Chiefs revival faces Cowboys test, Packers take on Vikings

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·4 min read
Patrick Mahomes has led the Kansas City Chiefs back to the top of the AFC West ahead of Sunday's clash with the Dallas Cowboys (AFP/Sean M. Haffey)
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Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs' resurgence will be put to the test on Sunday when they take on the Dallas Cowboys in a clash of two of the NFL's most potent offenses.

After a shaky start which saw the 2019 Super Bowl champions rooted to the foot of the AFC West on November 1, the Chiefs have recovered in recent weeks and now head the division by two games at 6-4.

An emphatic 41-14 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders last weekend suggested the worst may well be behind Andy Reid's team, who lead the NFL with 4,056 yards of offense this season.

Against the Raiders, Chiefs quarterback Mahomes looked more like his usual self, throwing for 406 yards and five touchdowns as Kansas City topped 500 offensive yards in a game for the first time this season.

But whether the Cowboys defense will prove to be as porous as the Raiders' is open to question, though.

And the Chiefs defense will also have their hands full trying to contain a Dallas offense expertly marshalled by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott threw two touchdowns and rushed for another with 296 passing yards in a 43-3 Dallas pounding of the Atlanta Falcons last weekend, a result which leaves the Cowboys on 7-2 at the top of the NFC East.

Under Prescott this season, the Cowboys have averaged a league-leading 433.9 offensive yards and 31.6 points per game.

That could spell trouble for a Chiefs defense which has shipped an average of 373.2 yards and 24.1 points per game.

"They have a great offense over there, and a great team over there," Mahomes said. "It will be a great challenge for us to go up against them this week."

Mahomes has is also mindful of the threat posed by Cowboys opposite number Prescott, who is back to his best after recovering from a gruesome compound ankle fracture and dislocation just over a year ago.

- Wall of sound -

"He is a tremendous leader," Mahomes said of Prescott. "You can see that even when you're just watching as a fan of him and of the Cowboys.

"He's been a starter in the league for a long time now, he's athletic, you can see that by the way he played in college and he can make a lot of big-time throws."

Dallas meanwhile have prepared for Sunday's game by piping in artificial crowd noise at their practices this week.

It's part of an attempt to replicate the wall of sound they are expected to face at the Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, which according to the Guinness Book of World Records, holds the record for loudest roar ever recorded at an outdoor sports stadium at 142.2 decibels.

"Not a lot of our players have played there so we gave them a little snippet of what it looks like today and what it sounds like," Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said.

"Noise will be a big part of our preparation this week."

Elsewhere on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers take on the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North divisional clash in Minneapolis, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers expecting the unexpected.

"Every time we play them, they present something new," Rodgers said of the Vikings.

"They can throw a number of different things at you and they always have some special wrinkle," added Rodgers, who returned to the Green Bay line-up last week after recovering from Covid-19.

The Arizona Cardinals meanwhile might have quarterback Kyler Murray back under center for Sunday's trip to Seattle to face the troubled Seahawks.

Murray continues to be on the mend after injuring an ankle in a defeat to the Packers on October 28, and has missed two games since, including a shock reverse to the Carolina Panthers last weekend.

"It's one of those things where they say you're not really making it worse, even though it may feel that way," said Murray, who took a limited role in practice on Wednesday.

"I've just got to get used to that and work through it. I've made crazy progress. I'm way further along than I thought I would be ... I'm pretty close."

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