NFL Preview - Dallas (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0)|
By Shawn Clarke, Contributing NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - For more than a decade the Dallas Cowboys had to stare
across the field twice a year at Andy Reid.
The former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles will man that same position
Sunday, only this time he will be donning the colors of the Kansas City Chiefs
in a showdown at Arrowhead Stadium.
Reid will make his K.C. debut and was a nine-time playoff participant and one-
time Super Bowl runner-up in 14 seasons with the Eagles, but was let go after
the Eagles foundered to a 4-12 finish in 2012. His Eagle teams gave Dallas
fits at times and now he has the keys to a new ride.
Kansas City won Reid's debut with Sunday's 28-2 drubbing of the lowly
Jacksonville Jaguars and the win also marked quarterback Alex Smith's first
game under center since being traded from San Francisco in the offseason. The
always-efficient Smith threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter
and finished 21-of-34 for 173 yards. Smith spread the ball around to nine
different receivers, which is what Reid likes to see from his offense.
"I think the more guys you can utilize, the more pressure it puts on a
defense. If you have to cover everybody, you can't favor one guy and that's
always been part of this offense," Reid said. "Move it around and give
everybody an opportunity."
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is usually active in the passing game, a
situation Reid enjoys putting his running backs in. Reid had Brian Westbrook
and LeSean McCoy at his disposal in Philadelphia and walked into an
opportunity with Charles, who caught three passes for a mere 23 yards and ran
for 77 yards and a score on 16 carries for a Chiefs team that went 2-14 last
season, tied with Jacksonville for the worst mark in the NFL.
Charles is expected to be a key piece to Reid's West Coast offense and
suffered a quad bruise against the Jags. Charles' leg was stepped on and he
isn't expected to miss any time, as players around the league often suffer
nicks and bruises on a weekly basis.
"Jamaal has a quad contusion. He does have a range of motion, but we'll just
see how he does here, over this week," Reid said during Monday's press
conference. "He is moving around today, he's ok."
Knile Davis and Cyrus Gray got some playing time when Charles needed a blow.
"We mixed it up a bit. You saw Knile in there; he was in for a few snaps,"
Reid said. "We're using Cyrus in some third-down situations. We're trying to
use all of them the best we could, so that's what we did."
Reid noted how Jacksonville was prepared for Kansas City's ground attack by
loading the box and said necessary changes would be made if needed.
Meanwhile, Dallas was able to top the NFC East-rival New York Giants, 36-31,
in Sunday night's primetime showdown in Big D. The Cowboys scored 24 points
off six New York turnovers and won its season opener for a second straight
"Obviously, turnovers were the story of the game," Cowboys head coach Jason
Garrett said. "We took it away from them six times and it's been a huge point
of emphasis for us from minute one. It's a great feeling as a coaching staff
when your players are able to take that emphasis from the practice field into
the ballgame to start the season."
Cowboys safety Barry Church had a 27-yard fumble return for a touchdown and
defensive back Brandon Carr picked off a Manning pass, returning it 49 yards
to the end zone. Manning was sacked three times, but still found a way to
throw four TD passes and complete 27-of-42 attempts for 450 yards.
Defending the pass didn't come easy for the Cowboys last season and so far the
unit needs work after just one game. Three Giants receivers had 100-plus yards
and combined for 333. Victor Cruz led the trio with three touchdown catches.
Carr, Will Allen and DeMarcus Ware all had interceptions for a Dallas defense
that registered six passes defensed.
Allen said alignments and lack of attention to detail hurt Dallas' defensive
backfield. He was just happy for the win and the focus will now shift to the
"That's just one win under our belt," Allen said. "We've got Kansas City now.
That's the mentality. It's over with. The six turnovers are over with. We've
got to do it again."
For how poorly the Cowboys were in pass coverage, they managed to keep the
Giants' running game grounded. David Wilson lost two fumbles and was even
benched by head coach Tom Coughlin. Wilson is a dangerous runner in space, but
was a non-factor Sunday night. Things could be a bit different with Charles
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant enter Arrowhead
Stadium nicked up. Romo is dealing with bruised ribs and Bryant has a foot
sprain. Both players underwent MRIs and results were negative. Expect Romo and
Bryant to be in uniform Sunday.
The Cowboys lead the all-time series with Kansas City, 6-3, and have prevailed
in four of the past five meetings. The last time Dallas and Kansas City met
was on Oct. 11, 2009 in a 26-20 overtime win for the Cowboys, who are 2-2 as
the visitor in this matchup. Miles Austin had career day in his first NFL
start, catching 10 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, including the
game-winning, 60-yard TD catch in overtime.
