COMMENTARY | When the Dallas Cowboys enter Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the Kansas City Chiefs both teams will be sporting identical 1-0 records, yet will be coming off very different paths to victory.
The Chiefs opened the 2013 season against the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars with a 28-2 win, leaning on a complete team effort and a dominant defensive performance. Dallas, however, had to dig down deep -- including a Brandon Carr pick-6 late in the fourth quarter -- to eventually down the New York Giants by the final count of 36-31.
While the Cowboys were not all that explosive on offense in Week 1, the likes of Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are capable of lighting up the scoreboard each time they take the field.
Here are three keys for the Chiefs on defense to keep the Dallas offense at bay on Sunday.
Disrupt Romo's Timing and Keep Him Off-Balance
Romo's style under center is in the mold of a cerebral gun-slinger, so he has the capability of putting up the big game yet will also make his share of mistakes as well. What can save Romo at times, however, is his ability to escape the pocket and create plays that otherwise wouldn't be there for traditional pocket-passers.
The key for the Chiefs is to disrupt Romo's pocket, but keep him contained enough to force him into throwing either too early or too late in the progression.
Kansas City's defense will be aggressive, especially on the edge rush with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali; so the push in the middle will be how the Chiefs can dictate the pocket. If Dontari Poe duplicates last week's effort against the Cowboys on Sunday, Romo could be in for a long afternoon.
Stuff Intermediate Passing Game
Of Romo's 36 pass completions, 26 went to Austin, Witten and Murray -- a wide receiver who lines up in the slot often, a tight end and a running back -- meaning that the Cowboys offense likes to utilize a short passing game to move the chains.
If that sets up the big play, it just makes Dallas that much more dangerous. But this offense thrives on timing and allowing the ball-carrier to work in space, so look for Romo to try to do much of the same against an attacking Kansas City defense.
The Chiefs can balance this out by disguising its pass rush, which will prohibit Romo from dictating the play before the snap.
Tackle, Tackle, Tackle (Especially DeMarco Murray)
Romo and Co. have shown over the years that the Cowboys offense will be productive, so the Chiefs will not be able to completely shut them down. What Kansas City's defense must do, however, is sniff out the ball-carrier quickly and bring him down - especially Murray, who ran 20 times last week against the Giants for 86 yards.
The Chiefs throttled Jacksonville's rushing attack in Week 1 (23 carries for 71 yards), but leaned on an early lead to make the Jaguars offense one-dimensional. But Dallas is obviously more of a challenge and should be able to stick with the run throughout the contest.
Kansas City must prevent the four-to-five yard gains from turning into 10-12 yards gains, which could ultimately decide the game.Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
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