When the New York Giants touch down in Kansas this weekend they do so knowing that there aren't many more chances if they are to make this season a fruitful one.
The 'Big Blue' as they are affectionately known in New York, have had a strange start to the season, yes they've lost all three of their matches so far, including NFC East games against the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles as well as a humiliating 38-0 shutout to the Carolina Panthers, but in fairness they've not been as bad as it sounds.
Star quarterback and Giants legend Eli Manning, has some of the best figures in the league with his stats reading 114 passes attempted with 67 of those made for a total of 931 yards and five touchdowns.
When you compare these stats to those of Alex Smith, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs the difference is noticeable, under his leadership the Chiefs have a completely opposite record to the Giants this term, winning all three of their games yet he has thrown one fewer touchdown and nearly 300 yards less.
So what is the problem then and why are the two teams so vastly different in terms of results, well it's all down to defence, and the giants lack of it, so far in three games the men in blue have sacked the opponents quarterback just three times, whilst the offensive-line has failed to protect Manning on 11 occasions, including seven times in the loss to Carolina, a frightening statistic.
With ball in hand I have no doubt that Manning is one of the best match winners in the league, indeed in his nine seasons he has continually led the Giants to the playoffs and on two very memorable occasions landed the big-one twice, winning the 2008 and 2012 renewals.
Such is the nature of the NFL it is possible to win raise the Vince Lombardi trophy in February without a perfect season, I just hope the Giants get their act together and protect the offence a bit more, if this happens there is no reason why Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks et al can't finish 10-6 and make a move on the biggest prize in the game.
It all starts on Sunday against the Chiefs, a win and all the. Ragtime talk of Tom Coughlin's men begins to fade, a loss and the dream becomes wafer thin.
image: © rajivpatel