Chiefs vs. Cowboys: Getting To Know The Enemy

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The Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) are set to take on the Dallas Cowboys (1-0) this Sunday in the Chiefs home opener at Arrowhead Stadium. This is Andy Reid‘s first regular season game at Arrowhead, and he’ll be looking to put on a good show for the home crowd.

Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) scrambles during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) scrambles during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs’ thumping of the Jaguars last week was enough for Vegas to put the point spread at 1.5 in favor of the Chiefs. Dallas is coming off an emotional prime time win against their biggest rival, the Giants, and are dealing with a few injuries.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo got sandwiched between two Giants defenders late in the first half of Sunday night’s game. Romo finished out in their victory, but played rather gingerly, showing signs of discomfort when he would throw the ball. Romo’s x-rays showed that an injury had occurred, but it’s only been labeled as bruised ribs, and he will definitely be starting against the Chiefs this week.

Dallas receiver, Dez Bryant also sustained an injury late in the fourth quarter. Bryant’s injury is listed as a left foot sprain, and they’re not certain on whether or not he will go this Sunday. According to Dallasnews.com, Bryant wasn’t in a walking boot, and the Cowboys don’t seem to think the injury is too serious. He’s been listed as day-to-day.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne suffered a dislocated shoulder in Sunday night’s game, but was able to make a return and finish. Claiborne is expected to go against the Chiefs this Sunday, but it’s uncertain how effective he can be. Giants quarterback, Eli Manning threw at Claiborne early and often, setting up huge plays with Giants wide receiver, Victor Cruz. If the Cowboys do not have a healthy Claiborne,  it could be big for the Chiefs on Sunday

A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS:

Chiefs coach Andy Reid knows the Cowboys well after spending the last 14 seasons in Philadelphia. Coach Reid is 17-12 all time against the Cowboys. He and his new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, might be coaching one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. The Chiefs enter the game as the number 1 ranked defense, and will be looking to continue to build off their dominance from last week.

Speaking of defense, the Cowboys come into Kansas City ranked 30th in total defense. The Giants turned the ball over six times in Sunday nights game against Dallas, but still had an opportunity to win late. The Cowboys defense surrendered 478 yards of total offense and 4 passing touchdowns, three of which were to Victor Cruz alone.

Dallas only gave up 50 rushing yards, but it’s hard to tell if that was because of Dallas’ dominance, or the Giants having to play from behind. Dallas hired defensive coordinator, Monty Kiffin and has switched to a 4-3 and cover two type defense this season. Eli Manning was able to expose a lot of the holes in their coverages last week, really showing that Dallas is still in an adjustment period. Alex Smith is a smart player, and Andy Reid will likely have a plan to find open space in the Cowboys “leaky” secondary.

The Cowboys were able to come up with those 6 takeaways from the Giants offense and scored 14 points, including a pick six for former Chiefs’ corner back Brandon Carr. Dallas took advantage of the Giants mistakes, and were able to pull out the sloppy victory.

Chiefs quarterback, Alex Smith had a QB rating of 94.4 on Sunday in their win over the Jaguars. Smith was extremely efficient completing 21-34 passes for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns, giving him a completion percentage of 61.8. The Chiefs offense was superb when entering the RED ZONE.

The Chiefs offense was in the red zone three times Sunday afternoon, finishing with three touchdowns. That number is remarkable considering the Chiefs had a red zone scoring average of 27.03% all last season. Alex Smith is known to be a red zone guru in the pocket, and he didn’t disappoint for the Chiefs against Jacksonville.

Though the Chiefs were effectively moving the ball last Sunday, they also had to punt ten times one of which, was blocked. The silver lining out of this is that the Chiefs were punting instead of turning the ball over. Chiefs Punter Dustin Colquitt was very effective in pinning the Jaguars deep on their own side of the field. Between poor field position and dominating defense from the Chiefs, Jacksonville couldn’t move the ball past the 50 yard line until the fourth quarter. Dominating field position against Dallas could be the difference in the game.

MATCH-UPS TO WATCH:

Chiefs number one overall pick, Eric Fisher, played pretty well against Jacksonville last week, but will certainly have his hands full against Dallas. The Cowboys have one of the best pass rushers of this generation in linebacker, Demarcus Ware. Ware has been in the league for eight seasons now, bringing his sack total to 108.5, making him one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL. Fisher won’t have to face him the whole game, but Dallas will definitely find ways to get Ware matched up with the rookie. Fisher will for sure be tested.

Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe was only targeted six times last week, catching four passes for 30 yards. Bowe will be facing his former teammate, Brandon Carr in what should be an intriguing match-up. Giants receiver, Victor Cruz went off on the Cowboys secondary last week with 5 receptions for 115 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bowe is capable of a big game, and the Cowboys might not have an answer for him. It should be fun to watch these two go at it.

It will be interesting to see how the Chiefs try to defend Cowboys tight end, Jason Witten. Witten caught 8 passes for 70 yards and 2 TD’s against the Giants last week. The Cowboys tight end is Tony Romo’s security blanket, and the Chiefs need to find a way to keep him covered, especially on third down and in the red zone. The Chiefs match-up well with Dallas on the outside, but safety Eric Berry has a bad track record of covering tight ends. Coach Sutton needs to come up with creative ways to minimize Witten’s production, otherwise he will be a huge pain for the Chiefs in this game.

If the Chiefs want to take their record to 2-0, they need to get after Tony Romo. Linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali need to be in Romo’s face all game. Romo has shown throughout his career that, when pressured, he will make bad decisions and turn the ball over. The attack style defense from the Chiefs has potential to really hit Dallas in the mouth in this game. Keep an eye on DOntari Poe in the middle of the defensive line, as well. He was a destructive force at Jacksonville.

Arrowhead will be hostile, and Dallas might be in for a long day if the Chiefs play with the same type of confidence and emotion they did last week.

The game kicks off at 12 p.m. CDT on Fox.

 

 

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Tags: Alex Smith Andy Reid Dallas Cowboys Dwayne Bowe Kansas City Chiefs

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