Aug 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) talks with San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) after the game at Arrowhead Stadium. San Francisco won 15-13. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Should Cowboys Fear Kyle Orton? Wait, I Mean Alex Smith?

Much has been made of the Kansas City defense following a dominant Week 1 performance at Jacksonville. What about the Chief’s offense? What can the Cowboys defense expect from Andy Reid’s West Coast offense, led by quarterback Alex Smith? An analysis of the Jacksonville game suggests not much, as revealed by three key statistics:

Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett smiles and celebrates with safety Barry Church (42) and defensive tackle Nick Hayden (96) after they returned a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter against the New York Giants at AT

The Chiefs punted 10 times – That’s out of 13 possessions for the entire game. They had six possessions in the second half and punted on every one of them. Their first possession of the game was a 3-and-out that resulted in a blocked punt and a safety.

The West Coast offense is not a big-play attack – its effectiveness is predicated on moving the chains. Jacksonville had a lot of success in stopping this Chiefs offense on third down; if they have to punt 10 times again this Sunday, the Cowboys will win by three scores.

The Chiefs put up just 292 yards of total offense – That’s against a Jacksonville team ranked 30th in the league last year in total defense, giving up more than 380 yards per game. Alex Smith completed 61 percent of his passes for 5.1 yards per attempt.

It’s about what you would expect from a Kyle Orton-led offense, and make no mistake, Alex Smith is Kyle Orton. Orton’s career QB rating in 72 games is 79.7; Smith’s in 81 games is 79.4. Career passing yardage: Orton 14,621, Smith 14,453. TD/INT: Orton 81/57, Smith 83/63. Career completion percentage: Orton 58.4, Smith 59.3.

They each entered the league in 2005, and they’ve both spent the bulk of their careers as starters. They’re remarkably similar players from a production and experience standpoint. As the 49ers got really good around Smith, his play improved, but don’t kid yourself – Smith is a serviceable game manager, not a playmaker. Kyle Orton may be the perfect practice foil to prepare the Dallas defense for Sunday’s game.

The Chiefs’ longest scoring drive of the day was just 57 yards – In fact, their three scoring drives averaged just 33 yards each.

Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) in the three point stance prior to the snap of the ball against the New York Giants at AT

The first touchdown followed a 36-yard punt return to the Jacksonville 24-yard-line; the second resulted from an interception near midfield that was returned to the Jacksonville 21-yard-line; the third came after Jacksonville punted from their own 20 and KC started the drive near midfield.

On the 10 drives that resulted in KC punts, the average starting point was the 27-yard-line. Their longest scoring drive on the day was just 57 yards. Without field position from special teams and the defense, this KC offense might never have found the end zone against Jacksonville.

The press is screaming “trap game.” The analysts on ESPN’s NFL Live were unanimous this week in picking the Chiefs to win. Don’t believe it – not that easy. Andy Reid is still installing his version of the West Coast offense in KC, and he has a back-up caliber quarterback to lead it. Putting up 10 punts and less than 300 yards of offense against the Jags is a rocky start.

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