An optimistic New York Giants fan might assume the team is bound to win a home game one of these weeks. A realistic one? That’s another story.
The Giants (1-8) enter Week 11’s matchup against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs 0-4 at MetLife Stadium. With 6-3 Kansas City coming to town, plus the remaining home slate consisting of the other three NFC East teams, a winless home slate isn’t out of the question.
Since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule, the worst Big Blue has fared at home is 1-7 in both 1983 and 2003. Before that, they went 0-7 in 1974.
If the Giants are to erase future stories about avoiding a dubious franchise record and top K.C. on Sunday, they’ll need at least a couple of these three things to happen.
Shut down Hunt
Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt began his rookie season with a bang, gaining more than 100 yards from scrimmage in his first seven professional games. He’s looked far more like a first-year player over the past two after being shut down by the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys before last week’s bye.
The Giants, however, aren’t the most equipped to stop a talented backfield threat. Their defense ranks 30th in rushing yards allowed, which has to burn up an elite run stuffer like defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison. He can’t do it alone, so his fellow D-lineman and linebackers but keep Hunt from getting to the second level.
All on Eli
The 2017 version of Eli Manning doesn’t strongly resemble the two-time Super Bowl champion. Regardless, he’s the Giants’ best chance at outgunning one of the NFL’s better offenses.
The Chiefs used to be known for their defense, but they sit 30th in yards allowed per game — just ahead of the Giants. Because the running game remains an inconsistent source of production, Manning will be forced to look in the direction of receiver Sterling Shepard and rookie tight end Evan Engram often in order to keep pace.
Throw off Smith
Alex Smith is finally playing like the No. 1 overall pick the San Francisco 49ers hoped they drafted in 2005. That he’s doing so for the Chiefs won’t make the Niners feel any better. But hey, at least they got their first win of 2017 against the Giants last week.
Smith’s 18-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is staggering. The NFL’s top-rated passer is an MVP candidate for the AFC West leaders, one who tends to play well even when Kansas City loses.
Big Blue’s secondary continues to be victimized by coverage lapses, which they can ill afford with top Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill prone to big, scoring receptions. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, in particular, will be scrutinized closely after struggling in the 31-21 loss to San Francisco last Sunday.