Cowboys visit Chiefs for showdown of NFL heavyweights
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The most dynamic offense in the NFL will be on display inside Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
It won't belong to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Oh, the two-time defending AFC champs are still capable of scoring points — just ask the Raiders after their 41-14 blowout loss last week. But the offense that has been seemingly unstoppable most of this season belongs to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, who lead the league in yards per game and points through the first 10 weeks.
The last time they finished on top in both? It was 1971, and the Cowboys wound up winning the Super Bowl.
"They're the No. 1 offense in the league in a few different categories," Chiefs coach Andy Reid acknowledged. "Dak is good, and so is Ezekiel (Ellitott), along with the rest of their cast there. They have a lot of good players on that side of the ball. It's a great challenge for our defense. Our guys know that. You just have to turn on the tape to see it."
They would see Prescott riding a career-best six-game streak with multiple touchdown throws. And Elliott punching in for two touchdowns in last Sunday's blowout of the Falcons, when CeeDee Lamb also had 94 yards receiving and two scores.
It was the third time this season the Cowboys (7-2) have topped 40 points in a game.
Sounds a lot like the Chiefs of past years.
"I have a lot of respect for them," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said, "but I wouldn't say we sat down and said, 'We want to be like the Kansas City Chiefs.' ... They're obviously the beacon of their division and frankly of the NFL, just with their success particularly the last three years. They're in our cutups. They're part of some of the things we look at postseason, in-season as far as trends. But I wouldn't say we model ourselves after them."
For one thing, the Cowboys have been a whole lot better on defense this season. But despite numbers that suggest the Chiefs are among the league's worst on that side of the ball, they've been better the past few weeks.
That has coincided with a return to health for several guys and the arrival of defensive end Melvin Ingram.
And a much biggest test for that talented Dallas offense.
"It seems like y'all ask us that every week: 'Is this a statement win?' This is another football game," Elliott said. "Every week is important in this league. Every team we play is a very good football team. If we go out there, get a win on the road in a hostile environment, I think that would be a statement."
Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith returned to practice on a limited basis from an ankle injury and could play Sunday. Also expected back is kicker Greg Zuerlein, who was on the COVID-19 list. Lirim Hajrullahu had handled kicks against Atlanta.
The Chiefs hope to have right tackle Mike Remmers back from a knee injury. They also could have running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire back for the first time since hurting his ankle against Buffalo in Week 5.
McCarthy has plenty of experience coaching in the Metrodome from his time with the Packers, and the Cowboys played the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. But both those buildings pale in comparison to the noise of Arrowhead Stadium.
"When we went up to Minnesota, it was about 120 decibels where Arrowhead has been to 140," McCarthy said. "Not a lot of our players have played there. ... Noise will be a big part of our preparation this week."
One thing Dallas will try to do Sunday is keep Mahomes in the pocket. That's because even though the former league MVP is excellent with his feet set, the Chiefs quarterback becomes even more dangerous when he escapes.
"We have a segment in practice to work scramble drills," McCarthy said. "Patrick is outstanding at it. You can see, I think between 20-23% of their plays are extended plays. It's a major focus for us this weekend."
COVER 2 CONCERNS
The Cowboys also figure to play a lot of Cover 2 defense against Kansas City, using their two safeties to keep the Chiefs from attacking deep downfield. It's a scheme that just about every team has used against them this season.
"Your short-intermediate game becomes very important and how we call plays to stretch the field becomes important," Reid said, "horizontally and vertically to create some space to throw. All that's important."
Mahomes, who was born and raised in Tyler, Texas, grew up cheering for the Cowboys. It was also the favorite team of his dad, former big league pitcher Pat Mahomes. But the fandom hasn't really lasted since the Chiefs QB joined the NFL.
"I won't be a fan this week, for sure," he said.
DALLAS (7-2) at KANSAS CITY (6-4)
Sunday, 3:25 p.m. CST, Arrowhead Stadium, Fox
BETTING LINE: Chiefs by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Dallas 8-1, Kansas City 3-7.
SERIES RECORD: Cowboys lead 7-4.
LAST MEETING: Cowboys beat Chiefs 28-17 on Nov. 5, 2017, at Arlington, Texas.
