on September 19, 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Once a week throughout the 2013 season, we will focus upon on a player or matchup that could prove troublesome for the Giants in their upcoming game. This week’s spotlight is on the Chiefs’ ferocious pass rush.
The Kansas City Chiefs lead the NFL in sacks, and they will likely add to that total Sunday against the Giants.
This is not a knock on the Giants’ offensive line, which will be closely scrutinized Sunday after Eli Manning was sacked seven times in the 38-0 loss to Carolina on Sunday. Instead, it’s a nod to the Chiefs’ ability to rush and cover. It’s also a nod to the Giants’ need to attack in the passing game on Sunday.
Make no mistake — the Giants have a tough matchup in Kansas City’s defense. The Chiefs, who have notched 15 sacks, can counter the Giants’ top offensive skill — their passing — like few teams can.
However, the Giants can’t change who they are on offense. They have above-average passing game talent. They have to play to their strength.
Of course, to show this strength, they need to protect quarterback Eli Manning. However, slowing the Chiefs’ pass rush cannot completely fall on the shoulders of the Giants’ offensive line.
The Giants’ receivers will need to pick up their play, too. They need to win their matchups against a skilled Kansas City secondary. The Chiefs’ coverage aids the pass rush in a material way.
The Giants’ play-calling also needs to help the pass protection. Shorter, quicker throws would help. An early screen pass or two would make sense, too. Screens can be effective against defenses that charge up the field after the quarterback.
The Giants also need to get something out of their running game. The Chiefs surrendered 264 yards to the Eagles’ excellent rushing attack in Week Three, so perhaps there’s hope for the Giants to get something going in this facet of the game. A productive running game can open up passing game opportunities and wear down a defense.
The Chiefs’ pass rush has been one of the NFL’s most formidable in September.
Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali will provide a tough test for the Giants’ offensive tackles on Sunday. Houston, who has notched an NFL-high 7.5 sacks through three games, can play with speed and with power. He was dominant against the Eagles, recording 4.5 sacks. Hali, who’s had five seasons with eight sacks or more, is a tough matchup on the other side, too.
The Giants also have to deal with nose tackle Dontari Poe, who has become a force along the interior of the Chiefs’ line. The 6-foot-3, 346-pound Poe is strong and moves well. He has 3.5 sacks through three games — an exceptional total for a nose tackle.
The Giants have their work cut out for them on Sunday. Let’s see what they’ve learned.