Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Week 11: Know thy enemy
By Tyrone Starr
Welcome to Week 11 of the NFL season. This week is one that was circled on the calendar the day it was released. If you’re looking for a high-profile matchup, it does not get much bigger than the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
In the Chiefs, you have the best team in the NFL in recent years. Kansas City has won double-digit games every year since 2015. They have made the AFC Championship three years in a row, the Super Bowl twice in a row, and won Super Bowl 54.
On the other side is the Cowboys, one of the league’s most marketable franchises. No matter how the Cowboys do in a given year, they always draw high television ratings and drum up plenty of drama.
Of course, this season, the Cowboys are also one of the best teams in the league. If anyone is capable of keeping up with the Chiefs offensively, it would be Dallas. The Cowboys lead the league in scoring offense and total yards per game. Dallas is fourth overall in both passing and rushing.
Cowboys vs Chiefs will be the must-watch game of Week 11
On Sunday afternoon, Fox is going to have the matchup of the year (to date). Let’s take this time and get to know a little more about the Chiefs. It’s time to settle in and get to know thy enemy a little better ahead of this Week 11 showdown.
Despite the Chiefs’ recent history of offensive prowess, 2021 has been a grind for them. Rumblings that the league may have finally figured them out have surfaced. Whether or not that is hyperbole or fact, I suppose, depends on how you look at the evidence.
Kansas City is top five in both total yards and passing yards, however, that is not translating into their normal explosive point totals. Currently, the Chiefs are tenth overall in scoring, putting up just over 26 points per game. There are two main things holding this team back from its normal standard of excellence.
The biggest reason is that Kansas City has been absolutely reckless with the ball. Only the New York Jets have turned the ball over more than Kansas City. Not only is quarterback Patrick Mahomes forcing throws he should not but also his skill players have lost more fumbles than any other team. It’s hard to score points when you’re consistently giving the ball away.
Another reason for the Chiefs’ woes is their inability to successfully run the football. Kansas City is barely in the middle of the pack when it comes to rushing yards per game. They are even worse at rushing attempts. Part of this has undoubtedly been due to a mid-season injury to their starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Part of it, again, is due to them pressing because of how teams are playing them.
Teams have decided that they are going to do everything possible to eliminate the big play threat of Kansas City. Usually, that comes in the form of playing two high safeties and making Mahomes check the ball down. Unfortunately for them, he hasn’t been really feeling that and forcing throws instead. Couple that with a higher amount of pressure in his face and all of a sudden Superman is looking more like Clark Kent.
It’s not just the Chiefs’ offense though. Their defense is not doing them any favors. Kansas City has never been a defensive juggernaut but the 2021 version of this team is faulty at best.
The Chiefs are not getting any pressure on opposing quarterbacks, posting just 14 total sacks, good for second-worst in the league. Teams are also gaining over 4.5 yards per rush when they attack the Chiefs on the ground. Whenever your defensive line is struggling, the rest of the defense usually follows.
Looking ahead to the year prior to the start of the season, the mixture of playing on the road at Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs offense had me predicting a Cowboys loss in this game. As the year has progressed, however, I honestly believe that Dallas has a legit shot at making a huge statement this Sunday.
I would really love to see the Dallas defense take Kansas City’s two biggest weapons out of this game and dare them to run the ball. I would start by doubling tight end Travis Kelce with cornerback Trevon Diggs and Jayron Kearse.
I would also double cover receiver Tyreek Hill with cornerback Jourdan Lewis and another safety while putting cornerback Anthony Brown, one-on-one with Mecole Hardman. From there, dropping linebackers Micah Parsons and Keanu Neal into a short zone would really add to the frustration level of Mahomes.
Doing all of this should limit the points Kansas City would be capable of scoring. If Dallas can hold the Chiefs under 27 points, I think they can win. Will they do so? Give me the Cowboys in a mild upset, winning 31-27.