Why the 0-3 Giants might actually give the Chiefs a fight
Stop giggling! Manning and Giants need not be feared, necessarily, but consider these reasons to be wary
By SEAN KEELERFS Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. --
Eli Manning can't stop doing his best Matt Cassel impersonation. David Wilson can't find a hole, and then when he does, he can't hang onto the football. The offensive line just allowed seven sacks in a 38-0 shellacking at the hands of the Carolina Panthers, and ...
They've turned it over 13 times in three weeks, a pace that hasn't been seen in the NFL since 2001. The club's 133 rushing yards through three games is the fifth-lowest in the league since 1970 to start a season, and ...
Stop laughing. We're dead serious here. Granted, on paper, the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs should use Sunday's foe, the 0-3 New York Giants, as a floor mat. But NFL games aren't played on paper; they're played on the Red Zone channel, in your neighbor's man-cave. Just remember this: It's hard to go 0-4 in this league -- so hard, even the 2012 Chiefs couldn't do it. And that, my friends, is saying something ...
DON'T GIGGLE: THREE REASONS THE 0-3 GIANTS MIGHT BE A TOUGHER MATCHUP THAN YOU THINK
:03 ... Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck. (Honest.)
One of the few constructive concerns during what's otherwise been a good month for the Chiefs has been inconsistency along the offensive line -- especially with rookie right tackle Eric Fisher. Kansas City struggled mightily with the Cowboys' pass rush a couple weeks back, an issue that got worse when left tackle Branden Albert was out of the tilt for a short stretch.
Now Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is no DeMarcus Ware; actually, since spring back surgery, he hasn't even been Jason Pierre-Paul, although his one sack through three games is somehow still good for the team lead. "I knew right when I came off back surgery that it's not going to be old JPP, two sacks, three sacks," Pierre-Paul recently told Newsday's Tom Rock. "No, it's going to take time for me to get back in the game plan, in game mode, and for the quarterbacks to actually fear me."
Edge-rushing partner Justin Tuck hasn't exactly been lighting the pocket up himself lately -- just a half-sack through three contests -- while also wrestling with back and hamstring issues. But when you've averaged 6.83 quarterback takedowns over the previous three seasons, those kind of funks are capable of hitting the skids at any time.
:02 ... The Book of Eli. (Really.)
Manning's career line versus the Chiefs? Two games, two wins, four touchdown passes, 239 passing yards per contest and a composite quarterback rating of 86.6, a notch above his career rating of 82.6 he had going into Week 3.
During his last trip to Arrowhead, the youngest Manning completed 20 of 34 throws for 292 yards and three scores in a 27-16 victory, a win over a retooling Chiefs franchise in the first year of a new coach and a new general manager. You know what they say: The more things stay the same, the more things change, right?
:01 ... Not-so-great team historical trends. (Or why it’s also hard to go 4-0.)
Of the previous seven teams in Chiefs franchise history to start out 3-0, only two of them ('96 and '03) also reached 4-0. The Giants haven't been 0-3 since 1996; they haven't been 0-4 since 1987, and they have been winless after four games in only four seasons: '87, 1976, 1966 and 1947.
And while series history between inter-conference foes doesn't mean much in an NFL where rosters often routinely turn over quickly, there's this, too: The Chiefs are just 2-10, all-time, against the G-Men; the club's .167 winning percentage versus New York is the lowest against any current franchise. In fact, the Chiefs have a four-game losing streak running against the Giants, one that dates to 1995.
The only other Kansas City victory in the series before that: a 38-17 rout at Arrowhead in 1983, behind the quarterbacking of Bill Kenney and the coaching of John Mackovic. Like the line in those old cigarette ads, the Chiefs have come a long way, baby.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.