The Giants have the personnel to give the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs some trouble on Sunday.
For one thing, the Chiefs’ pass protection isn’t great. Quarterback Alex Smith has been sacked 10 times. The Giants should be able to pressure him.
The Giants also have the skill-position talent on offense to challenge Kansas City. The Chiefs’ defense is outstanding, but every defense gives up some plays, and the Giants can make more of them than most teams.
But enough about the Giants’ potential personnel edges. The Giants are 0-3. Who knows if they can carry out their best-laid plans at Kansas City?
To that end, it will be interesting to see how the Giants proceed in all three phases on Sunday.
By this point of the season, teams are limited in terms of the changes they can make to their roster and their playbook. At his Wednesday press conference, Giants coach Tom Coughlin indicated the players’ focus had to be on improvement largely within the framework of the system already in place, according to an interview transcript from the club.
In short, expecting a team to completely alter course during the season is usually folly, especially if the team has an established group of core players like the Giants have. Teams with instability at quarterback are a whole other matter. On Wednesday, the Buccaneers benched veteran quarterback Josh Freeman and put rookie Mike Glennon in the lineup. That’s a team-changing move. It would be no surprise if the Buccaneers were materially different on offense with the rookie behind center.
The Giants’ offense, by contrast, will likely look largely the same on Sunday. All of the familiar names and faces will be in their usual spots. The tweaks here figure to be strategic.
Quite obviously, the ball will need to be out Manning’s hand faster. But what else will the offense have in store? Similarly, how will a defense smarting after surrendering 38 points to Carolina adjust? The kicking game is another area to watch; sometime a fake punt or field goal can spark a team.
The Giants have had two leads in three games. Both times, the lead was a mere field goal. Here’s a team that could use a game where it’s up 7-0 and the opposition suddenly feels the pressure of having to get its act together.
The Giants are capable of outplaying the Chiefs in some phases on Sunday, but it’s the Giants’ approach toward this goal that’s intriguing. The Giants have ample reason to act with creativity and urgency on Sunday. More than anything, that could give Kansas City trouble.