coleryan Posts:13593 Followers:20
On 09/10/2013 05:05 PM in NFL

Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs: Preview and Pick

Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs: Preview and Pick

The Dallas Cowboys started the season off with a big win against the New York Giants and now with a banged up quarterback they take their act on the road. The team that will be waiting is the Kansas City Chiefs with a familiar foe at head coach as Andy Reid leads the new look Chiefs.

Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Chiefs listed at (-2.5) point favorites. This line is very volatile as the health of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is up in the air as he is still suffering from bruised ribs that he got on Sunday night football. Despite the injury the public is jumping on the Cowboys to the tune of 65 percent, yet the line has actually moved in the favor of the home team. The Chiefs re now listed as (-3) point favorites at most of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Cowboys are hoping that this is a new season and that they will finally meet the high expectations held by their fans. They looked good in week one with a win over the rival Giants, but they were also able to benefit from six turnovers which will not happen in every game this series.

The Cowboys will also be concerned with injuries. Although both are expected to play Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant are not 100 percent for the game against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs have their own concerns as they enter this game with running back Jamaal Charles slightly banged up. The Chiefs looked great in the first game as they dismantled the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. Alex Smith looked great under center as he tossed a pair of touchdowns and managed the game magnificently.

The latest NFL betting trends for this game reveal that both teams struggle in this spot. The Cowboys are 7-20-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 28 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, 4-14 ATS in their last 18 games following a win and 0-4-1 ATS in the last five games in week two.

The Chiefs are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 home games against a team with a winning road record, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in Week two and 1-4 ATS in the last five games overall.

Both of these teams would like to continue their winning ways when they meet on the field this weekend.

Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13593 Followers:20
09/11/2013 03:47 PM

The Kansas City Chiefs are the anti-Cowboys.

The Chiefs run the ball by choice and believe it all starts up front. So they invest in their offensive line. Kansas City will line up two first-round picks, two seconds and a fourth-rounder there Sunday against the Cowboys. All are under the age of 29. Four of them are under the age of 26.

In 2011, the Chiefs released their aging Pro Bowler Brian Waters thinking he was no longer the answer at guard. Two years later, the Cowboys signed Waters hoping he can be their answer at guard.

The Cowboys have an undrafted college free agent at one guard (Ronald Leary), a player they can’t wait to replace with Waters at the other guard (Mackenzy Bernadeau) and a right tackle (Doug Free) whose contract was cut in half during the off-season, a $3.5 million shaving.

With the arrival of a new head coach (Andy Reid) and a new quarterback (Alex Smith), the Chiefs believe they have a formula in place to return to playoff contention. Reid believes games are won in the trenches, and he has a quarterback who doesn’t make mistakes.

So if the Chiefs continue handing the ball off to their Pro Bowl halfback Jamaal Charles, they have a chance. This offensive line can block for Charles and protect Smith.

That blocking front features a pair of first-round picks at tackle (Branden Albert, Eric Fisher), a second-rounder at guard (Jeff Allen), another second at center (Rodney Hudson) and a fourth at the other guard (Jon Asamoah).

The Chiefs finished first in the NFL in rushing in 2010 and fifth in 2012. They tumbled to 15th in 2011 when Charles missed 14 games with a knee injury. The former Texas Longhorn finished second in the NFL in rushing in 2010 with 1,467 yards and fourth in 2012 with 1,509.

This is Kansas City’s best blocking front since 2003 when they lined up Hall of Famer Willie Roaf, veteran Pro Bowlers Will Shields and Waters and won the AFC West with a 13-3 record.

The Giants didn’t spend a whole lot of time last Sunday night handing the ball off. So a Cowboys defensive front weakened by the injury absences of Jay Ratliff, Anthony Spencer, Tyrone Crawford and Ben Bass wasn’t tested. It will be tested this Sunday. To beat the Chiefs you must stop the run.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13593 Followers:20
09/12/2013 02:14 PM

The conventional wisdom was that the Dallas Cowboys would have a renewed commitment to the running game with offensive line guru Bill Callahan taking over the play-calling duties.

That wasn’t the case in Week 1, prompting head coach Jason Garrett to call for a more balanced offensive attack.

The Cowboys ran 51 pass plays, including two sacks, and only 21 running plays despite never trailing in the win over the New York Giants. (A knee-down and fumbled snaps weren’t counted in either category.) In other words, they ran the ball 29 percent of the time.

