After limping into their bye week, the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs hope to take advantage of a soft second-half schedule and pull away from the pack. That stretch begins with a trip to face the struggling New York Giants on Sunday.
Kansas City was the best team in the NFL during a dominant 5-0 start, but it has stumbled to three losses in its last four games - including a 28-17 defeat at Dallas last time out. “We’ve got a lot of room to improve,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters. “We’re not good enough right now, so we’ve got to keep working, so that’s where it always starts. That’s the one great thing about football, you always have something you can get better at.” The Giants have plenty of areas in which they can improve – they’ve been outscored by 88 points during a 1-8 start and are coming off a 31-21 loss at previously winless San Francisco, which prompted a candid meeting. “We were brutally honest with each other,” New York coach Ben McAdoo told reporters. “We’ll see how the players respond, but we also talked about the great opportunity in front of us.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chiefs -10.5. O/U: 46.5
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (6-3): Kansas City still boasts the No. 5 offense in the league, but the unit has slowed down some after a hot start led by Alex Smith and rookie running back Kareem Hunt. The Chiefs have totaled fewer than 325 yards in three of their last four games, and they’ve committed three turnovers in the past two contests after just one giveaway in their first seven games. The defense is a big concern for Kansas City, which ranks 30th in total defense but 19th in scoring defense thanks to 13 takeaways.
ABOUT THE GIANTS (1-8): Eli Manning will make his 209th consecutive start at quarterback, but it seems more and more likely that his tenure in New York is winding down. The Giants have the 28th-ranked scoring offense in the league, and they’ve been even worse on the other side of the ball. New York ranks 31st in total defense and has surrendered at least 400 total yards in four straight games and five of the last six.
1. Reid’s teams are 16-2 in games following a week off.
2. Giants rookie TE Evan Engram has caught a touchdown pass in four straight contests.
3. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce has a touchdown reception in each of his last three games.
PREDICTION: Chiefs 34, Giants 20