Week 2: Cowboys-Chiefs matchup analysis

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo. - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Chris Myers, Tim Ryan, Jennifer Hale
*Keys to the game: The Chiefs are wearing their familiar home reds but also a look of confidence that hasn't shown up often at Arrowhead Stadium in recent seasons. Dallas arrives as an early season legitimacy test for Andy Reid and Company. While Jacksonville scored two points operating without its top wide receiver -- also losing Cecil Shorts and quarterback Blaine Gabbert during the game -- the Cowboys have an abundance of playmakers. Play-caller Bill Callahan would like to get RB DeMarco Murray 20-25 touches and even showed unique alignments (to Dallas) against the Giants in Week 1 -- including the Pistol formation -- to get Murray rolling downhill at the snap. The Chiefs aren't deep at wide receiver behind Dwayne Bowe, who'll go up against former teammate CB Brandon Carr, and the Cowboys' new scheme is designed to force quarterbacks to be precise on short throws underneath safeties sagging deep. QB Alex Smith can dent that zone shell with quick throws to RB Jamaal Charles.
*Matchup to watch - Chiefs LT Brandon Albert vs. Cowboys RDE DeMarcus Ware - Albert turned in the best blocking performance on the Chiefs' offense line in the opener against Jacksonville, showing he's completely recovered from back problems that plagued him last season. Ware has 111 career sacks and should get less attention if Anthony Spencer (knee) returns on the left side. The Chiefs offense was efficient in Week 1 because Smith had time to view the field when passing and was sacked just once.
*Player spotlight -- Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar: Back at practice this week after missing nearly a month, Dunbar will give it a go in an essential role as a third-down back and change-of-pace back to Murray.
*Fast facts: The Cowboys haven't started a season 2-0 since 2008. ... Smith is 20-5-1 as starter with 32 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a passer rating of 95 since 2011.
How much of Dallas' opening victory was a gift by the Giants? The Cowboys find more big plays, and takeaways, to sneak past the Chiefs.
*Our pick: Cowboys 30-24

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