RIDE THE MOMENTUM
The Giants picked up a big win at home last Sunday with their 25-3 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The game saw strong performances from all three areas. The offense totaled 23 points and over 300 yards despite missing its top four playmakers, the defense held Carolina to just three points and 173 total yards, while the special teams were successful on all five kicking attempts (three field goals, two extra points).
On the other side, the Chiefs are coming off their biggest loss of the season as they fell to the Tennessee Titans, 27-3. While the team has already put the win behind them, the Giants will look to ride the momentum of last week's victory into Arrowhead Stadium for their matchup with the Chiefs on Monday Night Football.
"The beautiful thing about these guys is each week they start over," said Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham. "They know they've got to start over on the opponent, but it was good to get a win and good to perform defensively like you would want to. I was pleased with that. As soon as they got back here on Wednesday, they were ready to go on Kansas City and you couldn't have more of a challenging obstacle in front of you right now with this offense. It's tough, but hopefully we get out here to practice and get ready to go to see what we can do."
The Giants lead the all-time series over the Chiefs, 11-3. The most recent meeting between the two clubs came in 2017, when the 6-3 Chiefs came to MetLife Stadium for a Week 11 matchup against the 1-8 Giants. Roger Lewis led the way for the Giants with three receptions for 55 yards, including a huge catch in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal. The Giants won the game, 12-9. Big Blue has traveled to Kansas City for seven games at Arrowhead Stadium, of which they are 4-3. Their last trip to Arrowhead resulted in a 31-7 Kansas City win.
Out: RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), LB Lorenzo Carter (ankle), LB Carter Coughlin (ankle), DB Nate Ebner (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (knee)
Questionable: WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring), TE Kaden Smith (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (ankle)
Out: LB Anthony Hitchens (tricep), DT Khalen Saunders (knee)
Questionable: OL Mike Remmers (knee), CB Charvarius Ward (foot)
RETURN OF THE PLAYMAKERS?
In the Week 7 win over the Carolina Panthers, the Giants' offense was without starting running back Saquon Barkley, along with the unit's top three receivers in Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney. Despite the absence of the four playmakers, the offense was still able to put up over 300 yards of total offense and 23 points (two points came on a safety). While last week's performance was certainly encouraging, the offense hopes to get some of their explosive skill players back on the field this week.
"I thought our guys responded really well the other day," Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett said Thursday. "Again, if you think about the different pieces we're using on the offensive line and then the different skill guys who came in and played, you've heard me say this before, we've got a lot of professional guys on our team who prepare the right way and get ready for their opportunities. I thought that was in evidence the other day against Carolina.
"Having said that, guys are starters for reasons, and the other guys who have been out have been really good players for us, but we've just got to continue to control what we can control. Those guys are controlling their preparation and their rehab as best they can. They're trying to get back as fast as they can. When they come back, there will be a place for them. But in the meantime, the guys who are playing, they have to continue to embrace their opportunities and they've done that so far."
It appears as if Shepard is the most likely to suit up Monday night. The veteran receiver was a game-time decision in Week 7 and participated in practice to start this week. Shepard has 28 receptions for 299 yards and a touchdown in four games this season, including three games of at least seven receptions or 76 yards. He left the fourth game (Week 3 vs. Atlanta) early due to a hamstring injury. Toney was also able to get back on the practice field on Friday and Saturday, and both he and Shepard are listed as questionable for Monday's game. Barkley and Golladay were ruled out on Saturday.
WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE
Daniel Jones and the offense has done a solid job of protecting the football this season. Through the first seven games, Big Blue has turned the ball over nine times. Jones has improved significantly in the turnover department in his third year, throwing four interceptions with just two fumbles lost. Of those six turnovers, four came in the rough Week 6 loss against the Rams, while one of the interceptions was on a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half in New Orleans. The Giants defense has forced nine turnovers so far this year, tied for the 11th-most in the league. James Bradberry has already matched his career-high of three interceptions while Xavier McKinney has added two of his own.
The unit has a great opportunity to add to those totals on Monday, as the Chiefs come into this game with a league-high 17 turnovers, five more than any other team. Patrick Mahomes has accounted for 11 of those turnovers (nine interceptions, two fumbles), and is already just three interceptions shy of tying his career-high of 12 set in 2018. Kansas City's defense is tied for 18th in the league with seven turnovers, led by two interceptions from safety Tyrann Mathieu.
DANIEL JONES' GROWTH
While we have yet to hit the halfway mark of the season, it appears as if Daniel Jones is in the midst of taking the next step in his development. The third-year quarterback has completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 1,727 yards, although he has just five touchdown passes, in 6.5 games. He has added 41 rush attempts for 229 yards (5.6 avg.), good for the third-most rushing yards among all quarterbacks, with two touchdowns. Of course, he also added the incredible one-handed catch in last week's win to his highlight reel, displaying his all-around athleticism for all to see.
"We really try to focus on what we need to do each day. He's done a great job of that," Garrett said about Jones. "You prepare, you prepare, you prepare and then you go out there and play. I think he's clearly improving with every opportunity. I think that goes to his approach. He's someone whose always ready for the opportunities in practice and then he learns from the experiences, and he does that in the game as well as any of the guys I've been around. He'll keep getting better and better and better. We're going to keep trying to get better around him and keep growing. We'll just keep kind of focusing on that."
