Note To Giants’: Your defense can stop Patrick Mahomes. You can also score points against Kansas City.
Believe it or not, this is a very winnable game, And one that will firmly hook the cart back to the horse.
The question Monday night will be…which defense will show up? Will it be the dominant one anticipated all season long, or the slipshod version that has shown up most of the season.
The state of the Giants’ defense will be one issue on the table against Kansas City in the national telecast. You know that will be one of the key talking points in the pregame and all night long.
They also are faced with the impending trade deadline Nov. 2 in which Evan Engram, Will Hernandez and possibly others could find new landing spots for the remainder of the season.
Whether they are sellers or buyers — likely sellers at this point — will define the remainder of their season. GM Dave Gettleman has to be searching for more ways to win to possibly keep his job next season.
Daniel Jones’ weaponry box of Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, and Kenny Golladay could return this week from injuries. If any do, it will be very close to a game-time decision, the apparent message from head coach Joe Judge.
Besides his clunker against the Rams after his concussion, Jones has been a one-man show most of the season even though he doesn’t have the glowing numbers. Jones has finally developed into the team leader and complete quarterback they anticipated.
Graham Gano has been the lone consistent factor throughout the season, hitting 15 of 17 field goals.
These are some of the issues at the nearly half-way point for a 2-5 team that should be better. Yes, injures have played a part, but the lack of execution on both sides of the ball has played a bigger one.
Most of the onus has been on the defense, which severely deviated from its ranking in top third of the league last season. They were hovering near the bottom of the league until they clamped down on Sam Darnold and allowed him and his Panthers’ offense just 173 total yards
In their dominating 25-3 victory last week.
Jabrill Peppers is now lost for the season, but it shouldn’t affect the unit if they played like they did last week. It took seven weeks, and hopefully, they have found themselves.
The real litmus test will be Mahomes, who is still as deadly even though his offense is sputtering. Tennessee jumped out to a 27-0 against harem last week –mainly due to their sagging defense- and Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel kept the heat on because of Mahomes.
The other major obstacle is playing in Kansas City, where the Chiefs will be wired to prove to themselves and their rabid fans that their 3-4 season isn’t on the brink. Andy Reid will pull out all the stops in this one. His team leads the league with 17 turnovers.
Ex-Giant coordinator and head coach Steve Spagnuolu is trying to figure out what is wrong with his defensive unit that is ranked 32nd overall and against the run by Pro Football Focus. They have managed only eight sacks.
When the offense struggles with Mahomes, the defense’s weaknesses that were once covered are now radiant.
The wake-up call was last week, and the Giants are now on high alert. Strut into Kansas City and cage Mahomes to begin to strike up memories of that 6-2 second half of last year.
Or limp out and wonder how cold it will feel in January.