I ran this feature last year and I’m doing it again this year. I try to look ahead to see what the Cowboys face in the next week’s opponent. Last year, I wrote this after the Cowboys played and included a recap. This year, recaps are being done by someone else, so this will focus more on the opponent and how they performed. Typical “Looking Ahead” features will include this.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Kansas City is up on Jacksonville 28-2. This isn’t the only odd score, since there have already been 3 safeties. Since Jacksonville, frankly, sucks, I’m going to put this as a win in the Kansas City column.
Jacksonville is notably awful, so the 69 yards of offense they have accumulated three minutes into the fourth has to be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, The Chiefs do feature individual talent on defense. Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Eric Flowers and Justin Houston (who has been on fire today) are the notable names on defense. I don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of Houston or Johnson, but Berry and Flowers were relatively high draft picks, and Hali is excellent. You may have heard of Dontari Poe as well. He was the guy some thought Dallas was going to draft until they traded up to Claiborne. There is actual talent there, but last year (with the same guys) they grossly under-performed. Kansas City 25th in points per game and had a Cowboys-level 13 takeaways on the season. Still, they have enough talent to legitimately challenge the Cowboys.
On offense, individually, they’re not awful. Jamaal Charles (still!) is criminally underrated, and Alex Smith is an upgrade to Matt Cassel. Dwayne Bowe puts up great fantasy numbers but drops a lot of passes. Other than him there really isn’t much. Dexter McCluster is trying to shed the bust label. Of course, that isn’t entirely his fault. An excellent athlete at Appalachian State, the Chiefs tried to turn him into an all purpose weapon, sort of like what Reggie Bush was his first year at New Orleans. That didn’t go particularly well, and his career has suffered. Last year he produced like a number 3/4 wide receiver, but with a better quarterback his stats may improve. Donnie Avery was a speedster out of Houston who used his 40 time (4.27 [!]) to get drafted by the Rams in the second round. Despite putting up decent numbers in St. Louis, he bounced around, playing for the Rams, Titans and Colts, before falling in with the Chiefs. B.W. Webb and Orlando Scandrick have posted the two fastest 40 times (both under 4.4) so they might want to cover Avery, even when he’s on the outside. Avery was 24 when he played his first down, and suffered a knee injury in 2010 (hence why he bounced around) so he might have slowed some. Still, he is fast by any measure.
As far as the offensive line goes, I’ll admit I had to consult Arrow Head Pride again. Though not entirely healthy, Eric Fisher, the number one pick in the draft, is expected to be ready for Dallas. He and Brandon Albert make up a solid tackle-tandem (God that is a cheesy phrase). I have never heard of the other three lineman, with 94% of Arrow Head Pride readers rating their offensive line as a 4-6, 7-9 or a 10.
Random other facts:
- Dallas will, once again, face Andy Reid. I have no idea how to quantify this fact, but I can’t imagine it hurts.
- George Selvie, a second string defensive lineman for the Cowboys, has played for three separate teams: the Rams, Jaguars, Panthers, and Jaguars again. Honestly, is it possible to play, while changing teams at least once every year, for more pathetic squads?
- This kick starts an easy three game stretch: the Chiefs, Rams and Chargers back to back to back. Then, they hit a brick wall in Denver, where, bluntly, they’ll probably get their asses kicked.
I think the Cowboys will win. Kansas City has no shot at the Superbowl, but they aren’t desperately awful either. They’re probably a 5-11, 6-10 or 7-9 team. Dallas is probably an 8-8 team, so it shouldn’t be a blowout either way.