NEED TO GET THAT FIRE BURNING
The Giants don’t have to win Sunday’s game against the Chiefs on the scoreboard.
Sure, that would be nice. It would end a three-game skid and give them their first home victory of the season. But the outcome everyone from the media to the fans to the coaches will be looking for has nothing to do with the number of touchdowns and field goals. It’ll have to do with effort.
After last week’s game against the 49ers in which a number of Giants players were either quitting or, as Ben McAdoo euphemistically called it, “lacking a desire to finish,” the team will be judged Sunday by its guts and not its end result.
McAdoo, for his part, did his best to address the situation with a “brutally honest” meeting in which he called out some players on Wednesday.
“When things creep onto your game film that you don’t see on the practice field, it’s a concern and something that we had to squash right away and make sure that everyone involved — players and coaches — all knew that it wasn’t acceptable,” McAdoo said.
The Giants have lost plenty of games this season. Last week’s?
“It had a different feel,” McAdoo admitted. “Again, it’s not every player, it’s not every position group, and I want to make sure I don’t divide the coaches and the players, because the coaches are a part of it, too. But there were things on the film that we don’t want to have anything to do with, and it’s the first time that I saw them this year . . . We’ve had some tough, disappointing losses, but the way we played and what we put on film in some areas, we didn’t deserve to win that ballgame.”
So all eyes will be on who runs to tackles and who runs away from them, who finishes their blocks and who peels off. Who, to use McAdoo’s metaphor, heads toward the storm.
“We need to run to adversity and we need to run through adversity,” he said. “When adversity strikes on game day, we haven’t handled it as well as we need to handle it. Now, these next seven games, the story hasn’t been written yet. We can go out, we can flip the script. I believe we will.”
TIME TO TIGHTEN UP
The Giants have faced some good tight ends and some not-so-good tight ends this season. They all seem to have one thing in common, though: A souvenir touchdown ball from their game against the Big Blue defense.
The Giants have allowed 10 touchdowns to tight ends in nine games this season, and they have allowed at least one TD to a tight end in an NFL record 10-straight regular games going back to last year’s finale. And now comes one of the NFL’s top players at the position in Travis Kelce of the Chiefs.
“I think it starts with Kelce,” Ben McAdoo said of the Chiefs’ passing game that is centered around the tight end’s team-high 51 catches for 629 yards and five touchdowns. “They like to post him up in the middle of the field. He’s a post-up type player. He’s a basketball-type player.”
Against the Giants, he may have a triple-double.
Here is a list of the tight ends who have scored touchdowns against the Giants this season:
Week 1 — Jason Witten
Week 2 — Eric Ebron
Week 3 — Zach Ertz
Week 4 — Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard
Week 5 — Hunter Henry
Week 6 — Jeff Heuerman
Week 7 — Jimmy Graham
Week 9 — Tyler Higbee
Week 10 — Garrett Celek
AIN’T THAT A KICK?
Both the Giants and the Chiefs will come into Sunday’s game with a first-year kicker. The Chiefs seem to be getting the better of their arrangement.
Harrison Butker has made 19 of 20 field goals with a long of 53 for the Chiefs this season, including 19 in a row since missing his first of the season. Aldrick Rosas, on the other hand, is 10-for-15 with a long of 51 and has missed at least one field goal attempt in each of the past four games. Last week against the 49ers he was wide right on a 34-yard attempt after successful kicks from 47 and 42.
Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said he knew there would be some challenges to having a young kicker, but he didn’t think they would happen this quickly.
“To start the year (like this), it’s kind of hard,” Quinn said. “Usually, they start off hot and then they get into a lull in the middle or towards the end.”
The Giants did bring in a few veteran kickers for workouts this week, but are sticking with Rosas for now. With points at such a premium for the team, though, it’s anyone’s guess how long they’ll be able to do that. Rosas’ misses aren’t always figuring into the final score arithmetic like it did in the two-point loss to the Bucs, but some of his more recent misses have come at critical junctures where the momentum of the game has swung away from the Giants.
“He’s just got to get it to where he’s hitting field goals,” Quinn said. “He’ll break through it. I mean, he’s got the talent. It’s just a little bit between the ears right now, so he’s just got to keep pushing through.”
CHIEFS ARE DANGEROUS AFTER BYE WEEK
Andy Reid said he has never examined why he has so much success in games coming back from a bye week, posting a 14-2 record in such games with Sunday’s game against the Giants ready to fall into that category. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to share it.
“I just try to give the guys a little breather, you know, and get them away from it a bit,” he said when asked about his impressive post-break winning percentage. “Good players. That’s normally how it works. Good players, good situations, good players. I don’t know.”
There must be something to it. His only losses in games after bye weeks came in 2012 and 2013 when he faced the Falcons and Broncos, respectively. Those teams were a combined 16-1 when he faced them. When he’s facing a losing team — like, say, the 1-8 Giants this week — he is 7-0.
“A lot’s been made about that record,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “Part of it is that he does his method the whole week, getting guys their rest, not just physically but mentally as well.”
Giants’ all-time home record against the Chiefs, although the teams have never met at MetLife Stadium. Their last game in New Jersey was at Giants Stadium in 2005.
Andy Reid will coach his 30th regular-season game against the Giants on Sunday. He is 16-13 in those contests.
Passer rating for Alex Smith this season, the highest in the NFL.