COMMENTARY | The New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs face off at Arrowhead Stadium this weekend with one team looking to avoid its first loss and the other in search of its first victory on the young 2013 season.
The Giants are 0-3 as everything seems to be going wrong for a team that is typically always in control. A fourth-straight loss could send New York reeling and cause major locker room unrest, ultimately signaling big changes within the organization.
Kansas City can't be happier with how things have gone this season, sitting with an unblemished record and riding a dominant defense similar to the Chiefs of the 1990s.
Here are a few things to follow during Sunday afternoon's contest.
When: Sunday, September 29 at 1:00 pm EST on Fox
Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
Key Matchup: Giants' offensive line vs. Chiefs' front seven
Giants Bold Prediction: Eli Manning and Co. Held Scoreless in Back-to-Back Weeks
With names like Manning, Cruz and Nicks, among others, it would be hard to imagine the Giants offense being shut down in any week, let alone being held scoreless for two consecutive games. But the Chiefs have a chance to do just that on Sunday afternoon.
New York is coming off a 38-0 drubbing at the hands of the Carolina Panthers and will be facing the NFL's second-best defense in terms of points allowed (11.3 PPG -- tied with the New England Patriots) in Kansas City this week.
The Chiefs lead the league in sacks (15) and turnover margin (plus-9), which happens to be two of the main areas the Giants can pinpoint for their struggles so far this year. With the Arrowhead crowd fired up about its undefeated football team, New York could find it difficult to score.
Chiefs Bold Prediction: Justin Houston Breaks Derrick Thomas' Single-Game Sack Record
Derrick Thomas is a god in Kansas City. He is actually revered as one of the best to ever step on to a field period. But Justin Houston could break an NFL record on Sunday, one that helped vault Thomas' name into football lore forever.
Thomas set the record back in 1990, sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Dave Kreig seven times.
While a lofty number to surpass, Houston's chances hinge on a few things: 1) The Giants have given up 11 sacks (tied for second worst in the league) on the season -- including seven to the Panthers last week. 2) Kansas City should be playing with a lead for much of the game, forcing New York into plenty of passing situations. 3) Manning is asked to pass the ball on about 71 percent of New York's plays already, which could increase due to the nature of Sunday's contest.
If Kansas City is in control of this game, Houston might just do the unthinkable
Fantasy Beast: Chiefs Defense/Special Teams
The Chiefs defense is averaging five sacks and three turnovers per contest so far this season, while also scoring touchdowns in two of the three games as well. This week's matchup with a Giants offense that has given up 11 sacks and a league-high 13 turnovers could produce similar results for Kansas City in front of its home crowd.
If the Chiefs get to Manning early, there could be a domino effect for the remainder of the game that creates a huge point-scoring opportunity in fantasy this week.
Fantasy Bust: Hakeem Nicks
Nicks was targeted one time and finished with zero receptions in last week's loss to the Panthers, and had this to say after the game:
"It's part of the game. You've got to control what you can control. I can't throw it to myself."
If Nicks was able to throw the ball to himself, however, he would certainly have more than the paltry 19.7 fantasy points (Yahoo standard scoring) he has accumulated so far this season. And this week's matchup doesn't play well into changing his fortune either.
Kansas City has completely shut down the opposition's No. 2 receiving option so far this season, allowing a combined eight catches for 74 yards and zero touchdowns to Ace Sanders, Miles Austin and Riley Cooper. With Cruz being Manning's obvious go-to target right now, Nicks could struggle to get looks against the Chiefs.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
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- Kansas City Chiefs
- New York Giants
- Justin Houston
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- Derrick Thomas