Kansas City Chiefs' keys to victory in New York - KCTV5

Kansas City Chiefs' keys to victory in New York

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Coming off an 11-5 season in 2016, a road trip to the Meadowlands to face off against the New York Giants appeared to be one of Kansas City’s biggest road tests entering the year.

The last time to the two teams met, Kansas City won at Arrowhead 31-7. Four years later, New York is one of the worst teams in football, started the season 0-5 for the first time since 2013, have a coach on the hot seat, a lost locker room and are coming off a loss to 1-9 San Francisco.

It was safe to say that coming into this season with a healthy Odell Beckham Jr, the signing of Brandon Marshall and returning a top five defense, that the Giants could build upon a playoff appearance.

Instead, injuries have crippled New York en route to a 1-8 record, their worst start since 1980. Beckham Jr, Marshall and Dwayne Harris were all counted on to lead the passing game, but are all out for the year with injuries.

The Giants' struggles start on the offensive line, as General Manager Jerry Reese made no real offseason changes to one of the NFL’s worst units. New York ranked 25th in offense in 2016 and currently rank 27th in 2017.

Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali should enter Sunday’s game very hungry against an offensive line that allows a sack on 6.2 percent of all passing plays.

Quarterback Eli Manning does not get much help on the outside after ankle injuries laid waste to his original top three weapons, and now he turns to the likes of Roger Lewis Jr, Tavarres King and Travis Rudolph. The three have a combined 36 NFL games played and are a big reason why New York is averaging just 16 points a game.

Since Beckham and Marshall went down in week give, head coach Ben McAdoo’s offense has primarily run through rookie tight end Evan Engram. The first round pick from Ole Miss has turned into Manning’s favorite target and practically only reliable option. Engram has the height and mobility to make a variety of catches, ranks sixth in the league in tight end receptions and second in tight end touchdowns.

As for Manning, Peyton’s younger brother played in his 208th consecutive regular season game, tying him with Peyton for the second longest streak in NFL history. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has thrown 14 touchdowns to six interceptions this year, a stat line that should be much worse when a weak offensive line and raw receiving group is factored in.

The Giants run attack should not strike fear into Kansas City, as Orleans Darkwa and first year running back Wayne Gallman lead an inexperienced backfield. Darwka and Gallman have averaged 89 yards a game, good for 25th in the NFL.

On paper, the Giants defense is stacked with playmakers who have simply failed to get on the same page all year. After ranking as a top five unit in 2016, the entire secondary’s back with Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. But in 2017, after being blown out by both the Rams and 49ers, the defense is ranked 31st in yards per game and 28th in points allowed.

The Giants front seven is the only position group to not disappoint, led by one of the best run stoppers in the league, Damon Harrison, along with Oliver Vernon and Jason Pierre Paul to rush the quarterback.

Still, the Giants will try to win Sunday’s game on the back of their defense, by stopping Kareem Hunt and forcing a timely turnover.

Punt returner Tyreek Hill could also be in for big day, as punter Brad Wing is last in net average per punt and has had a league low eight punts land inside the 20-yard-line. Rookie kicker Aldrick Rosas is also no Harrison Butker, only knocking through 15 of his 20 field goal attempts.

While it’s not a pretty picture on the field for New York, the perception in New York is that McAdoo has lost control of his locker room. Both Cromartie and Jenkins have faced in season suspensions for separate altercations and a handful of playershave anonymously ripped their coach through the media. This is McAdoo’s second season in New York and ownership has said that he won’t be fired mid-season.

In many ways this is the definition of a trap game for Kansas City, but after C.J. Breathard and the 49ers handled the Giants for their first win of the year, this would be one of the team’s worst losses in recent years. This is about as close to back-to-back bye weeks as they come in the NFL.

Kickoff from New York is set for noon on KCTV5.

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