Write week one down as a victory for the Dallas Cowboys. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but the defense made the plays when they had to, creating six turnovers against the rival Giants.
It wasn’t Tony Romo flinging passes downfield at the end of the game trying to bring the Cowboys back for the win. This time it was the defense who won the game by shutting down a potential game winning drive by Eli Manning with an interception by Brandon Carr.
Watching the Cowboys send the Giants packing created one of the most emotional highs that Cowboys Nation has had in a long time. However, it’s time to move on to the next game.
The game at Kansas City is a dangerous one especially after such an emotional win the week before. Underrated is one word to describe the Chiefs, especially with Andy Reid as a coach. Reid is as familiar with this Dallas team as any outsider could be after his years of coaching the division rival Eagles.
Kansas City also has six pro-bowlers on their team. Talent hasn’t been an issue with this team and with a good coach like Reid they could definitely be in the playoff hunt. They beat up on the Jacksonville Jaguars in week one, winning a 28-2 blowout.
Of course, Jacksonville is one of the worst teams in football, but the Chiefs’ defense pitching a shut-out is still impressive. Coach Garrett needs to make sure that last week’s victory is out of his players’ minds by the time they get to KC.
The Dallas offense needs to play better against the Chiefs. Dez Bryant needs to be involved early on because it is doubtful that Reid will employ the same “we’ll let you pass it to anyone but Dez” technique that Tom Coughlin used week one.
The Chiefs defense is better, or at least healthier, than the Giants’, but the Dallas offense didn’t play its best football in week one either. Dez was hardly involved, and Murray basically served as the only running back. Lance Dunbar was back in practice today, and if Bill Callahan can work him into the game plan for some change-of-pace plays, that will help this offense reach its full potential.
Offensively, it may be hard to run the ball against the Chiefs’ front seven, but it’s important that Dallas get Murray, and hopefully Dunbar, involved with either run plays or short passes/screens.
Defensively, the main focus will be stopping Jamaal Charles, one of the best running backs in the league. Sean Lee and Bruce Carter need to step up on run plays in order to keep Charles in check. Barry Church can sneak up into the box occasionally as well to help stop the run game.
In the passing game, the defensive line needs to put pressure on Alex Smith. He’s a solid quarterback, but he won’t be able to torch the Cowboys down the field if the defense gets a good pass rush. Anthony Spencer could be back with limited playing time, and he will definitely help improve the pass rush.
Expect to see new offensive line addition Brian Waters as well. I assume he will start although he could alternate possessions with Mackenzy Bernadeau if his conditioning isn’t where it should be. Although the offensive line played well against the Giants, adding Waters will help with talent and depth.
In summary, I’m more worried about this game than the week one game. The Chiefs are underrated by the casual fan, and it is essential that the Cowboys don’t make the same presumption, because the Chiefs will be ready to prove themselves against a team better than the Jacksonville Jaguars.