IRVING, Texas –The Cowboys are coming off a Week 1 win over the Giants, and now go on the road to face an upstart team that many people are thinking could be a surprise this year. And they'll have to do it in a tough environment.
That was basically what the Cowboys did last year – beating the Giants to start the year only to get blasted in Seattle the next game. The Cowboys went to 1-1 and that trend held strong all year as they finished 8-8 for the second straight season.
This year, the Chiefs could be this year's Seahawks – or at least that's how they're being portrayed around Dallas this week. With Andy Reid taking over as head coach, Alex Smith now at quarterback with a host of good, young players around him, the Chiefs could be this year's sleeper team in the NFL.
Here are the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus, David Helman and Rowan Kavner.
I know the Chiefs went 2-14 last year, I know they have rookie right tackle and I know their offense didn't look all that amazing against Jacksonville. I still can't shake the feeling that this will be a close, nasty, maybe slightly sloppy game decided by a touchdown or less. Arrowhead Stadium is going to be fired up for a 1-0 start and a new head coach. The Chiefs defense is going to be nasty – six sacks, 178 total yards and no offensive points allowed is impressive, I don't care who you're playing. I'm thinking this game will be up for grabs in the last five or six minutes, and the winner will be the team that makes a play. Fortunately for the Cowboys, I think they have more playmakers to rely on.
The Chiefs aren't the same team from years past that should be taken for granted. I don't want to take too much from their opening win against the Jags, but the stadium will be loud in the first home game of the season at Arrowhead and the defense has some legitimately talented pieces, particularly on the outside. I still think Dez finds a way to get open this week against some talented corners, and Lance Dunbar will make a difference with his touches. It'll be a low-scoring affair and the Cowboys' special teams units need to play a much more positive role than last year at this time to pull a close on out.
Well, this is my game I've had targeted since the schedule came out. I think it'll tell a lot about this year. Sure, it's only one game out of 16, but I still believe we'll know if this team is any different by how they handle this game. I think Arrowhead will be buzzing from start to finish. I can see a big play early in the game for the Chiefs – something like a McCluster screen pass or a bomb to Donnie Avery. While I think the Cowboys are the better team, I keep harping back to last year's game in Seattle. Then again, if we're going with last year, Kansas City won just two games. Give me Cowboys, but close.
Last week against the Giants, it was a quiet game by Sean Lee's standards. Lee was around the ball but he wasn't in as many piles as we have been accustom to seeing him in the past. This game against the Chiefs is setting up to be the type of contest that he shines in. The Chiefs are going to try and run the ball with Jamaal Charles to make Alex Smith's life easier. Sean Lee through his preparation knows that Charles cannot be successful running the ball in this game. My gut feeling is that Lee plays a huge role in keeping not only Jamaal Charles but this entire Kansas City running game in check.