The Chiefs defense is allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw for around 275 yards (26th) and just under two touchdowns (20th) per game this season. But they've been struggling even more against rushing quarterbacks. Kansas City comes into this game having allowed the most rushing yards (241) and rushing touchdowns (4) to quarterbacks, an area in which Jones has found a lot of success this season.
View photos from Thursday's practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 8 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
TIME FOR THE McKINNEYS TO SHINE
The Giants lost yet another captain for the season last week, as Jabrill Peppers joined Blake Martinez and Nick Gates on injured reserve. With Peppers now out of the equation, the defense has a hole to fill in the secondary, one that they hope can be adequately filled by second-year safety Xavier McKinney. McKinney has two interceptions and five pass breakups this season, and is coming off a strong outing against the Panthers in which he earned a 73.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, including a dominant 84.8 tackling grade.
The safety is no longer the only McKinney on the Giants defense. The team signed linebacker Benardrick McKinney to the practice squad last week before elevating him for the game. The veteran only played 11 defensive snaps in his Giants debut but played well, picking up two solo tackles and a 90.6 overall grade from PFF. The 28-year-old has only been with the team for a week, but it is clear that he has already made his presence felt within the defense.
"He brings physicality, man," Xavier McKinney said this week about Benardrick McKinney. "I think we talked about it actually before the game. We just sat down as a team and just talked about some things. I know for him; his biggest thing was just to bring that physicality every play from the first play to the last play. We talked about it being two McKinney's on the field. I told him that it was going to be a problem or whatever offense that we face. It's definitely fun having him out there with us."
DON'T LET KC'S OFFENSIVE 'STRUGGLES' FOOL YOU
Through seven games, Patrick Mahomes has completed a career-best 67.5 percent of his passes for 2,093 yards and 18 touchdowns, adding another 219 rushing yards and an additional score on the ground. Yet due to his 11 total turnovers, along with the Chiefs' 3-4 record, many experts in the media have been focusing on the struggles of the offense. But let's not get it twisted, this is still one of the most (if not the most) potent offenses in the NFL. The Chiefs' offense ranks 8th in points and 3rd in yards, and have scored 30+ points in four of seven games. Mahomes' passing yards and touchdowns both rank 4th among all quarterbacks, and the offense has converted 45 of its 79 third-down attempts (57.0 percent), which is the best mark in the NFL.
"He looks like one of the best quarterbacks in the world to me," Coach Joe Judge said earlier this week about Mahomes. "This guy is – look, to be as athletic as he is, as just naturally instinctive as he is and have that kind of arm strength to make all those throws, there's a reason this guy gets paid that much money because there's not a lot of these guys walking the Earth. This guy's extremely talented. He's got a lot of savvy and experience. I think he does a great job of going through the initial reads, finding the right receiver and if something gets shut down, extending the play."
CONTAINING HILL, KELCE
There is no doubt that over the last few years, Mahomes has elevated the players around him in the Chiefs' offense. But make no mistake, Kansas City has two of the best playmakers at their respective positions. Tyreek Hill is one of the fastest players in the NFL, showing true breakaway speed that is not seen too often. Hill is near the top of the leaderboard in numerous categories, ranking 2nd in receptions (52), 5th in receiving yards (641), and 4th in targets (72). He leads the Chiefs in all of those categories, as well as receiving touchdowns in which he has five.
"He's definitely a different breed," Xavier McKinney said about Hill. "He's an athletic freak. It'll be a challenge."
Stopping Hill will be a tall task for the entire Big Blue secondary. But the young safety has another tough matchup on his own plate this week, as he will likely see a lot of five-time All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce has been one of the most consistent players in the NFL in recent years. The 32-year-old has registered 83+ receptions and 1,083+ yards in each of the last five seasons, and caught an incredible 105 passes for 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns in 15 games last year. Through seven games this season, Kelce has 45 receptions for 533 yards and four touchdowns. His receptions and yards are both the most among all tight ends.
"He can block. He can run routes. He's a very savvy guy from what I've seen," McKinney said about the talented tight end. "Just a really good tight end. I respect him a lot, we respect him as a team. I think it'll be a challenge for us, but we'll be ready."
BREAK THE MNF STREAK
Monday night games have not been kind on the Giants in recent years. Call it the curse of the black cat if you want, but the Giants have not won a game on Monday Night Football since the black cat ran across the field at MetLife Stadium during the Week 9 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. The Giants went on to lose that game, along with their Week 14 game in Philadelphia on a Monday night. Last season, the Giants went 0-2 on Mondays, losing to the Steelers in Week 1 and the Buccaneers in Week 8. In fact, if you include Thursday and Sunday night games as well, the Giants have lost each of their last eight primetime matchups. Their last win came in Week 10 of the 2018 season when they traveled to San Francisco and defeated the 49ers on Monday Night Football, 27-23.
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs ahead of their Week 8 matchup on Monday Night Football.