Coming off the heels of their most complete game of the season, the Cowboys look to roll into Kansas City and go toe-to-toe with an offense led by Patrick Mahomes that has the capability of putting up points in bunches. The Cowboys have the team that can win in a variety of different ways, but do they want to even entertain the idea of getting into a shootout with one of the league’s best offenses?
The Chiefs have not had their best start to their season compared to what the league is used to seeing, however they are coming off a big division win on Sunday night as they put a beatdown on the Las Vegas Raiders and look to have turned the corner just in time to be the Cowboys problem this week. The Cowboys will head into this game as the rare underdog, but after seeing this team last week, they are capable of beating anybody and we are in for a possible game of the year candidate on Sunday.
Here are five things to watch this week:
1. Can the Cowboys contain Patrick Mahomes?
Everybody knows what Mahomes is capable of. The young phenom can catch fire and be a pain for opposing defenses at the drop of a hat. The Cowboys will need to find a way to get hits on the young QB and make him uncomfortable all game to force him to make some errant throws.
The Cowboys defense will be tasked with a difficult job, but if it is able to go out there Sunday and not let Mahomes get this game out of reach, there is no reason the Cowboys can’t get themselves a W.
2. This Chiefs defense can be had.
We spent time talking about what Mahomes can do to a defense, but we need to look at what exactly this Cowboys offense can do to the Chiefs defense. Their defense has been susceptible to big plays and are on pace to be one of the worst units in the league. Deficiencies can be masked a bit when you have a high-powered offense, but at the end of the day the unit can be taken advantage of.
Look for Dak and the offense to control the game, and the clock, with the running game. Not out of fear, but it is just smarter to lean on this bad Chiefs defense and keep Mahomes and company on the sideline. If this game turns into a shootout it will be a challenge for Dallas, but if the Cowboys execute there is no reason this game has to get to that point.
3. The fans could play a big factor.
This game is going to have a playoff like atmosphere. America’s Team versus a star-studded Chiefs roster that has won big as of late. Add that to the fact it is the game of the week and a potential Super Bowl matchup, Arrowhead is for sure going to be rocking.
The Cowboys will need to be disciplined and focused as the crowd noise will play a factor. Going to a silent count, and taking the wind out of these fans sails early, could very well set up the rest of the game to be much more manageable.
4. Travis Kelce versus the Cowboys safeties.
Last week we saw some Trevon Diggs versus Kyle Pitts matchups due to personnel and the fact Pitts may have been the Falcons biggest threat. This week its not like that at all as Diggs will see a healthy dose of Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman; both are burners who can break a game wide open with their big-play ability.
The Cowboys are going to need to find a way to slow down Mahomes’ safety blanket in Travis Kelce. Kelce is one of the leagues premier tight ends and is looked to early and often. The Cowboys may try to match up Jayron Kearse, or we may even see Malik Hooker with a more involved role this week as Hooker is a talented player who could help with Kelce. However the Cowboys do it, they better have a plan of action for dealing with 87, and if they don't it could be a long day for this Cowboys defense.
5. How the Cowboys respond to their toughest test of the season will be key.
If the Cowboys are going to get to where they want to go, and that is deep into the playoffs, these are the type of teams you are going to have to beat. This is an interconference matchup that wont be devastating to the Cowboys if they were to lose, however this is the type of big game you would love to see them win to prove they are legit.
Its going to be cold, its going to be loud, and it is going to get national recognition. This is the perfect game for the Cowboys to truly announce their arrival as a legit contender in this league, and a win like this could very well say they are here to stay.