The Chiefs need to show improvements on both sides as they head into their Monday night showdown against New York.
The Chiefs are 3-4 after playing one of the toughest schedules to start the season. Kansas City has lost to every AFC division leader and has been sluggish after the Super Bowl loss.
There are several reasons for this, but the season is long from over. The Chiefs face off against the two-win New York Giants in what feels like a must-win game for quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
To bounce back from this start, the Chiefs will need to assert their dominance over an inferior opponent in Week 8.
Take care of the football
The Chiefs have continued to turn the ball over the season. In Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans, the Chiefs turned it over three times.
In fact, Kansas City is worst in the league with a -10 turnover ratio, according to Fox Sports. To be a playoff team, never the less a Super Bowl contender, the turnovers must be limited.
Mahomes has suffered bad luck with tipped interceptions this season. But the offense can’t force the issue and put themselves in bad positions.
Fumbles have been a routine occurrence as well, which needs to be in check for them to make the playoffs. The Chiefs need to limit their turnover mistakes.
These mistakes put the defense in a bad position. Which has been clear, as they rank near the bottom for basically every defensive category.
Create more pressure
The Chiefs’ defensive line has struggled to create pressure on the quarterback. The defense ranks last in the league for sacks this season.
With the contracts of defensive linemen Frank Clark and Chris Jones, this production has been unacceptable. They combine for roughly $40 million and their lack of production has been evident and missed by the defense.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has basically run for his life behind the Giants’ offensive line. Jones has been sacked 97 times already in his career, 45 times alone last season.
The defensive line needs to see improvements against the Giants. If they can’t create pressure, that’s a major red flag for the defensive line moving forward, especially with the unit already struggling.
Take what the defense gives you
The Kansas City offense continues to see a two-high safety scheme being used against them, which has caused wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman to be limited on the deep ball.
This season, Mahomes has taken chances and been unsuccessful. Mahomes is tied with Jets quarterback Zach Wilson for most interceptions this season with nine.
It is clear the Chiefs have the offensive talent to make this work. Especially adding in All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, this offense needs to utilize short gains.
More emphasis there will cause defenders to react and then Mahomes and company can unleash their normal big-play bombs the NFL is used to seeing.
The Chiefs are clearly the superior team in this matchup with the Giants. This season, the Chiefs have taken care of their lesser opponents.
In this game, the Chiefs need to improve their ball security, pass rush and take the openings their opponents give them. Using them in this game is important, but sustaining a high level of play is needed to ensure a successful season down the road.