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Week 9 Cowboys vs Chiefs Staff Picks and Notes



Week 9 Cowboys vs Chiefs Staff Picks and Notes
David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT

Your Dallas Cowboys will host the Kansas City Chiefs this week at AT&T Stadium in Arlington for what looks to be another of those "tests" that could make or break Dallas' season. The Chiefs currently sit at 6-2 and are tied atop the AFC with the Patriots and Steelers.

The biggest storyline going into this week was how would the Cowboys win this game without their number one rusher, Ezekiel Elliott. Then on Friday morning, the second circuit court handed down a stay that will allow Zeke to play this week. Elliott may have dominated the news cycle this week with the never-ending flip-flopping from playing to not playing to playing again, but Elliott deserves that spotlight for another reason. The Chiefs are horrible against the run.

Last week, the Chiefs gave up 157 yards on the ground to Denver's running backs. The Broncos don't have quite the same attack that the Cowboys do, splitting those yards among three backs with no more than 15 carries each, but the Steelers are a different story. Kansas City played the Steelers a few weeks back and allowed Le'Veon Bell to gash them to the tune of 179 yards and one touchdown.

The Chiefs have given up 131 rushing yards per game this season, with an average of 4.86 yards per attempt. That's just good enough to rank them in the top 30 in the league.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys seem to have found their groove these last few weeks.

Ezekiel Elliott has run for more than 100 in his last three games, with two rushing touchdowns in each of his last two games. His average on the year is 4.2 yards on 164 carries, but since the bye he's averaging 5.1 yards per carry on 59 touches for 297 yards. He's also had two receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown since the bye week.

As the offensive line has gained stability with new additions, the Dallas Cowboys' rushing game has begun to flourish. How long will we get to have Zeke in the backfield? Who knows. At this point, pick an answer out of hat.

But this week, against a team that is good enough to give the Cowboys fits, Zeke will play, and Zeke could ball out.

The injury report for the Cowboys this week isn't too surprising. The only two players listed as out are--surprise, surprise--Dan Bailey and Chidobe Awuzie. Awuzie has been missing in action so that's nothing new, and newly signed free agent kicker Mike Nugent wasn't horrible filling in for Bailey. Nugent is no Bailey, but he was mostly reliable against the Redskins in week eight.

Before we get to the staff picks, here's something many of our younger readers may not know. The first professional football team in Dallas, TX was the Dallas Texans. The Dallas Texans then moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs several years before the Dallas Cowboys were added to the league. Google that history if you get a minute.

As always, I want to see your predictions for the game in the comments.

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Ezekiel Elliott's Last Minute Availability Proves Invaluable

In no way does having Ezekiel Elliott available this week against the Kansas City Chiefs ensure a victory, but it absolutely improves their odds. The Chiefs defense is allowing 4.9 yards per carry this season, which should allow the Cowboys to control the clock and keep the Chiefs offense off the field as much as possible. I think this could end up being a shootout, but home-field advantage favors the Cowboys. Brian Martin – @BrianMartinNFL

Cowboys 27 – Chiefs 24

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Cowboys Win a Close Shootout

I think this will be a shootout in Dallas. I called the Cowboys to win this game before we knew Zeke was playing. So now, with their star running back on the field, I'm calling the Cowboys to put more than 30 points on the board. Mauricio Rodriguez – @PepoR99

Cowboys 31 – Chiefs 28

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Ezekiel Elliott Powers Team to Victory Over Chiefs

The roller coaster ride continues, but this time it falls in the Cowboys favor. After expecting Dallas to be without their star running back, we found out Friday that he will be eligible to play against the Chiefs on Sunday. This is huge news for the Cowboys seeing as the Chiefs have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Look for the Cowboys to pound the rock, but also look for Dak Prescott to make a couple of big time throws to lead the Dallas Cowboys to victory. Connor Livesay – @connorx147

Cowboys 35 – Chiefs 28

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Putting on the Pressure at Home

