Kansas City Chiefs
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The Dallas Cowboys are just below the middle of the pack regarding their odds to win Super Bowl XLIX.
Below is a list of all teams. Predictably, most oddsmakers think the Seahawks and Broncos will play again.
Denver Broncos 13/2
Seattle Seahawks 13/2
San Francisco 49ers 7/1
New England Patriots 9/1
Green Bay Packers 11/1
New Orleans Saints 14/1
Chicago Bears 16/1
Indianapolis Colts 16/1
Philadelphia Eagles 25/1
Atlanta Falcons 33/1
Carolina Panthers 33/1
Detroit Lions 33/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 33/1
Arizona Cardinals 40/1
Baltimore Ravens 40/1
Cincinnati Bengals 40/1
New York Giants 40/1
San Diego Chargers 40/1
Dallas Cowboys 50/1
Kansas City Chiefs 50/1
Miami Dolphins 50/1
St. Louis Rams 50/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 50/1
Washington Redskins 50/1
Cleveland Browns 66/1
Houston Texans 66/1
New York Jets 66/1
Buffalo Bills 75/1
Minnesota Vikings 75/1
Oakland Raiders 100/1
Tennessee Titans 100/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 200/1
The Cowboys’ chances of winning the NFC are 26 to 1. Dallas shares those odds with the Giants, Rams, and Lions.
The Seahawks are 16/5 favorites to win the NFC title, while San Francisco’s odds are 21/5.
It’s old news now that the Cowboys have released receiver Miles Austin. For two seasons, Austin looked like the next coming of Drew Pearson—a free agent receiver with first-round talent. He was a key part of the Cowboys’ playoff season of 2009 following his breakout performance against the Kansas City Chiefs that year.
He was less impressive though still dangerous in 2010. Since that time, he has battled hamstring injuries and has not produced as he did in 2009.
Here are some final stats related to Austin’s time in Dallas:
1. Austin was primarily a kick returner between 2006 and 2008. He averaged 24.1 yards per return on 89 kickoff returns. The biggest moment of his early career occurred in the 2006 playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks, when Austin returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to give Dallas a 17-13 lead. It marked the only time that Austin ever scored on a kickoff return.
2. Austin caught his first NFL pass on Thanksgiving Day against the Jets on November 22, 2007. He caught a 17-yard pass on the Cowboys’ opening drive. Dallas later scored on that drive en route to a 34-3 blowout win.
3. His first 100-yard game was against the Green Bay Packers in 2008. He caught passes of 63 and 52 yards to gain 115 yards that night.
4. Other than the Green Bay game in 2008, he did not surpass 45 receiving yards in a game until he started against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 11, 2009. The reason he started was an injury suffered by Roy Williams against the Broncos the week before.
5. His 250 receiving yards against the Chiefs in 2009 are the most in franchise history. He broke Bob Hayes’ record of 246 set in 1966.
6. He had less than 45 receiving yards in only eight games between October 11, 2009 and the end of the 2010 season. He had nine games in which he had more than 100 receiving yards.
7. Austin’s success was critical for the Cowboys in 2009. Dallas had released receiver Terrell Owens and needed a playmaker to emerge. Despite starting only nine games, Austin caught as many passes (81) as Owens had in 15 games in 2007, which was Owens’ most productive season in Dallas. Austin finished with 1320 yards and 11 TDs in 2009. Owens had 1355 yards and 15 TDs in 2007.
8. Between 2011 and 2013, Austin had only three 100-yard receiving games.
9. In the three season finales against the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles in 2011, 2012, and 2013, Austin caught a combined total of four receptions for 42 yards.
10. Austin’s last 100-yard game with the Cowboys came on October 28, 2012, when he caught nine passes for 133 yards.
11. His last touchdown reception as a Cowboy occurred on December 23, 2012 against the New Orleans Saints.
12. Austin caught his last pass as a Cowboy in the fourth quarter of the season finale against the Eagles. The 16-yard pass from Kyle Orton to Austin gave the Cowboys a first down at the Philadelphia 49 with the Cowboys training 17-16. The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs, however.
13. Austin finishes his career in Dallas ranked ninth in receptions. Thanks to his two receptions against the Eagles in his final game as a Cowboy, he surpassed former tight end Doug Cosbie on the team’s reception list (301 for Austin, 300 for Cosbie).
