Why the New York Giants will beat the Kansas City Chiefs

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 15: New York Giants players, including Eli Manning
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 15: New York Giants players, including Eli Manning /

A guide and recipe for the New York Giants to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs. Find all the ingredients and step-by-step process here.

Now hold onto your keyboards! I do not truly expect the New York Giants to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs when the teams face off in Week 11. However, I do believe in the meaning of “any given Sunday.” I also believe that every side should have a chance to make their case. So this week I’ll be telling you three reasons why the Giants could potentially pull off the upset.

First, let’s start off with…

The story of the Giants season so far

The Giants were a team that, at the beginning of the season, had Super Bowl aspirations. With a solid defensive line and secondary, and the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard on offense, things were looking good on paper.

However, as the season wore on the offense and defense both wore out. The Giants currently have 16 players on IR including the previously mentioned OBJ and Marshall.

The one side of the team that has stayed relatively healthy is the defense. With stars Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison, Oliver Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Landon Collins this is certainly a group with talent. Unfortunately it hasn’t played out that way through the first 9 weeks of the season. The Giants defense currently ranks bottom 5 in points per game, rush yards per game, passing yards per game, and as it’s probably obvious by now, total yards per game.

To make this all worse the Giants are second worst in the NFL in opposing team’s starting position (30.70). The offense ranks 26th in yards per drive, 28th in 3-and-outs per drive, and 31st in time of possession per drive—all of which is doing the defense any favors.

I don’t think the Giants defense is as bad as the standard stats suggest. The offense has been so bad it’s put a lot of pressure on the defense to help make up for the offense’s deficiencies. If the offense can find a groove, the defense has the ability to help them finish off and win the game. Problem is they’re 29th in points per drive and 28th in average lead (-4.81 points/drive).

The story of the Chiefs 2017 season

We start back at week 1 where the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots with 16-0 aspirations were up against the team that just lost in the divisional round to the Steelers who couldn’t score a touchdown. Not many picked the Chiefs to win the game, but K.C. did anyway and in convincing fashion.

Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs /

Kansas City Chiefs

After that the Chiefs walked into week 6 with a 5-0 record with the media calling them the best team in football. They once again were up against the team that they lost to in the divisional round last season. This time it would be different. The Steelers actually scored two touchdowns and beat the Chiefs again. Since then the Chiefs have are now coming off their bye going into week 10 with a 1-3 record over their last 4 games.

The only game they won over that span was against the Broncos, who were too busy shooting themselves in the foot on offense to notice the Chiefs were trying to hand them the game.

Now coming off a bye (Andy Reid’s specialty) the Chiefs face the hapless New York Giants who are 1-8 and whose owners just had to release a statement saying they weren’t going to fire their head coach…yet. So this should be an easy win, right? Well, how long have you been a Chiefs fan (assuming you are one)? Many others in the media seem convinced the Chiefs will steamroll over the Giants. Well I’m here to tell you three reasons why that won’t happen. Starting with this one.

Sterling Shepard and Orleans Darkwa

In my completely subjective opinion, with no stats to back me up, the Chiefs are great at letting the other team’s stars perform. Top wide receivers and running backs consistently seem to produce 100+ yard performances against us for unknown reasons. It’s probably in part because the Chiefs defense likes to focus on forcing mistakes with disguised coverages, and is willing to give up short stuff to prevent the long play with off coverages. Star players who are good at what they do can usually find the holes and read the defense well enough to make the big play anyways.

To bring some stats into the argument, the Chiefs currently rank 29th in production given up to the opponent’s No. 1 wide receiver. On average, a No. 1 WR has 10 catches for 115 yards against the Chiefs defense per game. That’s the most of any team by 30 yards—thirty yards! The difference between the best and second worst is 50 yards per game. It’s not even close.

