Edge Rush/Defensive End
It’s time to start the defensive side of the ball with some defensive ends/edge rushers. Both the Cowboys and the Chiefs have playmakers, but there was not much hype around them.
Analyzing the Cowboys’ defensive ends is tricky since there are some question marks if two will even play at all. Let’s assume they will though. Since we are already on the topic of Dallas, let’s start there.
DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys’ top defensive lineman, has had quite a successful career. While he did have a statistically down year in 2019, former teammate Robert Quinn reaped the rewards of Lawrence being double-teamed. I would expect a nice bounceback season from Lawrence.
Line him directly against the Chiefs’ top end in Frank Clark. He has been a consistent player getting at least eight sacks in four straight seasons. His tackles have been around the 40 mark, with a good history of knocking down passes.
Cowboy Tyrone Crawford can play inside or on the edge, but for now, I will list him on the edge. While he has never been a highlight reel player, he has been a consistently good player when healthy. Crawford can rack up 5.0 sacks and 35 tackles as he did in 2015 and 2018.
KC tended to switch between Tanoh Kpassagnon, Alex Okafor, and Emmanuel Ogbah opposite Clark. All were good players, albeit split opportunities.
Okafor enjoyed 5.0 sacks with 22 tackles while Kpassagnon had 4.0 sacks and 29 tackles. Ogbah; however, stood out the most with 5.5 sacks and 32 tackles.
After the reinstatement of Aldon Smith, Dallas is hoping Randy Gregory will be reinstated too. Gregory, who missed eight more games than he has played had 6.0 sacks and 25 tackles in a limited role in 2018. Smith hasn’t played since 2015 but enjoyed an All-Pro 19.5 sack season in 2012.
Dallas has a lot of questions surrounding their group of edge rushers. Between the reinstatement of Smith and Gregory, the hope of Lawrence returning to his dominant form, and the hope of Crawford’s injury not bothering him.
Because of all the unknowns with the Cowboys and the spread-out contributions in KC, the Chiefs win this one. The Cowboys do have the potential to blow this out of the waters, but there are way too many questions.