4 Chiefs players to watch in Week 11 vs. Cowboys

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One of the most anticipated matchups on this weekend’s schedule is the Kansas City Chiefs matchup against Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Both teams have been on a hot streak in recent weeks, making this a battle of top teams in both conferences.

While the Chiefs will benefit from the move of Cowboys WR Amari Cooper to the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday, this will still be a barnburner as “America’s Game of the Week.” Both teams are vying to show how capable they are to a national audience, with the Preston Road Trophy on the line for their owners. Kansas City is slightly favored heading into the tilt, and big performances from these four players will be crucial to securing the predicted win against Dallas in this marquee matchup.

WR Tyreek Hill

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Kansas City’s talent surrounding Patrick Mahomes will need to outplay the Cowboys’ rigid defense in this game in order to keep pace with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott on the other side. Hill should have a big chance to lead the Chiefs in receiving yards if he can maximize his roles as both a decoy and deep threat in the matchup, giving Mahomes a consistent target when tight end Travis Kelce sees double teams.

He’ll need to work the short and intermediate routes for yards after the catch, ideally helping Kansas City win the time of possession battle, moving the chains with consistency in the passing game. While Dallas would be wise to prioritize stopping Hill above anyone else on the Chiefs offense, the threats posed by running backs Darrel Williams and Clyde Edwards-Helaire paired with Kelce’s ability to gash defenses on any down could give the electric receiver the space he needs to operate to maximum effect.

LB/DE Melvin Ingram

AP Photo/David Becker

Kansas City’s latest defensive addition is already making a huge impact for the unit in his first handful of games playing in the team’s iconic red and white uniforms. Ingram seems to be totally bought into his role as a swiss army knife on the Chiefs’ defensive line, enabling defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to play Chris Jones on the inside, while still leveraging Frank Clark’s pass-rushing ability off the edge. The team’s defensive turnaround is due in no small part to the dynamic looks they’ve shown defenses in recent weeks, and Ingram is right in the middle of everything.

All three of the Chiefs’ star linemen will need to get after the quarterback in this game to hold Dallas to a respectable number of points. Dak Prescott is going to be a tough out, as he has played like an MVP candidate this season, and is likely to be a problem even without his primary receiver. Ingram could give Kansas City a huge benefit towards a victory with a sack or two in this matchup, or if he can put pressure on Prescott to force an interception. They’ll need to force a turnover or two, and Ingram would make a huge impression if he was involved in a game-breaking play.

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The former first-round pick returns to action this week after missing several games with a knee injury that led Kansas City to rely on Darrel Williams. Edwards-Helaire will need to earn the trust of coaches and fans in his first game back in action after the injury, and he could make up for early-season fumbles that have characterized his 2021 campaign so far.

Playing to retain his spot as the Chiefs’ lead back, Edwards-Helaire is likely to play with an extra edge in this game as he tries to fend off teammates from his extended workload. A couple of big runs, or even better a touchdown or two, would propel Edwards-Helaire back into the spotlight in Kansas City’s high-wire act of an offense, and he might help him gain confidence heading into the home stretch of the season.

S Juan Thornhill

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Now established as a starting safety beside Tyrann Mathieu in the Chiefs’ secondary, third-year defensive back Juan Thornhill has a big opportunity to wreak havoc on the Cowboys’ receivers with Amari Cooper ruled out. Cooper’s absence still leaves budding superstar CeeDee Lamb in the mix as the primary target for Dak Prescott, but it should be substantially easier for Kansas City to cover one deep threat instead of two.

With Mathieu playing mostly in the box, Thornhill is likely to be the last line of defense ensuring that Dallas doesn’t take the top off of the Chiefs’ defense on Sunday, and Kansas City’s resurgent pass rush could give him a chance to force a turnover if they can provide push upfront. Thornhill is still in the process of proving he can be the impact player he was as a rookie, but a big performance against the top-tier Cowboys offense could go a long way in proving he’s the guy that will anchor the Chiefs’ secondary moving forward.

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