14. Austin ranks seventh in receiving yards but is just 377 yards ahead of Dez Bryant.
15. Austin ranks tenth in TD receptions with 34. Bryant already has 40.
Some random trivia items focusing on yesterday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs:
The Dallas Cowboys have played 862 regular-season and playoff games. I have no idea what the actual odds of this happening are, but how possible is it for the Cowboys to play back-to-back games with final scores unique to any of the other 860 games?
Last week, the Cowboys beat the Giants 36-31, marking the first time the Cowboys have ever played in a game with that particular score.
Yesterday, the Cowboys lost a game with a final score of 17-16 for the first time ever. The Cowboys had previously played in one game with a score of 17-16, but that was in a win over the New York Giants on October 29, 1961.
* * *
KC quarterback Alex Smith frustrated the Cowboys with his running yesterday, leading all rushers with 57 yards on 8 carries. Andy Reid apparently found a read-option quarterback where one did not previously exist.
Smith’s previous high rushing mark before yesterday was 49 yards against Buffalo in 2012. He has gained 30 or more yards only 7 times during his career.
Smith had faced the Cowboys only once previously in 2011. He had only 21 rushing yards for the 49ers then.
* * *
Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles for 14 seasons. He faced the Cowboys 29 times during that period, including the playoffs.
During that time, the Eagles had some athletic quarterbacks, including Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and Jeff Garcia.
Also during that time, a total of 22 Eagles rushed for 57 or more yards against the Cowboys.
How many of those players were quarterbacks?
Just one. McNabb rushed for 67 yards in a 2002 game and 58 yards in a 2000 game.
* * *
Jason Witten now ranks second on the all-time list of receptions by a tight end.
Few doubt that Witten is the greatest tight end in franchise history. Of course, he plays in a different era than the likes of Billy Joe DuPree, Doug Cosbie, and Jay Novacek, but Witten’s numbers are amazing even considering that he plays in such a pass-happy league now.
Consider this: DuPree, Cosbie, and Novacek combined to catch 906 passes for 10,869 yards. Witten’s current numbers include 817 receptions for 9,030 yards.
* * *
During five seasons dating back to 1997, the Cowboys have won their season opener only to lose their second game of the season.
The good news? In each of those five seasons, the Cowboys have won their third game. A review:
1997: Beat Pittsburgh, lost to Arizona, beat Philadelphia.
1998: Beat Arizona, lost to Denver, beat N.Y. Giants.
2005: Beat San Diego, lost to Washington, beat San Francisco.
2009: Beat Tampa Bay, lost to N.Y. Giants, beat Carolina.
2012: Beat N.Y. Giants, lost to Seattle, beat Tampa Bay.
When the NFL schedule came out, most viewed the week 2 matchup between the Cowboys and Chiefs as an easier win for Dallas.
After the Chiefs handled the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 1, many view the Kansas City defense as something approaching elite status. The Chiefs enter the game as three-point favorites at home.
Predictions from two sites have Kansas City winning by about three:
Kansas City 24, Dallas 21
Kansas City 23, Dallas 21
On the other hand, WhatIfSports thinks that the game will be the game of the week. The Cowboys won 63% of the matchups. The average score:
Dallas 29, Kansas City 24.
One of the more detailed NFL preview sources on YouTube—Football Gameplan—also predicts a Dallas win:
* * *
The Cowboys are trying to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. However, that particular record hardly guarantees anything.
Six teams started the 2012 season with 2-0 records, including the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers (finished 11-4-1), the Atlanta Falcons (finished 13-3), and the Houston Texans (finished 12-4).
The other three? The San Diego Chargers (finished 7-9), the Arizona Cardinals (finished 5-11), and the Philadelphia Eagles (finished 4-12).
And how did those 2008 Cowboys do? They finished at 9-7 and missed the playoffs.
The Cowboys began the fourth quarter trailing 13-10, but the team was gaining momentum. The Cowboys moved into Kansas City territory thanks to a 34-yard reception by Austin (his second of the drive) and a 17-yard run by Marion Barber.
Can you imagine how anyone on the Cowboys would help to stall the drive? False start, #76, offense.