The Chiefs began life as the Dallas Texans and spent three years (1960-62) in
the city before moving to the Show-Me State. Kansas City last started 2-0 back
in 2010, when it won its first three games out of the chute. Dallas' last 2-0
start was a three-game winning streak to kick off 2008.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The Chiefs' defense looked sharp on Sunday and held the Jaguars to 178 total
yards. Granted the Chiefs were playing Jacksonville, it was still impressive
for a Week 1 performance since the starters don't play four quarters in the
preseason. Injuries usually rear their heads early on as players get adjusted
and Kansas City was able to squeeze by unscathed.
Kansas City picked off Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert twice and recorded
six sacks on the afternoon, three of which from linebacker Justin Houston, who
has eight sacks in eight career games against teams from the NFC. Linebacker
Tamba Hali returned an INT 10 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for
the final margin.
"I thought defensively, the defense came out and played very good football.
You take those first 13 drives and anytime you can hold a team to 70 yards
total offense, is an achievement," Reid said. "You know pressuring the
quarterback is a big thing in the National Football League, really able to do
that and accumulating six sacks is a big thing."
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew was held to 45 yards on 15 carries. In
games where Jones-Drew recorded at least 15 carries, that is the second-lowest
rushing total of his career. The Chiefs are facing a true test Sunday and
perhaps Reid's familiarity with the Cowboys will pay off. Last week's win
boosted the confidence factor for the Chiefs.
"It gives us momentum going into next week," Chiefs wide receiver Junior
Hemingway said. "There are some things we need to work on as a team, but
getting this win raises the morale for us. It will help us tremendously, going
into next week. We have to come out (Sunday) and play good football."
The Cowboys will serve as a major test for the Chiefs and dropped 36 points on
a talented New York squad. The six turnovers obviously helped and teams have
to take advantage of those opportunities.
Dallas put the ball into Romo's hands quite often and he attempted 49 passes,
completing 36 of them for 262 yards and two TDs with an interception. His
bruised ribs shouldn't be a factor in K.C. and Bryant's balky foot is not
expected to keep him from playing. The Cowboys have Austin and tight end Jason
Witten to torment the Chiefs with as well, while running back DeMarco Murray
fared better in Week 1 than Jones-Drew with 86 yards on 20 carries.
Austin hopes to have another big game at Arrowhead, where he scorched the
Chiefs a few years ago with 250 yards receiving, breaking Bob Hayes' single-
game record for the franchise. Garrett was the offensive coordinator then and
remembers the game quite well.
"It really was one of the best days I have been around in football ... both as
a player and as a coach," Garrett said. "Miles Austin comes from Monmouth
University as an undrafted free agent. He has an unbelievable way about him as
a person and the approach that he takes as a football player. When a guy like
that who comes from where he comes from and goes about it the way he does has
that kind of success when he gets his opportunity ... to this day I still kind
of feel the thing down the back of my neck.
"It's what this thing is all about. He goes about it the right way. He's a
pleasure to coach. It was a great day for him. It was a great day for our
Romo has had some great days against teams from the AFC. He has won three
straight and five of his last six games against AFC foes, and passed for 351
yards with two touchdowns passes in his last game against Kansas City. Kansas
City's front line isn't as intimidating as New York's, but its linebackers can
make a difference. Hali, Houston and Derrick Johnson are very productive for
the Chiefs and hope to disrupt Dallas' offensive scheme. Romo was sacked twice
in Sunday's win over the G-men.
Cowboys newcomer and veteran guard Brian Waters could see action Sunday. He
did not play versus the Giants.
Smith was sacked just once in the win over the Jaguars and now has to face a
Cowboys defense led by Ware, who can change the outcome of a game on any given
down and will try to pressure Chiefs rookie tackle Eric Fisher. Fisher was
pleased with his performance in Week 1 and understands how vital watching film
and studying your opponent is.
"Film study is always great," Fisher said Sunday. "It makes you so much better
of a player. You learn so much, so the more studying you can get in, the
better and I'm looking forward to getting in there and learning more."
Playing against the Jaguars has zero comparison to what Fisher will experience
Sunday versus the Cowboys because they're a team that's ready to win right
now. Can Fisher hold his own? Sure, but not for 60 minutes. And neither will
Kansas City's defense. Expect another high-scoring game for a Cowboys squad
looking to go 2-0 on the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cowboys 27, Chiefs 16
09/12 12:36:42 ET