This week at SB Nation, we’re celebrating the boldness — and what could be bolder than making predictions about the marquee matchup this Sunday for Week 11 of the NFL season?
Before the two teams square off in Kansas City on Sunday, here are three bold predictions for the primetime matchup.
1) Cowboys force Patrick Mahomes into throwing two key interceptions
When Patrick Mahomes does not turn the football over, the Kansas City Chiefs are nearly unbeatable. In Mahomes’ career as a Chief, Kansas City is 28-4 in the regular season when the signal-caller does not throw an interception. Currently, the Chiefs are sporting a 16-game regular season winning streak when Mahomes does not throw an interception.
So, if you’re the Cowboys, the game plan is pretty simple. If you want a chance to win the game, you have to force the former MVP to make mistakes.
Thankfully for the Cowboys, Mahomes has been way more careless with the football this season than we’ve ever seen. The three-time Pro Bowler has the second-most interceptions in the league (10) and recorded three multiple-interception games in the first six weeks of the season. Mahomes also has the third-most danger plays (26) and seventh-most interceptable passes (20) in football, via PlayerProfiler.
Not coincidentally, when Kansas City lost four of their six games from Week 2 to Week 7, Mahomes threw nine interceptions. In their current three-game winning streak, he’s thrown just one.
NFL Interception Leaders— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) October 17, 2021
1) Zach Wilson* — 9
2) Trevor Lawrence* — 8
2) Patrick Mahomes^ — 8
^Former NFL MVP
Obviously, it’s common knowledge that teams are going to win more when their quarterback does not turn the football over, everybody knows that. But this Chiefs team, in particular, cannot afford their star quarterback to make mistakes, because it exposes how poor their defense is. In three losses against the Ravens, Chargers and Bills, Mahomes threw a total of five interceptions. The Kansas City defense gave up a total of 104 points in those three games, an average of nearly 35 ppg.
This week, the Cowboys are going to take advantage of the struggling Kansas City defense and get off to a quick start. This will force Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs offense to play catch up, which ultimately will result in him making mistakes.
The former All-Pro tosses two more interceptions that prove to be two of the biggest plays of the game.
2) Dak Prescott lights up the Kansas City defense, tossing four touchdown passes
After a rough game against the Broncos just over a week ago, Dak Prescott put any doubt to rest with his performance Sunday against the Falcons. The signal-caller was fantastic, completing 77% of his passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns.
In the win, Prescott graded out as the third-highest passer of all quarterbacks and his second-highest overall offensive grade of the season 84.2, via Pro Football Focus.
This week, Prescott gets to go up against a Chiefs defense that has really struggled against the pass. Kansas City has held just three teams under 249 passing yards and has given up 300+ three times.
One thing the Kansas City defense likes to do is blitz. The Chiefs have the sixth-highest blitz percentage (31.9%) in football and have blitzed the passer a total of 118 times, via Pro Football Reference. This should be music to Dak Prescott’s ears, as he has been one of, if not the best, quarterback in football against the blitz this season.
Prescott has the highest offensive rating (84.1) of any quarterback in football while under pressure, via PFF, and has the most touchdown passes (15) against the blitz in the league.
Kansas City will bring pressure in an attempt to force Prescott into an early turnover, and it will come back to bite them. Dak plays his best game of the season to date, tossing four touchdown passes, leading the Cowboys to a victory.
3) Dallas walks out with a dominant, double-digit win
While the Cowboys aren’t favored in this game, most people would not be shocked if they walked out with a victory. What would shock them is if the Cowboys went in and completely dominated the Chiefs in all aspects. Well, get ready, because that’s exactly what they are going to do Sunday.
This Chiefs defense simply cannot contain the Cowboys’ high-powered offense, so Mahomes and company will be playing from behind from the jump. This will cause Mahomes to force the issues in an attempt to make some big-time plays, which ultimately plays perfectly into the Cowboys strategy on defense.
Behind four touchdown passes from Dak Prescott and two key interceptions on defense, Dallas walks out of Kansas City with a double-digit victory, pushing them to 8-2 on the season.