Anytime a team playing as well as the Giants head on the road to take on a team playing as poorly as the Chiefs there is talk about a trap game. New York’s coach and players are well aware of what happens when you overlook an opponent after getting “trapped” last season.
One of the strongest impressions linebacker Bryan Kehl absorbed as a Giants rookie last season came on the trip to Cleveland. The Giants were 4-0 and the Browns were 1-3.
“We were out of the game before it even started,” Kehl said of Cleveland’s 35-14 victory. “Why, I can’t tell you. But emotionally, we just weren’t there. There wasn’t anything we could do about it.”
The Giants revived that memory last week in preparing to play the Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City. Coach Tom Coughlin mentioned it to his players and to reporters.
“We know full well what history has shown us,” he said. “We talked about last year’s trip over to Cleveland.
Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said his mind flashed back to Cleveland even before Coughlin spoke.
“We don’t want to fall into that trap. We’ve got a lot of older guys, a lot of veterans.”
If the Giants need a fresh upset reminder, the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers lost last Sunday to Cincinnati, 23-20.
“We’d better be ready to play or it will be another Cleveland game,” Justin Tuck said. “We know very well how that felt. If we feel good about ourselves a little bit more than is warranted, we might get our butts whipped.”
On paper, the Chiefs aren’t even in the same atmosphere as the Giants. And in order to even things out, Kansas City will need a Herculean effort and New York will need to have a big time let down. Basically, an exact repeat of that Giants-Browns game last season.
In that game it was a story of two quarterbacks. Eli Manning threw for less than 200 yards and three picks while Derek Anderson totaled 300 yards in the air without turning the ball over.
Matt Cassel has to come into this game ready and able to (I hope this is the last time I type this) play the Derek Anderson role. The ready part we have no way of knowing, but if he is going to be able, he’ll need Dwayne Bowe not only in the lineup but effective. Bowe looked better at practice on Friday but is still a game-time decision.