We should all be excited about having Ezekiel Elliott on the field for another week, especially against a beatable Kansas City rushing defense. While I think that having him will certainly help the Cowboys offense control the game, I am more excited to see Rod Marinelli's defense against the stiff challenge of the Chiefs' balanced attack. I have Taco Charlton getting his first career sack and the Cowboys picking up a crucial third straight win. Sean Martin – @SeanMartinNFL

Cowboys 28 – Chiefs 24

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Chain Moving, Clock Burning Cowboys Offense Does It Again

When Elliott looked to be out I thought KC would win a shoot-out. With Elliott back Dallas' ability to drain the clock makes the difference. Still a relatively high scoring game, but I dropped the score. Elliott continues his recent domination and the cowboys close out a close one, lucky to survive an encounter with Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. The difference? The Chiefs defense can't stop the Cowboys on third down. Christopher Wätjen – @SingForTheDay

Cowboys 37 – Chiefs 33

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Cowboys Good Times Keep Rolling

Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott have been on a roll offensively and it continues against the Chiefs as they get up early and hang on late to improve to 5-3. John Williams – @john9williams

Cowboys 31 – Chiefs 24

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Cowboys Keep Streaking

I liked Dallas to win even with Elliott out, but now that Zeke's playing I think they fully exploit the Chiefs' poor run defense and keep their offensive weapons off the field. KC is also giving up close to three sacks per game, which means DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving should make an impact as well. Jess Haynie – @CowboysAddicts

Cowboys 27 – Chiefs 20

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Points on Points

The return of Ezekiel Elliott from a four-day suspension will give the Cowboys the jolt they need to defeat Kansas City this week. I expect this game to be a shootout, and while the Chiefs do have a solid secondary, they have been very shaky against the run. If you're betting, take the over. Kevin Brady – @KevinBrady88

Cowboys 33 – Chiefs 27

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5-3, Chance for NFC East Starts With the Chiefs

Every week matters when a division opponent is sitting on 1 loss halfway through the season, and this week is no different for the Cowboys. They want to have a shot at the NFC East title and must keep building their record to do it. The Chiefs are what we all know they are, but at least with Elliott cleared to play we can attack their biggest weakness, run defense. My bold prediction for the game is that three Cowboys will get sacks (Lawrence, Irving, and Collins). Bryson Treece – @BrysonTreece

Cowboys 31 – Chiefs 27

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Don't let the hype fool you. Betting lines may have shifted with Zeke's latest change, and the staff here at ITS is behind Dallas 100%, but the Chiefs are a good football team. Get'cha popcorn ready!

Share your game picks below and, as always, Go Cowboys!

This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.

  • nick

    Dak and zeke both run a TD in, dez sets the franchise TD record with a TD catch and beasley snags a TD too. Nugent nails 2 field goals as well. The boys hold kelce in check, but hill beats them for 1 TD and hunt runs 2 in. There kicker knocks down 2 field goals as well but it’s not enough. Zeke wears them down in the 4th and grinds out another 100 + yard game.

    34-27 COWBOYS !!!

    • Bryson Treece

      That 100+ yards for Zeke will be crucial, I think. If we don’t control the clock, they will.

  • Russ_Te

    Whereas it was Bad Moon Rising after the Packers loss, now it’s more like a new moon. You can see the offense coming together & they must be laughing at Goodell at this point.

    Then you add in a home game against a leaking Chiefs front 7, and it could be perfect storm time.

    Cowboys 38-24

    • Bryson Treece

      Exactly! Thanks for reading.

  • Martin Downing III

    The Cowboys and Chiefs both entered their respective leagues in 1960. The Chiefs were called the Texans and were one of the original 8 AFL Teams and the Cowboys were the original expansion team for the NFL that same year. If you’re going to give a history lesson at least get it right.

    • Bryson Treece

      Notice I did NOT write “NFL” or name the league at all? Also didn’t imply connection beyond location. Lot of kids will look it up with just a small teaser like that, learning there was football in Dallas before the Cowboys and the NFL. But the point is for them to look it up themselves. Too many young fans don’t even know the name Murchison.

