A Kansas City Chiefs expert believes the Dallas Cowboys have the edge in their upcoming Week Nine matchup mainly due to injuries.
The 4-3 Dallas Cowboys have a pivotal contest with the 6-2 Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, as Dallas attempts to keep pace the the NFC East leading 7-1 Philadelphia Eagles. Fortunately for the Cowboys, they will have the services of running back Ezekiel Elliott to matchup against the Chiefs poor run defense.
1. What worries you the most heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys?
MC: The Chiefs have lost two of three and even the win over Denver was because Trevor Siemian gifted several throws directly into the hands of Chiefs defenders. That’s not a good sign that the defense went from stifling the Patriots in Week 1, the Eagles in Week 2 and so on to a midseason downward spiral.
The Chiefs couldn’t touch Big Ben or Le’Veon Bell in a loss to Pittsburgh and they have a far worse OL than Dallas. There’s enough assets on Dallas’s side for me to see an upset coming for a team that’s just trying desperately to get to the bye week (next week for K.C.).
2. Can you name one player on offense and one on defense that will surprise Cowboy fans in this contest?
MC: If you haven’t seen Tyreek Hill play in person, it’s really incredible. He really is the single fastest player in the NFL, which means he can change the game on any play on offense or as a returner.
The Chiefs just haven’t had a weapon like this in a long time. On defense, the Chiefs have a real standout among the line in Chris Jones. Both he and Hill were just rookies last year (in the 5th and 2nd rounds respectively) and both are now anchors on the offense and defense with very high ceilings still ahead of them.
3. What is the Chiefs’ biggest strength as a team and their biggest weakness?
MC: The Chiefs are Andy Reid. They are creative (sometimes too much so). They are resilient. They are stable. They won’t make mistakes and they’re patient enough to wait for you to make them. That sort of demeanor is their biggest strength because they really are never out of it (literally two plays that include balls bouncing off of helmets are the difference between the Chiefs at 6-2 and being 8-0).
The weakness right now is a run defense that gives and gives and gives. If Dallas keeps feeding their backs from beginning to end, the Chiefs will not be able to stop it.
4. Alex Smith and Dak Prescott have both been labeled game-managers. Can you address their similarities and differences as quarterbacks?
MC: They are both efficient, but not throwing interceptions does not mean not taking chances. Alex Smith is the top-rated deep passer in the NFL right now, more than any supposed gunslinger in the NFL. Quick QB descriptions are silly since the position is so complicated, and it’s given fans the wrong idea about Smith. This year with Tyreek Hill, DeMarcus Robinson and other speedy targets, Smith is taking chances downfield and converting more than anyone else.
5. What’s your final prediction for the game and why?
MC: I think the Cowboys win because injuries have simply taken their toll way too much. Justin Houston is hurting, but there’s no way he misses the game. And he’s the lone healthy pass rusher. Tamba Hali is active, but he hasn’t even practiced for months. Dee Ford will likely sit out (or be questionable) with a back injury.
There’s literally no one else to be afraid of in terms of rushing the quarterback. If the defensive line looked like they did the first few games, that’s one thing, but the Chiefs have relegated to 2016 for some reason with a softer approach that yields yards and waits patiently for mistakes. I think it’s the sort of game that Dallas will simply want more than K.C.