Picking up some steam with my football picks lately, hitting another winner with the over in the Thursday night game. Not going to say that was an easy one, but I’ll take it any way we can get it. We needed three 5th quarter touchdowns to make it possible, and it hit after the 49ers gashed the Rams for a long touchdown around a 20-yard run to push it over the posted total of 42. I haven’t had to sweat out many games these past few months, but that one had me on the edge.
Sunday afternoon features several games that have some intriguing storylines to them. For instance, if you said that the Kansas City Chiefs were going to start the season off at 3-0 and the Giants would be 0-3, I would say you were crazy. Now, I expected the Chiefs to have a good year and the Giants to be down, but I wasn’t expecting it to start quite like this. Who said that the New York Jets were going to be the better New York team after three weeks of play? Not me. The Giants were once a team that relied on a solid running game, with one of the better defenses in the league to pick up the rest. In 2013 there isn’t really anything happening on either side of the ball, no offense, no defense, no coherency in the offense. Receiver Hakeem Nicks even went so far to say that he can’t throw the ball to himself. The Giants will have to deal with these problems while going into a hostile environment against a hungry, determined Kansas City squad.
Giants vs. Chiefs Betting Odds:
New York Giants +4 (-115)
@Kansas City Chiefs -4(-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Giants vs. Chiefs Pick:
There were warning signs in the preseason that the Giants were going to have a tough time this season, but for the most part, those were ignored from many. After all, the Giants have bounced back from adversity in the past to have a good season, well, a great season, as they started 0-2 and then went on to win the Super Bowl. I don’t get the same feeling with this team as I did that year, but if they want to at least have a respectable season, starting 0-4 is a recipe for disaster. Last week against the Carolina Panthers, the Giants couldn’t even get on the board with a single point. They also looked lost on defense against Cam Newton and the running game, getting walloped for 38 points in a losing 38-0 showing. What was concerning was their ability to stop the run, allowing DeAngelo Williams to run wild for 120-yards, and then Newton chipped in with 45. They will need to do a much better job against a team that can run with Jamaal Charles. Running the ball is the Chiefs identity. The Giants have been one of the worst in the league at that, as they are the 27th best team in defending the run, allowing 129.3 yards a game. Not only the rushing defense, but the defense as a whole has been pretty abysmal, giving up an average of 38.3 points per game. That is a serious problem that is not who the Giants used to be. Tom Coughlin’s head must be spinning at night.
I did think the Giants were going to have some issues on the defensive side of the ball coming into this season, but regardless of a shaky preseason, I thought they were going to be much better offensively. They did give up 38 points last week, yes, but the offense didn’t score any points, so there isn’t just one thing you can point the blame on here. With the lack of an effective running game, Eli Manning has lacked any consistency, and has looked disinterested in playing this year. The comments from Nicks this week don’t help either. The Giants scored some garbage points against the Broncos to improve their offensive ranking, but they’re still 19th in the league with regards to yards per game at 334.7 a game. Furthermore, the Giants aren’t scoring any points either at 18 points a game, good enough for 27th in the NFL. The Chiefs are a mirror-self of the old Giants in a way, play solid defense and let the running game dictate the flow of the game. However, the running game has been non-existent with David Wilson as the primary carrier, only rushing for an average of 25-yards per game. The Giants are dead last in the NFL on the ground, with only a 2.7 average!
Arrowhead is perhaps one of the top-5 most difficult stadiums to play in for opposing teams. The Chiefs’ defense will have a huge advantage over the Giants’ offense in this respect. They already have a great defense to begin with, but the crowd should be juiced to start the season at 4-0. They are 9th in the NFL in terms of total yards allowed, but when you look at points allowed it is pretty impressive, giving up only 11.3 per game. That puts the Chiefs in a tie with the New England Patriots and only trailing the Seattle Seahawks for most points allowed. The one area the Chiefs are susceptible is against the run, where they are 25th there, but I don’t think the Giants have what it takes to take advantage of that. With a lack of a running game, the Giants should feed into the Chiefs’ NFL 5th best pass defense. The Chiefs are one of the best in forcing turnovers as well, currently at plus-9 in turnover ratio. Conversely, the Giants can’t seem to keep the ball, either fumbling it away or Eli making a careless decision in the passing game.
As I mentioned, the Chiefs will pound the ball up the gut with Jamaal Charles and try and ugly the game up in a sense. Keeping their defense off the field and offense on, is part of why they have enjoyed so much success defending offenses. When the Chiefs get it rolling on the ground, look out, because it opens it up downfield for a dangerous play-action. I looked at this game originally and tried to make a case for the Giants, but I really can’t think of anything that justifies me making a bet on the Giants. Given the condition they are in and then having to go in a hostile environment does not bode well for the Giants. While there is still a perception that the Giants are a good team, forget it people, the Chiefs are good and the Giants are bad in 2013. I don’t see a blowout, but a 7-10 point win for Kansas City seems reasonable.
PICK: Chiefs -4 (-105)