NEW YORK GIANTS (2-5) AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-4), 8:15ET
Line: Chiefs -10, Total: 52
ONE THING THAT EVERY FAN NEEDS TO KNOW
If I Were to Tell You…
… before the season that when these two teams met on Monday Night Football in Week 8, one of the quarterbacks would be leading the NFL in turnovers, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you would have said, “of course, Daniel Jones.” But, of course, it’s not Danny Dimes but Patrick Mahomes who has given the ball away the most this season. Mahomes has thrown nine interceptions entering Week 8 (leading the league) and has lost two fumbles for a total of 11 turnovers, most in the NFL (Jared Goff, Sam Darnold and Trevor Lawrence each had 10 coming into this week). Kansas City has turned the ball over 17 times this season, which is already more than they had in all of last season (16). The Chiefs’ 17 turnovers are the most in the NFL by wide margin entering this weekend, as tied for second-most were the Texans, Jaguars, and Jets with 12 each.
On the other side, Jones has had one terrible game this year, a four-turnover debacle against the Rams (3 INT, 1 fumble lost) in which his starting left tackle was injured in the first half. Outside of that game, Jones has one interception on the season — an end-of-half Hail Mary — and one lost fumble. Still, added together, his six turnovers this season are nearly half of Mahomes’ 11 and Jones is averaging less than one per game. Last season, Jones turned the ball over 16 times, equaling the number of turnovers that the Chiefs had as a team in 2020. Although Jones is protecting the ball better, he’s struggling to get the team in the end zone, throwing for only five passing scores in seven games this season. He’s thrown multiple TD passes in a game once this year (Week 4 against the Saints), which is fewer than the number of times that he’s thrown zero in a game (twice).
TRENDS THAT EVERY SPORTS BETTOR NEEDS TO KNOW
The Chiefs have struggled this season and haven’t looked anything like the Super Bowl contender they were supposed to be. Last year, they made it to the Super Bowl and were a dominant team throughout the season. Would it surprise you to find out that in the Chiefs last eight regular-season games last season they went 0-7-1 against-the-spread? Adding in 2021, the Chiefs are 2-12-1 ATS in their past 15 regular-season games. In the 15 games prior to that stretch, they were 12-3 ATS. It seems like Vegas tried to correct the lines on Chiefs’ games, and possibly overcorrected.
Jones has crazy home/road splits when it comes to covering the spread. At home, Jones has struggled; he’s 5-12 ATS in home starts in his career. On the road, he’s been a cover-monster going 11-5 ATS (his only failed road cover this season was at Dallas, but he left the game with injury).
Dating back to 2017, the Giants have been an underdog of at least 10 points seven times, and they are 6-1 ATS in those games. The Chiefs, on the other hand, have been favored by double-digits 15 times since 2015, and have gone 5-10 ATS in those games, including losing three straight and four of their last five.
The bets (63%) and the money (67%) are on Kansas City, despite the struggles and the inflated spread. However, Action Network is reporting sharp action on the Giants. While the tickets are split 50/50 on both sides of the total, 68% of the money is on the Over. Again, though, the sharp action is on the Under.
ANALYTICAL ANALYSIS THAT EVERY SPORTS NERD NEEDS TO KNOW
Gotta Score from in Close
As we mentioned earlier, Jones has struggled to get the ball in the end zone through the air. One of the big problems for the Giants has been in the red zone; they are the worst in the NFL at converting red-zone opportunities into touchdowns at 45%. Only three teams in the league score touchdowns on less than 50% of drives: the Giants, Colts and Lions. This is good a matchup for the Giants to turn that mark around; the Chiefs are tied for fourth-worst at preventing red-zone touchdowns (opponents score TDs on 73.1% of drives that get inside their 20-yard line).
Despite being tied for an NFL-worst, minus-10 turnover differential, the Chiefs have three wins on the season. The team that they’re tied with, Jacksonville, has one victory. The teams just ahead of them, Jets at -8 and 49ers at -7, have two and three wins, respectively. One area that Kansas City has been very strong offensively is on third down. The Chiefs have converted on 57% of third downs this season, which is 7 percentage points better than any NFL team (Buffalo is second at 50%). Those are the only two NFL teams who are converting on at least half of their third downs. The Giants are a solid third-down defense, ranking 13th by allowing opponents to convert on 38% of third-down attempts. On the other side of the ball, Kansas City is one of the worst defenses at preventing third-down conversions; opponents are converting on 49% of third downs. The Giants are a bottom-10 offensive team on third down, converting 39% of attempts.
Kansas City’s defense has been quite bad this season, and not just on third down. They Chiefs are allowing opponents to gain 6.6 yards per play, which is the worst mark in the NFL. Opposing teams are scoring 29 points per game, tied for fifth-most. They are one of four teams allowing opposing QBs to average 8+ yards per pass attempt, and the other three teams (Detroit, Jacksonville, Houston) have two wins combined. They also allow 4.7 yards per rushing attempt, tied for fourth-worst. KC is also one of two defenses (with Houston) in the bottom-five in both yards per pass attempt and yards per rush attempt. The Chiefs average 1.1 sacks per game on defense, worst in the NFL, and they generate sacks on 3.3% of opponents dropbacks which is also the lowest mark in the league.
While the spotlight has been on the struggles of Mahomes, the Chiefs defense has arguably been the worst in the NFL this season. The offense will likely rebound at some point; they have too much talent not to be better than they’ve been so far. But if the defense doesn’t start playing a lot better, it might not matter.