The Kansas City Chiefs return home Sunday afternoon to take on the winless New York Giants. It’s a game that could turn out setting up the rest of the season for both teams.
If the Giants can’t leave Kansas City with their first victory, it would make it nearly impossible for them to go from 0-4 to the playoffs. A win for the Chiefs would put them in the driver’s seat to lock down, at least, a wild card in the AFC.
With the way things are going for the Kansas City defense right now, combined with a struggling New York offensive line, it sure looks good for the Chiefs.
Last week against the Carolina Panthers, the Giants were dominated in a 38-0 loss. Along the way, quarterback Eli Manning was sacked seven times while getting knocked around all day long.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs are fresh off a Thursday night victory over the Philadelphia Eagles that found them putting six sacks up on the board.
Here are the players on offense, defense and special teams that will help determine if these teams will continue on their current paths.
Offense: Jamaal Charles
Every week he’s suited up, Charles will be the best player on the field for the Chiefs. But so far this season through three weeks he hasn’t had one of his out-of-this-world type games. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t change Sunday.
The Giants defense has been average against the pass, but downright bad when trying to stop the run. On their way to an 0-3 record, New York is giving up more than 129 yards a game on the ground, better than just five teams in the league.
Charles has yet to top 100 yards and is averaging a pedestrian (compared to his own unreal numbers) 4.3 yards a carry. Look for the Chiefs electric back to bash both of those numbers and have Arrowhead rocking early and often.
Defense: Justin Houston
Considering how bad the Giants offensive line protected Manning last week, is there anyone else you’ll be watching Sunday?
The Chiefs linebacker has his eyes on the NFL single-season sacks record and with 7.5 heading into Week 4, he’s in good shape. Finding a way to dominate New York the way Carolina’s front four did will get Houston that much closer to Michael Strahan and 22.5 sacks.
No matter who lines up on New York’s struggling line, it’s not a question of if Houston will find his way to the quarterback, but instead how many times.
With Kansas City’s defense potentially without cornerback Brandon Flowers and safety Kendrick Lewis, getting a big time pass rush without the help from the secondary will be more important than ever.
Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt
The Chiefs special teams haven’t exactly been special under new coach Dave Toub. With the exception of Colquitt. The punter has picked up in 2013 right where he left off in 2012, which is as one of the best in the game.
Colquitt has already put 13 punts inside the 20 (a number that could be even higher if he had some help from his coverage team), providing a huge field position advantage.
If Dusty and the Kansas City punt team can pin Manning deep and force their beleaguered offensive line to try and fight off the Chiefs pass rush and the noise from the Sea of Red, there’s no reason why Reid’s record can’t stay perfect this season.