By comparison, the Cowboys ran the ball 34 percent of the time with pass-happy Garrett calling plays last season, when their 355 rushing attempts were the second-fewest in the league.

“We’d like to be more balanced,” Garrett said Monday. “I thought Bill did a really good job in the ballgame calling plays and giving us a chance to move the football, but we would like to be a more balanced football team.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about, ‘OK we get a stat sheet and you want it to be 30 runs, 30 passes.’ That’s not how we look at it. We want to be able to run the ball more and more effectively, particularly at the end of the game when we’re up a couple scores. We need to be able to hand the ball to DeMarco Murray and run the game out. We didn’t do that as well as we need to, and we’ll continue to work on being better at that.”

Callahan has not been available for comment since the season opener.

Murray finished the game with a respectable 86 yards on 20 carries, including five carries for 32 yards in the fourth quarter.

The Cowboys did get the ball in Murray’s hands eight more times for 39 yards on short receptions, usually checkdowns that can have the same down-and-distance impact as an effective running game. However, Garrett values the physical tone a traditional running game sets and the opportunities it can present in the play-action passing game.

“We never get caught up in the numbers of things,” Garrett said, noting that the high winning percentage of teams that run the ball frequently is often a chicken-or-egg type of stat. “You want to be balanced, attack them downhill, attack them different ways, and have it all work together.”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13593 Followers:20
09/13/2013 04:54 PM

The Kansas City Chiefs opened the 2013 season with an efficient effort on offense in last week's 28-2 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Alex Smith found his open targets and didn't make mistakes, and Jamaal Charles was effective with his 19 touches out of the backfield. Building an early lead gave the Chiefs an opportunity to play it safe, though they did show the structure of what they plan to do on offense this season.

The Dallas Cowboys found themselves in a shootout in Week 1 with the New York Giants, eventually coming out on top 36-31. The Giants are a much different team than Chiefs offensively, so it is difficult to imagine Kansas City racking up 450 passing yards and four touchdowns through the air on Dallas this week -- which is exactly what Eli Manning and Co. accomplished last Sunday night.

The Chiefs will have their chances to move the ball, however, and this game could be played in a similar up-tempo style.


Here are three keys for the Chiefs offense in Sunday's matchup.

- Increased Touches for Jamaal Charles

The Chiefs built an early lead against the Jaguars last week, which could have led to a huge game out of Charles. Instead, the running back fell awkwardly during a tackle, injuring his quad, and ended up missing a significant portion of the second half.

It is no secret that Charles is Kansas City's go-to weapon on offense, and this week's matchup should drive that point home even further.

The Cowboys are very talented on defense -- especially up front-- but the Chiefs should be able to exploit the second level with relative ease. Whether that means getting Charles around the edge in the running game or utilizing him as a receiver out of the backfield, Kansas City's chances of winning increase as he gets more touches.


- Establish Dwayne Bowe Early in Game

Dwayne Bowe is obviously Kansas City's biggest receiving threat, but the wide receiver only tallied four catches for 30 yards in last week's victory over the Jaguars.

Some will argue that Bowe was not used enough, but his lack of production is more the result of circumstance than Smith not getting him the ball -- as the Chiefs got out to an early lead, making it unnecessary to lean on its playmakers as much to pull out the win.

Kansas City's offense may lack the big names outside of Bowe and Charles, but the goal is to find the open man regardless of the name on the back of the jersey.

Matchups like this weekend's with the Cowboys, however, could open up more opportunities for Bowe to come up big. Establishing that relationship in the passing game early will make it easier for Smith to find his other targets as the game progresses.


- Win Battle in the Trenches

For the Chiefs to do what they need to do to be productive on offense, it starts and ends with the offensive line. Whether than means Charles having a good day on the ground or Smith hitting his receivers early in the progression, this unit must play well.

Kansas City controlled the trenches on both sides of the ball against the Jaguars last week, but the Cowboys are a much more talented team and also employ the likes of DeMarcus Ware -- who was relatively absent against the Giants in Week 1.

Dallas will come in to Arrowhead Stadium knowing that most of what the Chiefs plan to do on offense happens at the first level -- meaning that Ware and Co. will be ready to go to work.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0
coleryan Posts:13593 Followers:20
09/15/2013 08:47 AM

PICKS

Mark it down. The Chiefs will have one of the best defenses in the league. The Cowboys won't get six turnovers in this game and they will lose.

Chiefs -3

  • Last 7 Days Record: 10-5-0