If you polled a group of NFL fans prior to the season and told them either the Giants or Chiefs would be 3-0 while the other 0-3 heading into their Week 4 matchup, the vast majority would have likely predicted New York to be the undefeated team. After all, the Chiefs were coming off a 2-14 season while New York was considered to be a potential Super Bowl team.
Instead, it's the Chiefs who are 3-0 and the Giants are left searching for their first win of the season. With their 26-16 win against Philadelphia last week, the Chiefs topped their 2012 win total, just three weeks into the season. Defensively, the Chiefs pressure the quarterback and force turnovers. Kansas City leads the NFL in sacks and ranks fourth in takeaways. Offensively, protecting the ball is one of the top priorities and Kansas City has yet to turn the ball over.
The reasons for Kansas City's success have also been the cause of New York's problems. The Giants have turned the ball over a NFL-high 13 times and their 11 sacks allowed are the fourth-most in the league. New York has allowed 115 points through three games, 17 more than any other team in the league.
Meet the Chiefs
The NFL has morphed into a passing league, but that's not who the Chiefs are. Kansas City is 27th in the NFL in passing yards, instead opting to take care of the football, run the ball and rely on its stout defense. Alex Smith has done a solid job of managing the game, avoiding risks and putting the Chiefs in positions to win. He proved he could throw the ball when needed against Philadelphia, finishing with 273 yards.
Kansas City's defense has been among the best in the league. The Chiefs are allowing 11.3 points per game, trailing only Seattle. Justin Houston has been close to an unstoppable force rushing the passer, racking up 7.5 sacks in three games. Dontari Poe has also played extremely well on the inside. With no giveaways and nine takeways, the Chiefs lead the league with a plus-9 turnover differential.
Meet the Giants
After losing a pair of competitive games to open the season, the Giants took a beating in Week 3, losing 38-0 to Carolina. It was the third straight game New York's defense allowed at least 36 points. New York has struggled to stop the run this season, an issue which Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs will likely attempt to exploit.
Eli Manning has racked up passing yards, partially because he's had very little support from the running game. New York is last in the NFL in rushing and David Wilson, Da'Rel Scott and Brandon Jacobs have combined to average 2.4 yards per carry. Wilson is yet to top 40 rushing yards in a game this season and has lost two fumbles.
With nine interceptions and four lost fumbles, New York has already turned the ball over 13 times this season. The Giants committed 21 turnovers during the entire 2012 season.
Local Takes: Kansas City
Kansas City's start has been impressive and if the Chiefs continue to play well, they could make some NFL history on Sunday. Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride has the details:
Right now, the Chiefs are one of five teams in NFL history to start 3-0 after at least 14 losses the previous season. The 1980 Detroit Lions hold the NFL record with four straight wins to start the season after losing that many games the year before. The Chiefs can tie the Lions for the NFL record with a win on Sunday against New York.
Local Takes: New York
New York and Kansas City enter the game coming off very different results, something Big Blue View noted:
The Chiefs will be coming off a win over Reid's former team, the Eagles, in Philadelphia. The Giants are coming off a humbling 38-0 loss to the Panthers in which they got completely dominated on both sides of the ball.
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A couple of NFL records the Chiefs could topple this weekend http://t.co/gpY5ie3NsW— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) September 24, 2013
@adamteicher -- Chiefs beat writer
This a team that didn't have a lead until 9th game last season. MT @SandoESPN Most offensive plays while leading this season: Chiefs 148— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) September 25, 2013
@NYPost_Schwartz -- Giants beat writer
Defiant Rolle: Giants got needed wake-up call | New York Post http://t.co/2TWF3lcGqD— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) September 24, 2013
All five of SB Nation's NFL analysts making picks predicted the Chiefs to win this week.
According to OddsShark, the Chiefs opened as a 4-point favorite. The over/under was set at 44.5 points.
Kansas City will play its final road game until November next week when it travels to Tennessee to take on the Titans.
New York returns home for a NFC East battle against Philadelphia.