      But since you mention it, the Kansas City Chiefs began in August 1959, the Dallas Cowboys began January 1960, though the Cowboys would have come a few years sooner if not for some difficulty with Washington on the league vote. Don’t bust my balls about bad info with bad info, dude. Enjoy the game, Martin! haha

    • tkbaines

      Gee whiz Martin…I was waiting all week for a truly earth moving, and highly relevant comment such as yours. The event to which you are referring occurred nearly 60 years ago, and weather or not Dallas Cowboys came about a year or several years after the Texans moved to Kansas is of no consequence or even interest to me. It’s a good article and you correcting a small error over which you are trying to establish your “expertise”; it’s like saying “you forgot to cross your t or dot you I” to an author. No one cares. And by the way, calling a writer names pretty much diminishes all credibility for your previous comments.

      • Bryson Treece

        Some men just need to make themselves feel better by shitting on others. Gave him one response, but I’m enjoying that win too much for another. Thanks for the kind words, TK! Much appreciated.

Game Notes

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady



Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There's no doubt the Dallas Cowboys passing game faltered in 2017. Though never expected to throw for many yards, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys failed to maximize their attempts down the stretch. The passing game was simply inefficient and ineffective.

One reason the passing game took a step back was the disappearance of slot receiver Cole Beasley. Whether you blame defenses adjusting their coverages on third downs towards Beasley, Beasley growing another year older, or quarterback Dak Prescott, Beasley simply didn't look like the same player in 2017.

In the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected a wide out who many anticipate could replace Beasley, in time. Rookie wide receiver Ryan Switzer rarely got chances to make an impact on offense this season, designated as the return man for much of the year. With Cole Beasley out for the season finale, however, Switzer got his chance to make a name for himself.

While the numbers were far from gaudy, Ryan Switzer showed some things we should be excited about for the future.

dalvsphi2018 switzer - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Ryan Switzer's first target came on a third down -- something Cowboys Nation should get used to heading into 2018. Switzer is lined up inside in trips on the near-side of the formation. The Eagles show man coverage pre-snap, and with just one safety over top and the other rotated down on top of Jason Witten, it is clear to Dak Prescott they plan to bring some pressure.

As soon as Prescott gets the snap, his eyes go to Ryan Switzer.

The cornerback plays Switzer with inside leverage, refusing to be beat with a hot slant route. Switzer instead keeps the defender on his back hip and creates separation with an out-breaking route.

Prescott delivers the ball towards the sideline where the defender can't catch up to it, and Switzer comes away with the first down.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 2 - Streamable

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Later in the game, we once again see Ryan Switzer targeted from this inside-alignment.

Switzer is a pretty prototypical slot receiver, and if used correctly he should win in man coverage situations often. The cornerback attempts to maintain inside leverage on Switzer and get physical at the top of his route. Ryan Switzer does a nice job of fighting through that physicality and crossing the defender's face over the middle. He flashes open pretty quickly, and Prescott delivers a strike for the completion.

If Switzer can create this type of separation often, I see no reason why he shouldn't be a focus of the offense in 2018.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 3 - Streamable

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Switzer's third target is actually an incompletion, but it is worth studying, regardless. Switzer is in the slot on the far side and the Cowboys once again are in trips alignment. The cornerback over Switzer is in man coverage, but gives him room to breathe at the line of scrimmage.

Switzer exploits the cornerback -- who is cheating to the inside -- with his footwork and route running. He gets to the sticks, breaks to the outside, and creates enough separation for a first-down completion. Prescott delivers the ball a bit late and behind Switzer, causing an incompletion instead.

I'd still like to see Switzer adjust to the ball and make this catch, but I put more of the blame for this play on Prescott.

With a full offseason to work within the offensive system, as well as to develop chemistry with quarterback Dak Prescott, Ryan Switzer will prove to be an important piece to the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.

