The Kansas City Chiefs came out of their first game under Andy Reid in great shape. Now they come home to higher hopes and a challenging game against the Dallas Cowboys, which is slated to kick off at 1 PM ET on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Both teams were impressive in their respective 2013 debuts – the Cowboys finally snapped their home losing streak to the New York Giants, while the Chiefs completely shut down the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kansas City Chiefs -3
Dallas Cowboys +3
Over 46.5 Points -110
Under 46.5 Points -110
Of course, there are very few things the Cowboys are going to do on offense that are a big mystery to Andy Reid, who faced off against them for years as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Dallas defense, however, while having essentially the same personnel, has a different look than in years past, because Monte Kiffin has taken over as the coordinator. Kiffin and his “Tampa 2” scheme has apparently been embraced by Cowboy personnel, and why not? The team forced six Giant turnovers in the 36-31 Sunday night win.
What was also very encouraging about the Dallas effort was the fact that they were able to run the ball. DeMarco Murray, who had a 100-yard effort against the Giants in a win last year but missed the second meeting (a loss), was more than serviceable, gaining 86 yards on 20 carries.
Now let’s go to the flip side. Dallas was fortunate to get those turnovers, because New York really moved the ball pretty well. In fact, the Giants gained 8.1 yards per play, and that is way too much if you want to win games in the NFL. And they better hope Murray stays healthy, because there is not much they have in the way of backup for him; at least nothing that is going to help them move the chains with any regularity.
We realize that the Chiefs did not face stern opposition when they went to Jacksonville but registering a 28-2 road victory has to be commended nonetheless. That is the case especially when you considered that they held the Jaguars to the microscopic average of 2.5 yards per play and just 228 total yards. Maurice Jones-Drew was held to 45 yards on 15 carries.
Kansas City was not operating like a steamroller on offense, but they were efficient. They got into the red zone three times and scored a touchdown every time. And perhaps most importantly, they did not turn the ball over. That is critical when you consider that the Chiefs coughed it up 37 times last year, which tied for the NFL lead with, ironically, Reid’s Eagles.
This could indeed be a revitalized Kansas City team, especially if they manage to keep quarterback Alex Smith healthy. After all, they aren’t that far removed from making it to the post-season. Explosiveness may be an issue, which is why they had better keep Tony Romo’s big plays to a minimum. Romo has been cleared to play, but he’ll be hurting. After taking a hit in the first half of last week’s game, he suffered bruised ribs. Whether the offensive line can hold up is a question, considering that they have a rookie (Travis Frederick) starting at center, and a guard (Ron LEary) who is keeping the seat warm until Brian Waters, who earned seven straight trips to the Pro Bowl as a member of the Chiefs, is completely ready to play.