Folger’s Forecast: Giants at Kansas City

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”  It’s an old adage that should apply to these Giants, but we’re still waiting for it to happen.  If it didn’t show in their play last week, what makes anyone think that the Giants will play with desperation this week?

At the very least, desperation should manifest itself in gang-tackling, both on defense and specials teams.  It’s also time that the offensive line started playing with desperation, but from what we’ve seen it’s more likely that as a group, they’re just not good enough.

The Chiefs are 3-0 with two road wins under their belt and a one-point victory over the Cowboys at home.  Andy Reid’s Eagles always played the Giants tough, and the Chiefs front seven, like Carolina’s, is very strong.  This match-up does not favor the Giants in any way.

We think “winning individual battles” should be this week’s operative phrase.  The offense needs to start winning some individual battles out there, and it has to start up front.

It certainly doesn’t help when oft-injured David Baas and Chris Snee are already banged up.  Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?  Is it time to insert James Brewer and Brandon Mosley into the lineup and live with their growing pains? Or do they return to David Diehl, who just a few short weeks ago most fans couldn’t wait to run out of town on a rail?

The team also has to hope that Will Beatty’s amateurish performance last week was an aberration.  He’s got a big target on his back now, and has to show he has the gumption to get up off the floor and come out swinging.

We’re not sure that Eli Manning is equipped to make this current offense work.  Manning’s always helped his offensive line by getting rid of the ball under pressure and avoiding the sack, but when the pressure is coming from a simple four-man rush, there’s oft-times nowhere to even throw the ball away.

To our eyes, the only way out of this morass if for the team to fully commit to getting the ball in David Wilson’s hands, both on the ground and through the air.  Wilson has the talent to be a difference-maker.  He just has to learn to make a difference for his own team.

If the Giants can give Wilson just a little running room, he’s already shown the ability to make things happen.  The coaches need to feed him the ball.  Getting him established will then open things up in the passing game, which should be a strength, but right now cannot function with the pocket collapsing as it has been.

The bad news is that Kansas City has two very good edge pass rushers in Tamba Hali and especially Justin Houston (7.5 sacks).  Nose tackle Dontari Poe is a real load in the middle, and safety Eric Berry is on the cusp of stardom.  This defense has talent.

It will be imperative that the Giants get yards on first down.  The offensive line appears to be ill-equipped to block the Chiefs’ pass rushers on sure passing situations so max-protection may be the answer at times.

The coaches will have to be as creative as they’ve ever been to keep the Chiefs off of Eli Manning’s back.

The Chiefs’ offense revolves entirely around running back Jamal Charles, whom we think is one of the best backs in the league.  With the safe-throw style of quarterback Alex Smith, the Giants’ defense should be able to crowd the line of scrimmage and get off the field.  If they allow Smith to stay in his comfort zone, this game will not go well.

Smith has a great receiver in Dwayne Bowe and a solid complement in Donnie Avery to go to, but he’s still Alex Smith.  If the Giants can force him to beat them with his arm, they’ll have a chance because Smith simply cannot throw the ball downfield.

This defense needs to start running to the ball and gang tackling.  Right now there’s little communal commitment to being a physical group.  The defensive tackles are playing well, and so are the safeties, but that’s about it.

The Giants’ young linebackers will be forced to make a lot of plays in the short zones, and that worries us because thus far, they haven’t shown that they’re good enough.

If we were the Chiefs we would force Jacquian Williams (assuming he plays) and Keith Rivers to make decisions, which they haven’t shown that they can do well, don’t do well), and go after Mark Herzlich out of the backfield with anyone.

The matchups simply do not favor the Giants on either side of the ball.  Until their defensive ends start flying around the field out there, this defense will continue to look slow and lethargic.

The defensive strategy continues to give up too many eight- and nine-yard “free” pass completions.  The players need to be allowed to contest every play, and thus give their defensive line a chance to hit the quarterback.  We’re getting tired of seeing the ball out of the quarterbacks hand before the defensive line can make a play.

Once again, an opposing team will run out a natural punt return threat in smallish Dexter McCluster while the Giants have the long-legged Rueben Randle back there providing zero threat.  The Giants thought they had drafted their punt returner in Jerrel Jernigan but he’s been a colossal disappointment.

The Chiefs’ Ryan Succop will likely drive every kickoff out of the end zone and so will Josh Brown, which will once again push the kickoff play closer to obsolete status, which is probably what the league wants.

The one player to watch on special teams is Damontre Moore, who is probably the biggest gunner in the league.  With Will Hill due back after this game, at least the Giants will be running out two very physical gunners out there every week.  That’s something.

 This week’s game in Kansas City is a terrible match-up for the Giants.  We don’t see any way that they can succeed, other than winning the turnover battle and/or forcing Alex Smith to beat them with his arm.  If the game goes any other way, the Giants could lose, and lose big.

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