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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game

Mauricio Rodriguez



Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer's Good Game 1
AP Photo / Michael Ainsworth

The Dallas Cowboys put an end to a long, long season last Sunday after they defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia in a game that had absolutely no meaning for either team. Surprisingly, the Cowboys played with their healthy starters most of the game, but were barely able to put six points on the board, which were enough to take the win home.

The Cowboys might've lost more than what they actually won, and most of the fans were unhappy with the victory. Despite it being a pretty boring football game, we still learned a few things about the Dallas Cowboys.

The season's finally over. It wasn't easy, but we're still here. Here's to 2018. Let's hope it's a good one for our Cowboys. Here's this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday!

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Coaching Staff Didn't Help Its Cause

It's more than fair to say that a lot of us want to see changes in Dallas. And specifically, changes in the coaching staff. After the Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention, Jerry Jones said Jason Garrett's job was not an issue. Now, Jerry's even talking about Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan being back in 2018. Who knows if it's true.

While I don't think we'll see a new head coach anytime soon, I'd dare say that after the horrible game versus Philadelphia the front office at least got to thinking.

Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, HC Jason Garrett

Coming into this game, the team had a choice to make: play with the starters to win it, or let guys like Cooper Rush in the game and see what happens. A loss would've meant a better draft position for the Cowboys and a chance to see what rookies and other young players could bring to the table.

But they decided to manage the game like it was a "real action" game. Being conservative. Not going for it when there was nothing to lose. They did so after a team that, with the NFC's #1 seed secured, basically played with its B team. Not only that but for the Eagles, most of the game was played by a third string QB.

Despite all this, the Cowboys could hardly beat the Eagles 6-0. Poor execution and all, I can't help thinking about the coaches.

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Cowboys Should Keep Datone Jones for 2018

In late November, the Dallas Cowboys signed Datone Jones after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. The former Packers' first-round pick made an impact when he was given the chance. His play at DT was pretty solid and he showed very promising flashes.

DatoneJones - Streamable

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Jones will be under contract in 2018 and I'd be surprised if the Cowboys don't keep him another year. Per Over The Cap, he'll be paid $790,000 next year which isn't at all expensive for a 27-year-old player.

The Cowboys would add depth and even a potential starter at DT for next season.

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Ryan Switzer Can Play as a Wide Receiver

With Cole Beasley missing the game because of an illness, we finally got to see Ryan Switzer at WR. We had already seen good things from him as a kick returner, but on offense, he hasn't been as involved as Cowboys Nation expected him to be.

Last Sunday though, Switzer was used for more than a jet sweep.

SwitzerWR - Streamable

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He still has a long way to go, but I was impressed by his ability to create separation. I really hope he's used more next season.

At the end of the day, he's a fourth-round pick. He should be playing more on offense, not just on "gadget plays" or special teams. Could Ryan Switzer be Dak Prescott's best friend in the future? Only time will tell. Right now, it's too optimistic to expect something like that.

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Dan Bailey's Confidence is Shattered

Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey's 2017 season hasn't been easy at all. We've seen him miss kicks we never imagined he would, including extra points. One of the most painful moments of the Cowboys' season came late in the season finale when he lined up to kick a simple 20-yard field goal.

The ball went up, but failed to split the uprights. Dan Bailey stood in complete disbelief, with a blank look in his face. His confidence, shattered.

For kickers, it's all about confidence.

For years, we referred to Dan "Automatic" Bailey as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Now we're not sure about calling him "Automatic" anymore. Bailey will have a lot of time to pick himself up though, and will probably be back at it next year.

Let's hope that's the case.

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For now, the only thing left to say is one of the most encouraging, yet sad phrases in sports... Maybe next year. We're on to the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: Cowboys Starters Produce Uninspiring Week 17 Win

Playing more than enough of their starters in hopes of ending this 2017 season on a high note at the Eagles, the Cowboys produced a lackluster 6-0 win that will surely leave a bad taste in the mouths of Cowboys Nation - despite it being a victory.

