Week 4: Giants-Chiefs matchup analysis

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

New York Giants (0-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Erin Andrews
*Keys to the game: Turnovers tell the story of these haves and have nots. The Chiefs lead the NFL with a plus-nine turnover margin while the Giants are at minus-nine, including eight Eli Manning interceptions. Chiefs QB Alex Smith isn't pushing the ball downfield as defenses bracket Dwayne Bowe, peppering RB Jamaal Charles (team-leading 18 receptions) with dumpoffs and hitting Donnie Avery on crossing routes that help Kansas City control the clock. It doesn't look much like an Andy Reid-led offense with Charles and Smith averaging a combined 113.3 rushing yards per game. The Giants aren't bleeding clock because of the self-inflicted wounds, averaging an NFL-worst 4.45 plays per possession and 29.4 third-down percentage. With the offensive line likely to undergo yet another reshuffling, coordinator Kevin Gilbride will use quick throws to get the ball in his playmakers' hands. Of course, getting RB David Wilson and a pungent running game (2.7 yards per carry) untracked would benefit the whole bunch. If the Giants can't handle NT Dotari Poe and the Chiefs' 3-4, Manning will be under duress, continuing the 2013 season theme.
*Matchup to watch - Giants RT Justin Pugh vs. Chiefs OLB Justin Houston: With 7.5 sacks, Houston has the entire league's attention. Pugh isn't a polished blocker, but the rookie first-round pick promised this week he will bring the fight to Houston.
*Player spotlight - Giants WR Hakeem Nicks: He said he "can't throw the ball to himself" last week, and in a contract year frustrations could boil over if Manning doesn't find a way to get him involved. Nicks is averaging 21.9 yards per reception.
*Fast facts: This is Reid's 32nd game as head coach against the New York Giants. ... Manning is making his 139th consecutive start, the NFL's longest active streak for quarterbacks.
Eli Manning has eight interceptions and has been sacked 11 times, but it's the running game and New York pass rush that hold the key to a turnaround. Kansas City has been sound in almost all areas, and does enough to spin another "L" on the Giants.
*Our pick: Chiefs 24-20

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