*The Giants look to make something out of season and turn things around starting Sunday at MetLife Stadium: *
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –Ben McAdoo's admission that he had a "brutally honest" meeting with the Giants players in the wake of last Sunday's defeat in San Francisco received much attention this week. The second part of McAdoo's revelation? Not so much.
In a nutshell, McAdoo is going to continue fighting to improve the fortunes of a team that won just once in its first nine games. He insists the story of the Giants' 2017 season has yet to be written. And McAdoo believes the Giants can have a successful seven-game finish, beginning tomorrow, when they host the 6-3 Kansas City Chiefs.
"We talked about being disappointed but being determined," McAdoo said of the Wednesday team meeting. "These guys, this group of men – they're special in a lot of ways. They've been fighting through adversity their whole lives. The players and coaches to be sitting in that room is unique and we talked about running to adversity. That's where we are in the season. We're halfway through. We have one win. Let's run right to it. We're blessed to have the opportunities that we have. Seven more weeks. I think it's a great opportunity. It's probably the greatest opportunity in my life these next seven weeks. A lot of doubt out there. Whether it's in the building or not, but there's doubt definitely on the outside. So we have a chance to flip the script these last seven weeks."
The players would like nothing more than to do just that and reverse their fortunes. They never imagined they would have just one victory the week before Thanksgiving, but they're confident in the talent and desire in the locker to step up in the second half.
"I think everyone knows we've got to play better," said Eli Manning, who will have the second-longest streak among quarterbacks in NFL history when he starts his 209th consecutive regular-season game Sunday. "It's up to guys to give great effort on every play and finish, and have a desire to go out there and do your job well."
"We all come to work for a purpose," defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. "Starting off to set a goal is to win a championship here, right? Coming up short, guys really got to motivate yourself to work. And even if you're losing, you have to motivate yourself and be the best that you can be."
Even at their best, the Giants will face a formidable challenge from the Chiefs. Kansas City has one of the NFL's most prolific offenses, one that is fifth in the NFL in scoring (28.1 points per game), and first with an average of 6.2 yards a play. Quarterback Alex Smith has thrown one interception in 293 pass attempts, and has an NFL-high 113.9 passer rating. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt is second in the league with 1,131 yards from scrimmage. Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill have combined for 91 catches and nine touchdowns. Head coach Andy Reid, who calls the plays, has long been considered one of the NFL's very best offensive coaches.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, asked what concerned him about Kansas City's offense, said, "everything." He wasn't exaggerating. Spagnuolo was an assistant to Reid for eight seasons in Philadelphia, so he well knows what his unit is up against this week.
"They're as multiple as multiple gets from an offensive standpoint,' Spagnuolo said. "And they've got really good players doing it and they've had the same players doing it, which is an advantage for them. And the guy in the middle that gets the ball in his hands every down is really good. This is a challenge, a great challenge, great opportunity for us to come out. It'd be a great thing for us to do well against this offensive football team. I've always respected Andy and what he's done. It's not the Philadelphia offense, there's more wrinkles to it, there's a lot more to it. And they obviously do a really good job and Alex Smith is having a heck of a year."
The Giants' defense struggled in losses the last two weeks to the Rams and 49ers, allowing 82 points and 947 yards. Spagnuolo, like McAdoo, expects a turnaround.
"We've got a lot of pride," Spagnuolo said. "You can use the word, your pride is hurt, you can use embarrassed, you can use whatever you want. But I do know this and I say this every Wednesday: when we go in that meeting room and it's time to get ready for another game, all that's done. There's nothing we can do about that. All we can do is about what we've got going forward and all we've got is one game in front of us. And that's what we're going to focus on right now."
That Giants believe that pride and focus get help fuel a second-half revival.
"We're hungry to get that win," Manning said.
*The Chiefs will become the final team to face the Giants in MetLife Stadium. Kansas City last played the Giants here in Giants Stadium in 2005. The Giants are 6-0 against Kansas City at home and own a 10-3 advantage in the series that began in 1974.