The win put the Cowboys at 9-7 on the season, and it is a shame they had nothing to play for in this regular season finale. Once again in week 17, it was the offense holding back another fantastic performance by Rod Marinelli's defense.

We'll discuss both units in this final 2017 Dallas Cowboys version of Sean's Scout.

  • You have to love the way Chidobe Awuzie was able to bring physicality to a young Cowboys secondary that had another solid game. 

There were times earlier in this season when it seemed the Cowboys' second-round pick would have a lost season due to multiple hamstring injuries, but Awuzie quickly tuned around his rookie campaign by coming in and playing with exceptional technique and awareness.

With enough length to turn and run, Awuzie thrived in this zone scheme by keeping everything in front of him, as he did on his interception of Nick Foles. With Dallas in Cover 2 on the play, Chidobe read Foles' eyes the whole time to the boundary and was in position to cut off the pass.

This is a topic we'll now have much more time to discuss, and it is a hollowing one considering it was truly the Cowboys offense that kept them from the playoffs this season. The need for new talent at WR is clear, but the need for a target that better suits Prescott's strengths going into year three is even more important.

His pass catchers, along with inconsistencies in pass protection, were the main reasons Prescott struggled in 2017, although in this game it seemed like the only time he was affected in the pocket was when forcing the ball late to Bryant.

Coming from a spread system in college, Prescott simply does not have experience throwing his receivers open -- relying on route combinations and separation ability to hit open targets. Dez Bryant hasn't been that type of player through his career, and certainly isn't now that he's lost a step.

  • 9 wins for a team unlike their usual selves up front offensively is still pretty impressive. 

The Cowboys got nearly no impact from any of their free agent signings this season, which is why the depth of the team held them back once again. Veteran Byron Bell was brought in as a backup swing tackle, but he is simply not a scheme fit at tackle here.

Dak Prescott should not have been playing with Bell as his LT, and eventually Joe Looney at LG after Jonathan Cooper went down.

Bell lacks the quick-twitch ability and athleticism needed to be successful on every down, and it showed as he was again beaten by both speed and power against the Eagles.

The Cowboys have proven their acumen drafting young OL talent that performs at a high level early and often. So, instead of relying on more free agents, like Bell and Looney, drafting talent up front to spark the running game and give Prescott adequate protection is likely the best answer.

  • Ryan Switzer's ability to separate late in the down really stood out, as he finally got his chance at WR without Cole Beasley

Growing calls for more of Ryan Switzer on offense will surely take root this offseason after he caught four passes for 32 yards in the absence of Cole Beasley yesterday. More of a one-speed player at North Carolina, Switzer's spacial awareness and smoothness in giving Prescott somewhere to throw the ball as plays developed was really impressive.

In order to be a great team at the NFL Draft, you have to accurately scout your own roster. It will be fascinating to see just how the Cowboys feel about their current pass catchers, with not only Ryan Switzer but the likes of Lance Lenoir and practice squad addition K.D. Cannon in the fold as well.

  • The Cowboys found themselves a valuable addition to their rotation at DT with Datone Jones. 

Jones was able to push the pocket throughout this game in Philadelphia, and has done so consistently since getting here, at both the 1T and 3T positions. Using his hands to generate power as a down-the-line player, Jones plays with great pad level. That allows him to shoot gaps when needed, or anchor the line of scrimmage.

The Cowboys have not prioritized adding premier talent at DT in recent years, and may forego it again this offseason as well. The Cowboys expect Maliek Collins to contribute further with another season at 1T and David Irving back at 3T.

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To everybody who made this 2017 season at Inside The Star as enjoyable as ever, I would like to thank the readers of Sean's Scout. All this aspiring scout can ask for is to enhance the fan experience through both wins and losses, and your feedback on this series helped me to confidently do just that.

As we prepare for an even better 2018, Sean's Scout won't be going anywhere! I'm shifting my full attention towards the NFL Draft, looking for prospects that could help the Dallas Cowboys reach the playoffs again next season.

Thank you for another roller-coaster ride we call football season, Cowboys Nation. Truly the best fans anywhere.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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