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Cowboys at Chiefs: Writer predictions for the first ever Dak Prescott-Patrick Mahomes showdown

Both teams are coming off 40 burgers a week ago. What will happen this week?

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys Brad Loper/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

This game has been highly anticipated since the schedule was first released, as it would be the first ever clash between Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes. Don’t think that it’s gotten any less exciting with the Chiefs’ struggles; they’ve improved on both offense and defense to win their last three games, albeit against lesser competition.

Both of these teams put up over 40 points last week, feature seasoned and aggressive head coaches, former head coaches running the defense, and two quarterbacks who can light up a defense whenever they feel like it. This promises to be a great game, and one that will serve as a barometer for both the Cowboys and the Chiefs. So how do we feel about the Cowboys’ chances?

When Kansas City has the ball

Do what is proven to work

It truly is a copycat league, so when Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles went against his own tendencies by running a split-safety defense with hardly any blitzes and contained Mahomes in the Super Bowl, it was easy to predict every other team would try that this year. According to Next Gen Stats, Mahomes and the Chiefs have faced a split-safety look on a league-high 73% of their snaps this year while seeing the lowest blitz-rate of any team all year.

Adopting this game plan would be a huge tendency-breaker for Dan Quinn, whose defense lines up in single-high safety looks at the fourth-highest rate and generates most of their quarterback pressures by way of the blitz. It’s the same kind of adaptability that Bowles won with in the Super Bowl, and one that Quinn will need to exhibit in this game. Of course, Quinn has already shown how flexible he’s willing to be with his scheme this year, so expect to see the defensive coordinator roll with what works instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

When Dallas has the ball

Get off to a hot start

The Chiefs defense has been bad, to put it politely. They’re allowing the second-most yards per play, the fifth-most first downs, and the seventh-most points allowed. Their biggest problem is that they wear out too quickly. Poor performances by their offense has contributed to that somewhat, but it’s been true even in games where Kansas City scores a lot.

The Chiefs have just four games in which they’ve held the opponent under 27 points. All four of those games saw the opposing team fail to score on their opening drive, and three of those four opponents failed to score on their second drive as well. If Dak and Kellen Moore can get things going early against this defense, they can set the tone the way they did against Atlanta last week and wear down Kansas City’s unit pretty quickly.

Now onto the predictions from your BTB writers...

Tom Ryle:

The questions this week are not really about the Cowboys, but the Chiefs. The main one is whether their win over the Raiders was a return to form, or something of a blip for them where they momentarily corrected their issues, but are still likely to revert to what was going on early in the season.

The Cowboys are the opposite, looking a lot more like they did during the best parts of the winning streak after a total clunker against the Broncos. Just on that alone, I think this will be a win for Dallas. Part of me wants to predict another real blowout, but I have too much respect for Mahomes and Reid.

So I’ll just take a comfortable win with the Cowboys getting a late TD to seal the deal, 34-23.

Terence Watson:

The game that many see as the best offenses in the league has finally come as the Dallas Cowboys face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. While the Cowboys wait to see if the Chiefs star running Clyde Edwards-Helaire will suit up this week the Chiefs know they have one less weapon to defend as receiver Amari Cooper is out for the next two games due to a positive Covid test.

Lucky for the Cowboys they got Michael Gallup back last week and Cedrick Wilson can step in for Cooper. The Cowboys even without Cooper still have the offensive advantage with the two headed monster of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in the back field which will help Dak Prescott in this game. Many are looking for a shootout this week but I see a low scoring game with the Cowboys winning by slowing this game down running the ball.

Cowboys 24, Chiefs 20.

Matt Holleran:

I might be crazy here, but I’m just still not sold on the Kansas City Chiefs. Sure, their defense has played better during their recent three-game winning streak, but the quarterbacks they have faced during those games are Daniel Jones, Jordan Love, and Derek Carr. This week, they’ll have to deal with a whole different animal in Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense.

I see Dallas getting off to a quick start in this one, forcing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to play from behind. Mahomes has shown a tendency this season to make mistakes when trying to get his team back in a game, and I believe we see that on Sunday. The former MVP throws two key interceptions, on in each half, and is out-shined by Dak Prescott and his 4 TD passes.

Give me the Cowboys in a wild one, 37-29.

