Dallas Cowboys Countdown to Kansas City Chiefs

WHEN:  3:25 p.m. Central Time

WATCH: CBS (Jim Nantz & Tony Romo)

LISTEN: Dallas Cowboys Radio Network; Sirius 82, XM 82; Cowboys app

FOLLOW: @BobbyBeltTX@CamiAnnG@JonahTulsNFL@therealmarklane

 

09-CBS-L

If you don’t get the game, you live in Seattle or the Bay Area. Courtesy — 506 Sports

 

 

 

10: Alex Smith’s ranking for third down conversions passing — The former top overall pick from the 2005 NFL Draft has 30 third down conversions, tied with Carson Palmer and Matthew Stafford for the 10th-most by pass in the NFL. Smith’s conversion rate is also reflective of the Chiefs’ 10th-best team conversion rate in the NFL at 41.9 percent. Smith has also accounted for five third down conversions with his legs. Of the team’s 44 third down conversions, Smith has had a part in 35 of them. The Cowboys defense has the sixth-worst third down conversion rate in the NFL at 43.3 percent. Dallas will need to rise above itself versus Kansas City.

 

9: Jason Garrett’s home wins versus the AFC — Since Garrett took over as interim coach in 2010, he has compiled a 9-3 home record against the AFC. The only teams that have bested him have either featured the greatest coach in the game (2015 Patriots), best quarterback in the game (2013 Broncos), or Ryan Fitzpatrick (2015 Jets). The Chiefs lean more towards a team with the best coach in the game with Andy Reid, who has a 3-4 record against Garrett with a 2-1 record at AT&T Stadium.

 

8: Kansas City’s defense’s rank for rushing attempts on the season — Opponents of the Chiefs have rushed 216 times, the eighth-most in the NFL. Combined with Kansas City allowing 1,049 yards (fifth-most) and seven touchdowns (tied for fifth-most), it makes their ranking as third-worst in yards per carry (4.9) and fifth-worst in yards per game (131.1) as legitimate. Ezekiel Elliott is tied with Leonard Fournette for six rushing touchdowns, the lead league. Furthermore, since Week 5 (the Packers game), no one has gained more rushing yards than Elliott’s 413. Did we mention he had a bye week in there?

 

7: Travis Kelce’s ranking for yards per target among tight ends — The fifth-year pro from Cincinnati averages 9.42 yards per target, good for seventh-best in the NFL among tight ends with a minimum of 14 attempts. Kelce has been phenomenal in 2017, and the Cowboys haven’t faced a tight end like him. The best so far has been Arizona’s Jermaine Gresham, who caught five passes for 47 yards. Among tight ends, Kelce tops the NFL in receptions (44), yards (556), and is tied for third-best in touchdowns (four). If your timeline features an inordinate amount of Byron Jones hate Sunday, now you will know why.

 

6: Number of 4-3 Cowboys teams that made the playoffs — Being 4-3 in the NFL is not fun, unless you play in a sissy division like the AFC East or AFC South. But for the rest of the NFL, 4-3 to start November softly commences the playoff process, especially for the Cowboys who are chasing a hot 7-1 Eagles team. The most recent 4-3 Cowboys teams that made the playoffs was the 2006 squad that featured Tony Romo infusing new life. They went 3-1 in November. Dallas will need to get Turkey Month off to a good start so the month can hopefully buttress a postseason push.

 

5: Kareem Hunt’s rank for rushing attempts — The Chiefs are not shy in giving Hunt the ball as he ranks fifth-best in the NFL with 146 carries. The Dallas rushing defense is in the bottom-10 in yards per attempt, tied with Pittsburgh for the eight-worst at 4.8 yards per carry surrendered. Hunt also leads the NFL in rushing yards with 763; the Cowboys give up 106.0 per game, the 15th-best in the league. The math is pretty simple: keep Hunt below 100 yards rushing and you have a chance to win the game. Kansas City is 2-2 when Hunt has less than 100 yards rushing compared to 4-0 when he eclipses the century mark.

 

4: The Cowboys’ rank in interceptions forced — The Dallas defense has picked off three passes so far, tied with the Giants and Panthers for the fourth-worst in the NFL. Factor in that Smith has not thrown an interception yet in 2017 through eight games. It is another area where the Cowboys are going to have to play above themselves if they hope to steal a win from a superior opponent.

 

3: Kansas City’s rank as scoring offense — The Chiefs average 29.5 points per game, good for the third-best scoring offense in the NFL. The Dallas defense is tied with Green Bay and the New York Jets for the 11th-worst scoring defense with 23.0 points per game surrendered. In this case, a good defense might be an even better offense. The Cowboys offense is the fifth-best scoring offense in the league at 28.3 points per game, and the Kansas City defense gives up 22.5 points per game, the 14th-worst in the league. The Cowboys’ best chance may be a shootout, and if so, Dallas will need to keep in mind the Chiefs are second in the NFL with game-winning drives with three.

 

2: Pete Morelli’s rank for home team winning percentage — The 15-year referee’s games have the home team winning .800 in 2017, the second-highest home team winning percentage among active referees this season. Dallas is 9-6 with Morelli and have had fewer penalties 7/15 times. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are 13-6 with Morelli and are on a six-game winning streak, all of the games in the Reid era. Will the game come down to officiating? Maybe not, but it could be a flag fest with Kansas City the second-worst team in the NFL with 16 offensive holding calls, Dallas tied for third with 15, and Morelli’s crew averaging three holding calls a game, the fourth-most in the league.

 

1: DeMarcus Lawrence’s spot for most sacks in the NFL — The fourth-year defensive end out of Boise State has racked up 10.5 sacks on the season, the absolute best through the first eight weeks of the season. Since 1982, it is tied with Miami’s Joey Porter for the 10th-best start through a player’s first seven games to start a season. The Chiefs are tied with Philadelphia, Carolina, and Cincinnati for the 11th-most sacks surrendered with 22. Kansas City is 2-1 against teams in the top-10 in sacks this season. They gave up four sacks to Philadelphia, two to the Chargers, and three to Pittsburgh. One of the Cowboys’ best shots at victory is to put Smith on his back all afternoon.

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