Sunday will be the first home game of the Andy Reid era for the Kansas City Chiefs and it coincides with the first real test for Reid’s squad. The Dallas Cowboys are a stark contrast from the Jacksonville Jaguars in that Dallas is a much better team. Still, the opportunity to take a step towards making winning in Arrowhead Stadium a difficult task for visiting teams again is well within reach for Kansas City.
Both Dallas and Kansas City have had asterisks placed next to their week one victories. They “yeah, but…” for the Chiefs was the quality of their opponent while for the Cowboys it was the fact that the New York Giants turned the ball over six times and still almost beat the Cowboys at home. Both teams are not only looking to stay undefeated but add a win with unchallenged legitimacy to their credentials.
The chess pieces are moving
When Dallas is on offense, the Chiefs’ focus will be on limiting the big plays that quarterback Tony Romo, wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten are capable of creating. Getting pressure on Romo has proven to be an effective way to force turnovers from the Dallas offense. Look for Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton to trust the secondary to contain Bryant and Witten while he sends the front seven towards Romo in a variety of ways.
On Kansas City possessions, the Chiefs should try to take advantage of the aggressive style of the new Dallas defense called by new coordinator Monte Kiffin. Screens, draws and counters will be employed to try to back the Cowboys off their blitz packages. If those plays are successful the Chiefs could then go to play action passes to take advantage of a Dallas defense that would be back on its heels and in a read-and-react mode.
It all hinges on this
The big matchup that may very well determine this game will be Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe vs. the Dallas secondary. Last week Giants’ wide receiver Victor Cruz drenched the Dallas defensive backs with salsa thanks to his five catches for 118 yards and three touchdowns. If Bowe can put up numbers similar to that, the Chiefs will have a good chance to win. If the Cowboys can limit Bowe then Dallas may very well leave Arrowhead with a victory.
This should be an evenly matched game between two teams looking to establish themselves. It will come down to which team can make the most big plays, or which team fails to stop the other from making big plays. The chance for the Chiefs to start reasserting home field dominance is there. Sunday’s result will tell fans whether or not the Chiefs are ready.