Kansas City Chiefs-New York Giants: Three Key Matchups

Russell FikeCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 05:  Brandon Flowers #24 of the Kansas City Chiefs jogs off field during the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America on October 5, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

After at least appearing to be competitive in their first two games, the Chiefs (0-3) return to Kansas City after a crushing defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Three. Things do not get easier in Week Four, as the Chiefs continue their tour of the NFC East.

They host a 3-0 team that is only one season removed from being the Super Bowl champs in the New York Giants.


Key Matchups

Kansas City’s Young Secondary vs. New York’s Young Receivers

Perhaps because former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards was a defensive back himself, the only set of players left relatively intact from his tenure as Kansas City's coach is the secondary.

The second-year duo of Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr on the corners is the cornerstone of an exemplary up-and-coming group. Both Carr and Flowers have played well, but have missed opportunities at game breaking plays.

Teamed up with a former seventh-round pick and K.C. regular Jarrad Page, and the veteran two-time pro bowler from Chicago, Mike Brown, Kansas City fields an athletic, hard-hitting group.

None of New York’s three receivers atop their depth chart are over the age of 24 and only one has played more than two seasons in the NFL. Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon are in seasons three and four, respectively, with Mario Manningham proving himself to be a young playmaker in his second season.

It’s true that Eli Manning will have time against the K.C. pass rush, and with time he can pick apart a talented secondary. But the onus falls upon Kansas City’s youngsters in the secondary to force coverage sacks.


Todd Haley vs. Trust Issues

The expression “running scared” has been used to effectively describe the play of Kansas City through three weeks. Head coach Todd Haley has not allowed his players the freedom to make mistakes in an attempt to be competitive.

Rather, crippled by the fear of not doing something the “Haley way" most players have botched opportunities to make a play.

The team appears to crumble under the rigidity of the iron fist approach of the current coaching staff.

Ask your players to give their best and don’t attempt to shelter them within a game of watered down play-calling and double digit punt attempts.

If this team doesn’t win soon, Haley will prove himself as a very difficult coach for whom to play. The punitive approach may help the team stay fit, but it will inhibit the mindset beneficial to playing football.


Kansas City Offensive Line vs. New York Defense

The G-Men had 42 sacks last year and led the league with 53 the year before that. New York is a team known for formations that confuse an offense by moving linemen before the snap and changing looks from what was shown pre-snap.

That said, New York currently ranks 25th in the NFL (tied with Kansas City), having accumulated only three sacks on the year.

Still, the porous Chiefs offensive line will have their hands full. Kansas City continues to play musical chairs at right tackle, as their fourth starter since the start of preseason—former Patriot Ryan O’Callaghan—takes the spot of Ikechuku Ndukwe.

O’Callaghan joins a unit largely blamed for Kansas City’s lack of offensive production. That may unfortunately tell the tale of the season unless this unit can begin to prove some people wrong. There’s no better time to start proving their worth than against the vaunted Giants defense in Week Four.