sacks during Week 3 of the regular season with 4.5 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 4.5 sacks of Michael Vick brought Houston’s season total to 7.5 — he had three Week One sacks against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Houston’s current number ties him for second in NFL history throughout the first three weeks of a season and he can break an all-time NFL mark with two sacks this weekend against the New York Giants.

If Houston can get to 9.5, he will have the most sacks in the first month of an NFL season, passing Mark Gastineau and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila’s previous mark of nine.

Here is the current record:

Mark Gastineau New York Jets 1984

Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila Green Bay 2001

Kevin Greene Carolina 1998

Bill Gay Detroit 1983

Many tied – 8.0

Justin Houston Kansas City 2013

The Chiefs defense has been a big part of their hot 3-0 start and the Giants looked pathetic a week ago against the Carolina Panthers, so there is no reason to believe that Houston can’t reach Eli Manning at least two times to take the top spot.

Regardless of whether or not he breaks the mark, Houston is off to a great start to his season and could have the single-season sack record in his sights if he continues to have success rushing the passer throughout the year

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/28/2013 11:03 AM

Four starters are listed as questionable on the Kansas City Chiefs injury report for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle), guard Jeff Allen (groin) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) are the players listed as questionable.

Flowers played on a sore knee in last week's game in Philadelphia, but aggravated the injury in the game. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday but did not practice on Friday. Lewis, Allen and Fasano were listed as being limited practice participants Friday.

Backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice and will not play against the Giants.

Listed as probable for the Giants game and full practice participants on Friday were three starters: tackle Branden Albert (shoulder), defensive end Mike DeVito (neck) and fullback Anthony Sherman (knee). Backup linebacker Frank Zombo was also listed as probable for the game after participating fully in practice.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/28/2013 11:04 AM

The New York Giants will need several backups to help them win their first game of the season.

The Giants will be without starters David Baas (neck), Chris Snee (hip) and Corey Webster against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

David Diehl is also listed as doubtful. He was able to practice on a limited basis this week so perhaps he will be able to make his season debut as he makes his way back from thumb surgery.

Jim Cordle could get the start at center against the Chiefs. If that happens, Kevin Boothe will remain at left guard and James Brewer will likely play right guard for Snee. The Giants could always slide Boothe to center and perhaps use Brandon Mosley at left guard.

Aaron Ross is expected to start for Webster. Safety Cooper Taylor (shoulder) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) are questionable for Sunday but both practiced on a limited basis.


C David Baas (neck)
TE Adrien Robinson (foot)
G Chris Snee (hip)
CB Corey Webster (hip)

T David Diehl (thumb, limited practice)

S Cooper Taylor (shoulder, limited practice)
LB Jacquian Williams (knee, limited practice)

LB Spencer Paysinger (hip, limited practice)
CB Terrell Thomas (knee, limited practice)
DE Justin Trattou (ankle, limited practice)

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/29/2013 08:15 AM

Pick: Giants +4

The Giants are playing really bad football, but I will bet on Eli and Coughlin to get it or have no shot at making the playoffs. The Chiefs are a very good home team but will not blow out this team.