Darreck Kirby:

The Cowboys being without Amari Cooper is a definite blow to their overall firepower. Not just because it means entering a potentially high-scoring showdown without your number one receiver but because the exit of Cooper means CeeDee Lamb will be forced back out wide. While Lamb is still quite good lined up outside, he’s less free to operate in open space as he was able to last week with Gallup’s return.

For the Chiefs, the defense that started the year so horrendously has figured things out the past few weeks, holding opponents under 16 points per game. Add to that Mahomes and the offense seemingly awakening against the Raiders last week and you’ve got a tall task ahead of you. The Cowboys are short handed and playing in a tough environment. Luckily, the defense seemed to shake off the Denver game and got back to looking like the dominant unit we saw at Minnesota. While you can’t take anything for granted, this would be a great, great win if the Cowboys could find a way to get it done.

Cowboys 32-30.

Aidan Davis:

Which Chiefs team will we see in week 11? On both sides of the ball, the Chiefs have been one of the most volatile teams in 2021, but week 10 proved they are still a dangerous team. However, the Cowboys offense should have no problem scoring in this one. The last three weeks, where the Chiefs defense has been playing well, it hasn’t exactly been against the league’s most elite offenses. Especially with a weak secondary, Dak Prescott and the offense should be in for another big week.

As for the Cowboys’ defense, this is a telling game for Dan Quinn’s squad, especially the Dallas secondary. Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and even Mecole Hardman are explosive players who make life easy for Patrick Mahomes. It will be interesting to see how Brown, Diggs and Lewis, who have been playing great lately, fare against the Chiefs’ receiving corps. It is also pivotal the Cowboys get to Mahomes, who performs drastically worse when pressured in the pocket. With Gregory and Lawrence out, expect Parsons to be used in the pass-rush. It will be a fun game, and the Cowboys will squeak this one out.

Cowboys 34, Chiefs 27.

Tony Catalina:

Americas game of the week. All eyes will be on this matchup between two high powered offenses, and in typical Cowboys fashion, it isn’t without story lines. No Amari Cooper for this one, or the next one for that matter, and of course that will be a loss, however this offense is potent and complete enough to go out there and be highly productive in his absence. Look for the offense to still find ways to make plays and put points on the board, but where this game will be won is in how the defense defends the other high powered offense on the field.

I don’t believe it is realistic to expect this defense to shut Mahomes abs company down, but what I do see happening is them continuing to be opportunistic in the turnover department. The defense will find a way to make a stop here and there and I think a safety makes a big play, some one like Malik Hooker.

This game will be high powered but I see the Cowboys get it done 40-37.

Brian Martin:

This Week 11 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs is all about strength against strength, the Cowboys offense versus the Chiefs offense. It’s hard to imagine that this is the first time Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes have squared off against one another in their professional careers, however, it does add a little bit more Intriguing to the matchup.

While both QBs are more than capable of putting up some astronomical numbers thanks to the weapons they are surrounded by, only one can help lead their team to victory. I believe that team will be the Cowboys. They are the more well-balanced offense and have played more consistently throughout the season. It may end up being a shootout type of game, but in the end I think the Cowboys walk away from Arrowhead Stadium with the “W”.

Final score prediction: 34-27, Cowboys.

Danny Phantom:

Cowboys bring the fight in this one with some early blows to jump out in front. The Chiefs punch back and close the gap by halftime, but the Cowboys unleash the hurt in the third quarter. Jayron Kearse and Micah Parsons are the defensive disruptors in this one, and the Cowboys offense fires on all cylinders. Michael Gallup goes off for 141 receiving yards as the Cowboys look dominant. KC makes a final push, but in the end, it’s just too little too late.

Cowboys 34, Chiefs 27.

David Howman:

Before the start of the season, I anticipated that the Chiefs would get a narrow win in this game because Patrick Mahomes in Arrowhead Stadium would hold an ever-so-slight edge over Dak Prescott in a shootout. Then the season started, and Mahomes’ gunslinger ways started resulting in turnovers while the Dallas defense has played leagues ahead of the Chiefs defense.

I’m still hesitant to pick the Cowboys because Kansas City looked to get its mojo back last week and this game is still in Arrowhead Stadium. But Mike McCarthy’s team has proven several times already that they’re capable of pulling out a tough win in a hostile environment, and Prescott is playing better than Mahomes right now. I still consider this game a coin toss, but I’m taking the better team here.

Cowboys win 40-35.