Sterling Shepard

This is where Sterling Shepard comes in. He may not be known as a world beater, superstar, All-Pro wide receiver like his teammate OBJ, but he will be the Giants No. 1 receiver on Sunday and a fairly decent one with lots of talent. He’s also coming off the best game of his career in which he caught 11 balls for 142 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. The second game of his career was an 8 reception 117 yard performance against the New Orleans Saints. Considering we don’t know who exactly will be taking that #2 corner spot (Chiefs don’t let their corners travel, so he’ll likely see the No. 2 corner the most), it would not surprise me in the least to at least match his performance against the Saints last year.

Orleans Darkwa

SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Orleans Darkwa
SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Orleans Darkwa /

Now over to Orleans Darkwa the more unknown variable. Darkwa is a 4th year player out of Tulane who before this season had just 75 rushes for 287 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first 3 years. So far this season he’s had 81 rushes for 415 yards and 1 touchdown with perhaps most remarkably a 5.1 yard per carry average.

He’s had just one game of over 100+ total yards this season but has only truly started being a major factor in the offense since Week 7. He’s had 345 of his total yards come over the last 4 weeks. Over those last 4 weeks he’s faced the 4th, 9th, 22nd, and 32nd ranked rushing defenses, so he’s performed relatively well against both the top and bottom level defenses.

The Chiefs currently sit at 29th against the run by yards. By Football Outsider’s metrics the Chiefs are 32nd in the league against the run. It’s again, like before, not very close either. The one thing the Chiefs have been good at is stopping passes to running backs. They rank 1st in the NFL allowing just 23.5 yards per game to running backs overall. Darkwa has never been much of a receiving threat though, so that doesn’t really help the Chiefs.

Darkwa should certainly have a chance to dominate a confused and dazed Chiefs defense. I could easily see him producing the best game of his career.

Giants run defense

If there’s one thing the Giants defense has always been known for is a strong defensive line. This Giants line is no different. Stars Jason Pierre-Paul and Oliver Vernon bookend a strong line with big man Damon Harrison manning the middle. This season though they rank as the 22nd run blocking group.

What separates them from the other bottom 10 teams, however, is they are tough against runs through the middle. They rank 4th and 9th respectively against power runs and stuffed runs percentage. So as long as the defense can keep contain and force runs inside they should be fine. Their effectiveness in the middle is likely why they face the least amount of runs between the guards (40%) and tied for the most outside the tackles (32%).

SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Olivier Vernon
SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Olivier Vernon /

Despite the Chiefs well-known speed options, they don’t run a ton to the outside. They’re league average at running outside the left tackle (11%) and nearly double the average outside the right tackle (16%). This is likely because the Chiefs like to run most of their screens to the right side of the offense. In case you were curious, they’re just above league average at 55% of runs up the middle.

What could put this matchup in the Giants favor is the Chiefs tendency to force the ball up the middle. Kareem Hunt is a bruising back who is a north-south runner. Logically he’s most effective running between tackles than he is trying to outrun the defense. The Chiefs rank 21st on runs between the guards and while the Giants rank only 15th. Remember they’re 9th in stuffed runs which means they’re consistently hitting the running back at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. The ranking is measured by how effective the offensive/defensive line blocks their opponent, not how well the running back does.

I think it’s fair to say the Giants have the talent and ability to shut down the Chiefs running attack. If they keep contain and consistently stuff the run, it’ll make things overall more difficult on the Chiefs offense.

The pressure is on the Giants

As stated before this is a Giants team (particularly on defense at the moment) that has loads of talent who have proven to be able to produce. At the moment it seems their head coach has lost the team and everyone in the media has something to say about how bad the Giants have looked on and off the field.

But we know how players and teams react when their backs are against the wall. If there’s any time this season for the Giants players to start playing for themselves and show what they’re made of, this may just be the week for them. With questions surrounding their head coach, media members calling out the franchise, and an anonymous teammate calling out teammates, it’s the perfect time for the Giants players to show the Chiefs and the rest of the NFL what they’re truly made of.

This won’t be an easy win for either team. The Chiefs are under performing and looking like a much different team than who started the season. The Giants are looking like a team with no direction. If the Chiefs are able to bounce back and play like we know they can, then they should win. But if they look like the Chiefs of weeks 6-9 and the Giants look at least like their 2016 selves, then the Giants should win.