LAST WEEK: Cowboys beat Falcons 43-3; Chiefs beat Raiders 41-14.
COWBOYS OFFENSE: OVERALL (1), RUSH (4), PASS (4), SCORING (1)
COWBOYS DEFENSE: OVERALL (15), RUSH (9), PASS (21), SCORING (10)
CHIEFS OFFENSE: OVERALL (4), RUSH (18), PASS (3), SCORING (10)
CHIEFS DEFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (18), PASS (23), SCORING (T25)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Cowboys plus-5; Chiefs minus-8.
COWBOYS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB Jourdan Lewis is coming off his best game of the season against Atlanta, when he often drew the assignment of rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. He could have a similar role against the Chiefs' Travis Kelce on Sunday.
CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Tyreek Hill is coming off a two-touchdown performance against the Raiders. It was his 12th game with multiple TDs since 2017, making him the 10th player in the Super Bowl era with that many through 84 career games.
KEY MATCHUP: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott against Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. Sure, they won't actually face each other, but whichever quarterback has the better game probably means his team wins. Prescott has a career-best six-game run with multiple TD passes, the longest active streak in the NFL, while Mahomes threw for 406 yards and five TDs last week against Las Vegas.
KEY INJURIES: Cowboys LT Tyron Smith could return after missing two games with a sprained ankle. DE DeMarcus Lawrence, out since the opener with a broken foot, is doing rehab work in practice but appears to be at least another week from returning. ... Chiefs RT Mike Remmers (knee) could return this week. So could RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), who has not played since Week 5, though it's possible the Chiefs hold off on him until after their bye.
SERIES NOTES: The Cowboys have a 7-4 advantage in the seldom-played series, and they have won three of the past four meetings. The teams play for the Preston Rd. Traveling Trophy, named for the street on which the late-Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once lived. Jones currently has possession of the wooden trophy.
STATS AND STUFF: The Cowboys lead the NFL in total yards per game (433.9) and points (31.6). The last time they finished the season leading both categories was 1971, when Dallas won its first Super Bowl title. ... Prescott leads the league with a 110.8 passer rating, the highest through nine games for the Cowboys. ... CB Trevon Diggs has an NFL-best eight interceptions and is the first Dallas player with at least that many in a season since Everson Walls finished with nine in 1985. ... Cowboys LB Micah Parsons leads NFL rookies with six sacks and is two shy of DeMarcus Ware's 2005 club rookie record of eight. ... Cowboys FS Jayron Kearse had 55 tackles, just one from his career high with Detroit last season. ... Dallas K Greg Zuerlein needs one field goal for 250 in his career. At 144 games, he would be the third fastest to that mark behind Justin Tucker (118) and Stephen Gostkowski (139). ... The Chiefs are 3-0 against the NFC East this season. ... The Chiefs are in first place in the AFC West as they seek their club-record sixth straight division title. ... Coach Andy Reid needs three wins to join Marty Schottenheimer (101) and Hank Stram (124) as the only coaches in Chiefs history with 100 regular-season wins. ... Mahomes needs 816 yards passing to pass Bill Kenney (17,277) for fourth-most passing yards in franchise history. ... Mahomes is 11-2 against the NFC. ... Mahomes threw for 406 yards and five TDs last week at Las Vegas. It was his third career game of at least 400 yards and five touchdowns since 2017; the rest of the league combined has four such games. ... Kelce has caught a pass in 121 straight game, the fourth-longest active streak in the NFL. ... Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill needs one TD catch to pass Chris Burford (55) for third most in franchise history. Two TDs would tie Otis Taylor for second. ... Kansas City RB Darrel Williams became the first running back in club history with at least nine catches, 100 yards receiving and a touchdown last week against Las Vegas. ... Kansas City held the Raiders to 1 of 9 on third downs last week, allowing a net of minus-3 yards on those plays.
FANTASY TIP: Keep an eye on the inactive list Sunday. If the Chiefs have Edwards-Helaire active, it would greatly eat into the touches for Williams, who has become a fantasy star in his absence. Williams ran 11 times for 43 yards and caught nine passes for 101 yards and a score against the Raiders last week.