Quantcast

Week 2 Preview: Cowboys @ Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – If there’s such a thing as a big game in Week Two of any NFL season, Sunday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys (1-0) and Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at Arrowhead Stadium could qualify.

This is especially true for the Chiefs, as optimism is high for a turnaround with a new regime. The bad taste from last season’s 2-14 debacle under former general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel appears to be gone.

Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid 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 head coach Andy Reid during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs’ Week One destruction of the Jacksonville Jaguars only reinforced high expectations from an NFL city starved for success.

And the team appears primed for delivering with coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey.

Still, there are roadblocks on the schedule and the outcome of Sunday’s game will go a long way in establishing the Chiefs as a solid football team.

Reid sounded ready for Sunday’s test.

“We look forward to the challenge of playing the Cowboys,” Reid said during his Friday afternoon media session. “We know they’re a good football team. We welcome them into Arrowhead Stadium. I know our fans will be pumped up and ready to go.”

Tale of the tape

Offense

• The Chiefs currently rank seventh in rushing (120 yards in Week One) and 26th in passing (171 yards in Week One).

• The Cowboys rank 15th in rushing (87 yards in Week One against the New York Giants) and are tied at 17th in passing (244 yards in Week One).

Defense

• The Chiefs rank 12th against the run (71 yards allowed in Week One) and first against the pass (107 yards allowed in Week One). The Chiefs also rank No. 1 overall in total defense.

• The Cowboys rank fourth against the run (50 yards allowed in Week One) and 31st against the pass (428 yards allowed in Week One).

The last time

The Cowboys last visited Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 11, 2009 and came away with a 26-20 overtime win.

Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin exploded for 10 catches and 250 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 60-yard score.

The Cowboys currently lead the all-time series, 6-3, and have won two straight meetings against the Chiefs, who last defeated the Cowboys on Dec. 13, 1998.

Shootout feel

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and the passing game wasn’t needed much during last week’s dominating win against an inept Jaguars offense. However, the Cowboys can light up a scoreboard and have numerous weapons to throw at the Chiefs defense.

“To be truthful, they just have a lot of weapons there,” Sutton said during his Thursday media session. “That’s why they’re one of the better offenses in the NFL.”

The biggest knock so far through preseason games and the first regular season contest on the Chiefs’ passing game is an apparent inability or unwillingness to take shots down the field. Of course, those feelings could have disappeared if Smith had connected with tight end Anthony Fasano on the team’s first pass last week.

Fans hoping for offense could observe plenty of passes on the menu if the Chiefs defense has problems containing the complement of Dallas receiving weapons.

Smith, who completed an efficient 21-of-34 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns last week, could land in the spotlight and he’ll have to deliver.

As for Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (quadricep, probable), the Chiefs’ best offensive weapon will be ready for Sunday’s game.

Bring the noise

Former Chiefs offensive lineman, current Cowboy Brian Waters knows what to expect at Arrowhead Stadium and he’s helped prepare his Dallas teammates, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“Look, this is probably the best team they’ve had in a while and it’s opening day there, Red Friday,” Waters said, “So it’s going to be freaking – believe me – it’s going to be loud. Those guys are going to be ready to go.”

Chiefs fans could very well have an impact on Sunday’s game. The louder it is at Arrowhead Stadium, the better for the Chiefs.

“When fans are into it, it’s real hard to play here,” Chiefs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson said on Thursday. “Hopefully it’s like that Sunday. I have a feeling it will be.”

Quotable

Running back Jamaal Charles (quadricep, probable) possibly delivered the quote of the season when asked by The Kansas City Star’s Randy Covitz during the media locker room session if he was 100 or 90 percent healthy.

“I’m ready to play percent,” Charles said.

[Note: From personally observing Charles during the portion open to the media the last two days, he looked just fine and moved around without any limitations.  Charles put in a full practice on Friday after being limited on Thursday and sitting out on Wednesday.]

Prediction

The Cowboys present numerous challenges on offense, but Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has the horses at cornerback in Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith to matchup with Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.

Ultimately, how the Chiefs account for the Dallas wide receivers and tight end Jason Witten will play heavily into the outcome.

“You just have to mix it up, mix up man and zone,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said during his Thursday media session. “You have to try to get your hands on it a little bit, but more than anything, I think, you just need to change up what’s happening out there so the quarterback’s not comfortable, Witten’s not comfortable, and then you have to play your tail off.”

Meanwhile, there’s also a familiarity factor at play on Sunday.

Most of the Chiefs coaching staff know the Cowboys from their time in the NFC East. That knowledge of Sunday’s opponent could assist in game preparations, a point Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson touched on during his Thursday media session.

“It helps in the sense that we just know their personnel,” Pederson said. “It’s a different coordinator, a little different structure that what we’ve seen in years past, but understanding their personnel and how they play and how they defend certain situations is very valuable to us as an offensive staff.”

Predicted outcome: Chiefs 27, Cowboys 21.

Friday’s official NFL Injury Report, as released by the league:

Kansas City Chiefs

Questionable: TE Travis Kelce (knee), CB Dunta Robinson (not injury related)

Probable: S Husain Abdullah (foot), G Jon Asamoah (calf), RB Jamaal Charles (quadricep), LB Nico Johnson (ankle), LB Dezman Moses (toe), T Donald Stephenson (shoulder)

Practice Report

Did not practice

Wednesday: RB Jamaal Charles (quadricep), CB Dunta Robinson (not injury related)

Thursday: TE Travis Kelce (knee), CB Dunta Robinson (not injury related)

Friday: S Husain Abdullah (foot), G Jon Asamoah (calf), RB Jamaal Charles (quadricep), LB Nico Johnson (ankle), LB Dezman Moses (toe), T Donald Stephenson (shoulder)

Limited participation

Wednesday: TE Travis Kelce (knee)

Thursday: RB Jamaal Charles (quadricep)

Friday: TE Travis Kelce (knee)

Full participation

Wednesday: S Husain Abdullah (foot), G Jon Asamoah (calf), LB Nico Johnson (ankle), LB Dezman Moses (toe), T Donald Stephenson (shoulder)

Thursday: S Husain Abdullah (foot), G Jon Asamoah (calf), LB Nico Johnson (ankle), LB Dezman Moses (toe), T Donald Stephenson (shoulder)

Friday: S Husain Abdullah (foot), G Jon Asamoah (calf), RB Jamaal Charles (quadricep), LB Nico Johnson (ankle), LB Dezman Moses (toe), T Donald Stephenson (shoulder)

Dallas Cowboys 

Out: LB Ernie Sims (groin)

Questionable: DE Anthony Spencer (knee)

Probable: WR Dez Bryant (foot), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), RB Lance Dunbar (foot), S Danny McCray (hamstring), QB Tony Romo (ribs)

Practice Report

Did not participate in practice

Wednesday: LB Ernie Sims (groin)

Thursday: LB Ernie Sims (groin), DE Anthony Spencer (knee)

Friday: LB Ernie Sims (groin)

Limited participation

Wednesday: CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), DE Anthony Spencer (knee)

Thursday: CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder)

Friday: CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), DE Anthony Spencer (knee)

Full participation

Wednesday: WR Dez Bryant (foot), RB Lance Dunbar (foot), S Danny McCray (hamstring), QB Tony Romo (ribs)

Thursday: WR Dez Bryant (foot), RB Lance Dunbar (foot), S Danny McCray (hamstring), QB Tony Romo (ribs)

Friday:  WR Dez Bryant (foot), RB Lance Dunbar (foot), S Danny McCray (hamstring), QB Tony Romo (ribs)