Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At Kansas City Chiefs
- QuarterbackTony Romo should be used to the pressure that goes with being the Dallas Cowboys quarterback. While he has not fulfilled the high expectations that go with the position, Romo throws one of the most catchable passes in the league and he came through with a solid effort in the Week One win over the Giants. Romo took a big shot late in the first half and may not be at his best in this game because of soreness and pain.The Chiefs cleaned house after last year’s disaster and Alex Smith made his debut a winning one. The Chiefs used a conservative attack and that was good enough against the offensively challenged Jaguars. However, look for head coach Andy Reid to open up the attack this week and look for Smith to go downfield more than he did in Week One.
- OffenseIf Romo is not playing at peak efficiency, the Cowboys will count on DeMarco Murray to provide a consistent running attack. Tight end Jason Witten is one of the best in the league at his position and he simply will not drop passes. Dez Bryant is the Cowboys’ most explosive receiver, but he did little in the opener. Look for him to be featured in this game.Few teams will count on their running backs more than the Chiefs do with Jamaal Charles. His speed gives the Chiefs a chance to hit home runs on basic running plays if they are blocked well and the opponents’ tackling is less than 100 percent. Dwayne Bowe is a big-time receiver who now has a quarterback who can get him the ball. He must up his consistency and effort level.
- DefenseThe Cowboys could have a new star in ILB Bruce Carter, who had 9.0 tackles and a forced fumble in Week One. He plays with a nasty streak and has excellent speed to the ball. The Cowboys need more from DeMarcus Ware, who had an interception against the Giants but not one tackle or sack.The Chiefs put overwhelming pressure on Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert in Week One and they will try to do the same to Romo. Keep your eye on OLB Justin Houston, who had 3.0 sacks against the Jaguars and was basically unstoppable. Derrick Johnson is one of the best tacklers in the league and he had seven stops in the victory over the Jags.
- Special TeamsThe Cowboys are happy with their special teams because Dan Bailey has a consistent leg and will not blow his three-point opportunities. Bailey made all three of his FG attempts against the Giants, while punter Chris Jones averaged 45.6 yards per kick and dropped two of his punts inside the 20.The Chiefs were expecting to have a big edge on special teams last year due to the speed of Dexter McCluster. While that part of their game rarely paid off in 2012, McCluster’s ability to make one quick cut and race by tacklers makes the Chiefs dangerous. Punter Dustin Colquitt is an excellent directional punter.
The Cowboys were desperate to come up with a win in their home opener against the Giants, a team they had never beaten at Jerry Jones’ palace before Week One. They will have a hard time playing to that level at Kansas City, while the Chiefs will want to show their fans that they are for real in 2013. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor