Looking at both teams’ linebacking corps, you will see quite a difference. One one side, you have four Pro Bowls and one first-team All-Pro, and on the other, you have no Pro Bowls and no first-team All-Pros.
Let’s start with Kansas City’s top linebacker in Anthony Hitchens. In 15 games he ended up making 88 tackles with four being for a loss of yards and forcing one fumble. He also sacked the quarterback 2.0 times and defended one pass.
The next one up is Damien Wilson. In a full season, he had 81 tackles with three being for a loss of yards and forced one fumble. Add along 1.5 sacks and one pass defended for the 26-year old.
Sophomore Ben Niemann had 56 total tackles, ranking seventh on the Chiefs. The 24-year-old also had one fumble recovery and defended one pass. This was all while playing only 36 percent of the defensive snaps.
Now, in the Cowboys corner, let’s start it off with the veteran Sean Lee. For the first time in a while, Lee entered the season not being the top linebacker. With a reduced role, he still had 86 tackles, four passes defended, and one interception.
Right behind him is the speedster Jaylon Smith. He was a tackling machine amassing 143 tackles with six being for a loss of yards. He also had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Playing the ball was second nature to him as he had one interception and nine passes defended.
The third is the mighty Leighton Vander Esch. He was limited to only nine games, but he still had 73 tackles, one forced fumble, and three passes defended. Offenses do not like going up against him at all for obvious reasons.
Ironically enough, both Hitchens and Wilson from the Chiefs are former Cowboys. There is a reason they did not stay with the team though. It’s not as if they aren’t good linebackers, it’s just that the Cowboys linebackers are that good.
While Lee is nearing the end of his career, Vander Esch and Smith are both still very young at 23 and 24 years old respectively. It wouldn’t surprise me if one or both make a push to become a first-team All-Pro this season. Vander Esch was a second-team All-Pro in 2018.
Well, if you guessed that it was the Cowboys linebacking corps that had all the accolades listed in the first paragraph, you were right. The Dallas Cowboys run away with this matchup.