The New York Giants vs. Kansas City Chiefs matchup on Monday Night Football might not be the game we need, but it is the game we deserve right now. After the first unbelievable six weeks of the NFL season, we were due some stinkers to bring us back down to earth. However, this game will answer questions we all deserve answers to, even if we don’t need them yet.
New York Giants offense vs. Kansas City Chiefs defense
In the least surprising turn of events in 2021, New York’s offense is terrible, and Kansas City’s defense is even worse. The Giants rank 23rd in EPA/play and are 27th in DVOA.
Conversely, the Chiefs have the worst defense in the NFL by most measures. We can argue semantics about them not being dead last in EPA/play for either pass or run, but they’re 30th or worse in both, and their success rate defensively is a complete eyesore. DVOA ranks them 31st overall, coming in at 31st against both the pass and the run. Only the Jaguars’ defense is worse because their passing DVOA is an abomination.
I’ve written about many stoppable forces meeting moveable objects, but it isn’t easy to find a better fit for that trope.
Daniel Jones vs. Chiefs defense
Aside from his game against the Rams (which we can debate if he should have even played) and the Cowboys game he was knocked out of, Jones has played some of his best football in 2021. Additionally, he’s doing so in spite of his horrific offensive line and offensive coordinator.
The safety play from Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu are about the only bright spots on the Chiefs’ defense. L’Jarius Sneed isn’t playing up to the lofty expectations we had for him after a surprisingly strong rookie campaign. Their linebackers are a mess, and somehow Charvarius Ward is still starting for Kansas City.
Giants weapons vs. Chiefs defensive backs
John Ross, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Kadarius Toney aren’t a bad unit. Evan Engram never played to his high draft selection, but he’s an athletic tight end that’s flashed playmaking ability between drops in his career.
There are only so many ways to express disappointment, so I’m not going to try. Kansas City’s pass defense couldn’t keep up with a plastic bag floating in the wind. They’re going to get torched consistently. The Chiefs must pray the safeties make up for their poor play or that their foul defensive line can compete against a similarly terrible Giants offensive line.
Giants offensive line vs. Chiefs front seven
It’s difficult to express just how pathetic this matchup is going to be on Monday Night Football. The Chiefs got the gift of Chris Jones back in Week 7, but the rest of the unit may as well not even take the field with the way they’ve played.
Frank Clark has been an abject disaster on and off the field, and the rest of the defensive line has followed that on-field production. Despite spending second-round picks in consecutive drafts on linebackers, their linebacker play hasn’t improved since Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson started.
Meanwhile, the Giants’ offensive line hasn’t seen a good day in years. They continue to struggle after the losses of Nick Gates and Andrew Thomas (who was improving). Chris Jones could cause some issues for them, but the Giants should have one of their better games in the offensive trenches this season.
New York Giants defense vs. Kansas City Chiefs offense
At least the Giants are consistent. They rank 23rd in the NFL in defensive EPA/play. They’re struggling against the run and the pass in 2021, which is peculiar because they have talent on the defensive line and in the secondary. They should at least be able to compete through the air.
DVOA is a bit more kind, ranking them 19th in the league and 16th against the pass. However, the defense is still not what we believed it could be heading into the season. It most likely won’t improve its standing after Monday, either.
Kansas City’s offense is still much, much better than you believe them to be. They’re fifth in EPA/play and first in success rate. The only thing keeping them from holding the top spot is their insane turnover luck.
Patrick Mahomes vs. Giants defense
The Patrick Mahomes narrative is becoming laughable. Nobody has “figured out” Mahomes. His defense is putrid, and he’s out there trying to score 14 points per possession. He’s turning the ball over too much because he’s pressing (and Mahomes admitted to doing so). He’s still leading the league’s most successful offense on a per-drive basis.
If the Chiefs get down early, we could see Mahomes struggle against the Giants’ defense. Yet, in a neutral setting, I can’t believe we’ll get a stinker from him. He’s really only ever had one bad game in his entire career. Sure, it was just one week ago, but still. He’s had one truly awful game out of 53!
Chiefs weapons vs. Giants defensive backs
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are the only names we need to worry about here, but Mecole Hardman has had himself a much more productive season than we’ve seen from him in the past.
Losing Jabrill Peppers is tough for the Giants. They’ve rotated their safeties a lot this season, and losing him hurts their overall coverage ability. Logan Ryan is struggling, as is Xavier McKinney. New York’s outside cornerbacks are talented but have underperformed so far this year as well.
I expect the Chiefs to attack their linebackers in coverage. If Travis Kelce is ever lined up across from Reggie Ragland or Tae Crowder in the slot or outside the numbers, he will likely still be running until help arrives.
Chiefs offensive line vs. Giants front seven
This is the entire reason to watch this game. I want to watch Dexter Lawrence and Austin Johnson against Creed Humphrey one-on-one. I want to see how Trey Smith handles the pass-rush repertoire of Leonard Williams. Lastly, I want to see if anybody can block Azeez Ojulari on the edge.
This is one of my favorite matchups of the weekend. I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the two Chiefs rookies against the Giants’ strong interior defensive line.
Betting line and game prediction
The Chiefs vs. Giants game is currently a 10-point spread favoring the home squad. It doesn’t feel like enough, but Kansas City’s defense is so bad it’s difficult to imagine they’re able to truly run away and hide, even against an offense struggling as much as the Giants have in 2021.
If I’m betting on this game, it’s to cover the 52-point over/under. I don’t see either team getting enough stops to make the under viable.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Giants 24