The Dallas Cowboys game last week was a testament to the team's ability to bounce back from an embarrassing defeat, and what better way to show that than handing another team an embarrassing defeat. The Atlanta Falcons aren’t the Kansas City Chiefs though, not by a long shot. They are a different beast altogether. A beast whose offense, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is capable of dropping 40 burgers on teams just like the Cowboys offense can.
This makes for a game that will most likely come down to the final play unless the Cowboys defense can rise to the challenge and stop one of the best offenses in the league's history when they are clicking. Let’s take a look at this Chiefs team and what they are bringing to the table this week against the Cowboys in this week's opponent preview.
Kansas City Chiefs
2020 Record 14-2 Current 2021 Record: 6-4
Last Meeting: 11/05/2017 - Cowboys 28 - Chiefs 17
Head Coach: Andy Reid
Key Additions: G Joe Thuney, DT Jarran Reed, WR Josh Gordon
Key Losses: DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, CB Bashaud Breeland, RB Damien Williams, C Austin Reiter, T Mitchell Schwartz, WR Sammy Watkins, T Eric Fisher
Offensive Statistics and Analysis
Offensive Ranking: 10th (26.2 ppg)
Passing Offense Ranking: 3rd (2,951 yards)
Rush Offense Ranking: 18th (1,105 yards)
At the beginning of the season, this Chiefs offense was out of sorts, not for a lack of talent at quarterback or offensive weapons. It was thanks to their rebuilding of the offensive line that caused this offense to have problems early in the season. The constant pressure on quarterback Patrick Mahomes caused an offense that was averaging 7.4 yards per attempt last season to drop to 6.6 yards per attempt so far this season. This is also a reason for Mahomes's rise in interceptions from just six last season to 10 through 10 weeks of the season, that along with his reckless moments trying to make a play by forcing the issue.
Another reason for this offense's struggles is the loss of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire who was averaging 4.7 yards per carry through five games. His replacement Darrel Williams is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry through the five games he’s started this season with Edwards-Helaire’s out with an injury. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Edwards-Helaire could possibly return this week giving the Chiefs another weapon in the arsenal to use.
Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are the two big threats in the passing game. Between the two they have 13 of the Chiefs 25 receiving touchdowns on the year and own just about half of the total receiving targets on the season. Mahomes looks their way everywhere on the field and uses them as the touchdown makers. If the Cowboys want to win, they’ll need to slow down those two.
Defensive Statistics and Analysis
Defensive Ranking: 20th (24.1 PPG against)
Pass Defense Ranking: 23rd (2,586 yards)
Run Defense Ranking: 18th (1,146 yards)
For all of the talk about how the Cowboys could have a tough time defending this Chiefs offense, the Chiefs are going to have problems of their own going against a Cowboys offense that can steamroll teams. It will actually be a bit tougher for these Chiefs because of their secondary play this season compared to last season. Last season this defense was ranked 14th in pass defense and gave up a total of 3,779 yards and 29 touchdowns, this season they’ve almost given up that total number of yards and with 18 passing touchdowns on the season, they could reach and pass last years total there as well. Their turnovers compared to last season are on pace to fall below what they had last season.
The Chiefs pass defense is their true weak point. Their starting corners all give up over an 80 passer rating when targeted, with a couple of them over 100. That is not a good combination when the Cowboys have Dak Prescott and his arsenal of receivers. The linebackers also struggle in coverage with only safety Tyrann Mathieu posting a decent passer rating allowed stat at 69.5. It’s hard to imagine them slowing down the Cowboys passing game.
To complicate matters the Chiefs only have 14 sacks on the year. That is almost last in the league, only ahead of the Falcons who Prescott destroyed last week. The Chiefs will dial up blitzes to generate pressure but Prescott is one of the best at beating the blitz. It figures to be a long day for the Chiefs defense.
All stats are from Profootballreference.com