The Chiefs are 3-0 and one of the most pleasant surprises in the NFL this season. The Giants are 0-3, and though I'm hesitant to label them as one of the worst teams in the league -- though that might be because their Super Bowl-winning reputation precedes them in my mind -- a case could be made that they actually are.
What, then, to make of this betting line: as of Tuesday, the Chiefs are giving 4.5 at home. One of only seven undefeated teams this year playing for a coach that's rejuvenated the organization vs. one of the most-frustrating squads in the league which has switched places with the Jets as New York's most-dysfunctional football franchise.
How is this line only -4.5 for the Chiefs? How could you not put your money on Kansas City?
Here are three reasons you should.
1) The Chiefs, with Alex Smith as their quarterback, don't make many mistakes. Through three games, Smith is completing 61.0 percent of his passes for 669 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions and a quarterback rating of 92.1. As I wrote last Thursday, when Kansas City needed a game-winning drive from its quarterback vs. the Eagles, Smith managed the offense to perfection. Do the Chiefs have the most exciting offense in the league, the most heart-pumping version of the West Coast offense? No on both counts. But does it work? So far, with Smith in charge, the answer is an unequivocal yes.
2) The Giants are a mess. They rank 27th in the league in rushing defense, and they've allowed 11 sacks, the fourth-worst mark in the NFL. Without the departed Ahmad Bradshaw and the injured Andre Brown, they're the worst rushing team in the league (also, David Wilson has not yet lived up to his potential as a 2012 first-round draft pick), and quarterback Eli Manning has thrown a league-high eight interceptions. Not only that, but there are reports of in-fighting, and former Giants linebacker Carl Banks weighed in on the team's chemistry issues by saying, “They don't like each other. They're not willing to fight for each other.” Like I said, New York is a mess, and I don't see the team cleaning it up by this weekend.
3) Kansas City's front-seven is scary. The Chiefs are ranked in the top-10 in defense, and that's mostly because the pass defense sits at No. 6. But the team's defensive line and linebacker groups make up one of the toughest front-sevens in the league. The improvement by nose tackle Dontari Poe (3.5 sacks) and the strong play by Tyson Jackson and Mike Devito (who are the No. 3 and No. 4-ranked 3-4 defensive ends in the league, according to Pro Football Focus' metrics) have been impressive. Then, you've got linebackers like Tambi Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston. All of them are dynamic players, and even Akeem Jordan has played well this season. This is a terrifying group, and a group that will stop the Giants offense from doing much of anything Sunday.
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