With two straight wins in row, the Dallas Cowboys start a tough six game stretch against one of the best teams from the AFC. Here’s what to watch for…
Could the Dallas Cowboys finally be THE Dallas Cowboys?
If the last two weeks are any indication, now could be the time that the team we expected to see in 2017 has finally arrived.
Two weeks. Two wins. Don’t bother me with who the competition happened to be. This is the NFL. Upsets happen. Teams that “shouldn’t have a chance” always seem to find ways to keep games uncomfortably close.
This is a week to week league.
So, even though people only care what the Dallas Cowboys will do this week, it’s nice to have positive momentum.
Today, Dallas faces another perennially good team from the AFC as the Kansas City Chiefs come to town. The last time Dallas played an AFC opponent, they suffered the most embarrassing loss they have had in quite some time.
Can the Cowboys keep the winning streak intact? In order to do so, here are a few things to watch for that will likely make the difference.
- Thirty is the magic number in this game for many reasons. First of all, the Kansas City Chiefs average 30 points per game in 2017. That’s good enough to be the third highest scoring team heading into Week 9.
Another reason thirty is huge? The Chiefs have won 17 of their last 18 games in which they score 30+ points in a game. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are just 2-3 in their last five
scoring 30 or more.
Lastly, in three of their four wins this year, Dallas has had the ball for over thirty minutes. Doing so today will make it hard on the Chiefs to score 30. Given recently history, I’m not so sure the Cowboys want another shootout.
- One way to dominate the time of possession will, of course, be to “feed Zeke.” Since the Cowboys were given an unexpected boost of good news, having Ezekiel Elliott available, they need to use him.
In the last two games, both victories, Elliott has 61 touches, 59 of which have been carries. The Chiefs have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, allowing over 130 yards per game. If the Cowboys want to get their third straight win, they will need to pound the Chiefs on the ground.
- If the Dallas Cowboys were smart, their preparation for this game should have focused on a team they aren’t even playing this year. The Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kansas City has lost six of their last seven games against Pittsburgh dating back to 2011. In those contests, the Chiefs never put up more than 16 points. In fact, Kansas City averages just 12.8 points per game in their losses to the Steelers. That’s a far cry from their 2017 average of 29.5.
The Cowboys can certainly replicate what the Steelers have offensively with their own triplet combination. What is more important is how Pittsburgh attacks this offense, defensively. The Steelers do not possess electrifying personnel on defense. For Dallas to win today, they would be best served mimicking the black and gold defensive scheme.
This game feels like one of the hardest to pick all year. On one hand, the Cowboys are playing more like the team we expect. On the other, the Chiefs have been on a roll over the last year and a half.
The Cowboys have not exactly been great at home either. I would feel better about picking Dallas if they had not lost three of their last four at AT&T Stadium. My heart says Dallas. My mind…