After losing two straight games (and an impressive division winning streak), the Kansas City Chiefs bounced back in Week 8. In a game that was not without its mistakes, the Chiefs still handled the Denver Broncos to the tune of 29-19. Despite quarterback Alex Smith turning the ball over for the first time in what felt like a lifetime, Kansas City’s offense got the job done.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs defense and special teams feasted on five turnovers of the Broncos’. Now head coach Andy Reid prepares Kansas City to take on the Dallas Cowboys away from home. To gain an idea of how Sunday’s game will go, let’s look at the pressure points each team has that may prove their undoing.
While the Chiefs’ offensive line played fairly well against a voracious Broncos defense Monday night, there were still issues. If quarterback Alex Smith is to continue playing at such a high level, pass blocking needs to improve. With center Mitch Morse finally back from his injury, the line should continue to get better.
The Chiefs’ pass defense was greatly improved with the return of Steven Nelson and Kenneth Acker’s substitution for Terrence Mitchell. However, Kansas City can take their defensive play to the next level by shoring up their rushing defense. With a strong chance for a high seed in the playoffs, the Chiefs need to solidify their defense and prepare for a postseason run. As of right now, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will not play Sunday. Kansas City still must be ready to answer the call against the Cowboys’ potent run game.
The Chiefs’ offense was questionable Monday night in large part due to the plays called in crucial situations by Andy Reid. A halfback pass from Tyreek Hill was intercepted in the first half; more conventional plays would have at least left the Chiefs in position for a field goal. Reid and the Chiefs need to stick to tried-and-true methods and trust their execution.
Through seven games the Cowboys have allowed 106 yards rushing per game, 4.5 yards per attempt, but only 4 touchdowns on the ground. However, Chiefs rookie running back Kareem Hunt is another kind of animal. Look for the Chiefs to lean on the run against a suspect Cowboys front.
The Cowboys are racking up sacks at an impressive rate, having already registered 25 on the season. That being said, they also allow 219 passing yards per game. With the Chiefs’ ball-control centered offense, 219 is more than enough to grind out a win. And if the Chiefs can fix their pass protection Alex Smith is likely to beat the average in passing against Dallas.
Dallas has given the ball away on four interceptions and four fumbles lost this season; Kansas City, on the other hand, has lost two fumbles and the Tyreek Hill interception. In a game with two defenses that are not close to perfect and two offensives with the potential for explosive plays, the end result may come down to taking care of the ball. Don’t be surprised if a single pick or fumble lost turns into a landslide one way or the other.