The Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants will collide in primetime fashion on Monday night.
Andy Reid and the Chiefs enter the crucial contest in desperate fashion. Currently sitting one game below .500 and in last place in the much-improved AFC West, the Chiefs' margin for error has quickly diminished. If Kansas City hopes to salvage their season, they must embark on quite the winning streak sooner rather than later. Although they'll be heavy favorites, Kansas City will be wary of the threat posed by a surging Giants team that won its last game by the surprising margin of 22 points.
Here are three player-versus-player matchups we’re particularly excited to monitor.
TRAVIS KELCE VS. LOGAN RYAN
The Giants' defense will be faced with several difficult tasks on Monday night, including their attempts to slow down and blanket All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.
New York may approach the situation by shadowing Kelce with cornerback-turned-safety Logan Ryan. The former New England Patriot has served as the leader of the Giants' secondary since arriving in 2020. Ryan is plenty familiar with Kelce, having played against him in the AFC Championship Game in 2019, as well as a thrilling regular-season contest in November of the same year. A member of the Tennessee Titans then, Ryan was often asked to cover Kelce in one-on-one fashion. Blanketing Kelce is nearly an impossible task, but Ryan possesses the technique and smarts to put in an admirable showing if tasked with doing so.
TYREEK HILL VS. JAMES BRADBERRY AND XAVIER MCKINNEY
From one giant task to another, the physical and mental strength of this Giants secondary will be put to the ultimate test. Hill is the most explosive receiver in the NFL, but certain defenses have managed to slow him down this season by employing a very specific and certain strategy against him. As our own Jack McKessy so expertly outlined just a few weeks ago, secondaries have success bracketing Hill by using their safeties as double-team defenders and attempting to slow him down on any would-be deep attempts.
If the Giants choose to engage in such a strategy, and the game tape indicates they should, cornerback James Bradberry and safety Xavier McKinney would be the defenders to implement such an assignment.
FRANK CLARK VS. MATT PEART
The Chiefs need to get their pass rush going. Currently the league's most anemic unit in that metric, having totaled a measly eight sacks in seven games, Kansas City must apply more pressure on the opposing quarterback going forward. Two-time Pro Bowler Frank Clark has been battling injury throughout 2021, limiting him to just four appearances and zero sacks thus far. If Kansas City is to experience a defensive revelation up front, getting Clark back on the right track is of the utmost importance.
Monday represents a decent opportunity for Clark to do just that. New York's starting left tackle Andrew Thomas is on injured reserve. By all accounts, Matt Peart has performed admirably while replacing Thomas on starting quarterback Daniel Jones' blind side, but the former third-round selection out of Connecticut will face a big challenge as Clark looks to "get right."