With 1st-and-goal from the 14, Dallas could only move the ball to the 10 before settling for a game-tying field goal.
That’s fine, assuming the defense might hold on the next drive. Instead, Kansas City went on a 13-play, 39-yard drive that took 8:01 off the clock. The drive was “highlighted” by an unnecessary roughness call on Alan Ball, who hit Bobby Wade after Wade was unable to haul in a pass. The Dallas coaching staff was ticked off because Ball appeared to lead with his shoulder and not his helmet. This comes during a season where these types of calls have become rather common, and the play came on a 3rd-and-26 play. Wade was not close to picking up the first down even if he had caught the ball. There was simply no need to hit him.
After that, the Chiefs moved the ball all the way to the Dallas 32 before the defense held. Kansas City lined up for a field goal, but Ratliff leaped over the center to block the kick. Three plays later, Romo hit Austin on a slant, and when Austin broke a tackle, he was gone for 59 yards and a go-ahead touchdown.
2:16 left, with Dallas leading 20-13 against a winless team that had no momentum on its side. That’s when Wade’s (the coach, not Bobby) late-game defense really showed up.
Facing a 3rd-and-14 from the Kansas City 39, Matt Cassel found Wade (Bobby, not the maligned Dallas coach) over the middle for 25 yards. After the Chiefs moved to the Dallas 16, Kansas City faced a 4th-and-7. On a play that could have won the game for Dallas, Dwayne Bowe split Mike Jenkins and Pat Watkins in the end zone, and the Chiefs managed to tie the game.
Hard to imagine that Dallas would have won in overtime against too many other teams. Thankfully, this was Kansas City.
The Cowboys’ first offensive series of overtime yielded one yard and two incomplete passes. Dallas had to punt from its own 17 (reminder of last year’s loss at Arizona), and Mat McBriar did not get off a great punt. Kansas City took the ball over at its own 49.
From there, the Dallas defense made a good stop, forcing the Chiefs to go three-and-out. Dallas got the ball back at its own 21. After two runs by Choice moved the ball to midfield, the Cowboys had some momentum. And then: Holding, #76, offense.
The play after that was a bit better, as Romo hit Austin on a sideline route. Austin broke a tackle and raced the rest of the way for a 60-yard, game-winning touchdown.
As for the first three quarters, Dallas did everything it could to give the game to Kansas City. Dallas moved the ball but managed only one field goal in the first half. Meanwhile, fumbles by Patrick Crayton and Romo led to 10 Kansas City points in the first four minutes of the second quarter. Receivers, including Austin, dropped passes. Romo missed other passes. The defense did not look terrible but also could not manage a turnover or sack.
Although DeMarcus Ware finally recorded a sack in the second half, he was also one of the culprits on one of the worst defensive drives of the season. The Cowboys were called offsides four different times on Kansas City’s second drive of the third quarter, helping the Chiefs to get into field goal range. The kick gave Kansas City a 13-3 lead.
From there, Dallas finally got a spark when Choice burst off left tackle for a 36-yard touchdown run to cut the Kansas City lead to 13-10.
Austin broke Bob Hayes’ previous record of 246 receiving yards in a game, which was set on November 13, 1966 in a 31-30 Dallas win against the Redskins. The last time a Dallas receiver had more than 200 receiving yards in a game was last year, when Terrell Owens had 213 yards against the 49ers.
It took some hunting to find one expert who thought that Chiefs would pick up their first win of the season against Dallas. The expert: Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. Not a huge surprise, however, given that Gosselin has picked against Dallas three times this season, including predictions in favor of Tampa Bay and Denver.
As for anyone else, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram predicted a tie: 0-0 after overtime. That good ol’ Startle-Gram.
Rick Gosselin: Kansas City
Tim Cowlishaw: Dallas
Kevin Sherrington: Denver
Todd Archer: Dallas
David Moore: Dallas
Charean Williams: Cowboys 28, Chiefs 10
Randy Galloway: Cowboys 0, Chiefs 0, OT
Jeff Caplan: Cowboys 24, Chiefs 12
Clarence E. Hill Jr.: Cowboys 24, Chiefs 10
Gil LeBreton: Cowboys 20, Chiefs 13
Jim Reeves: Cowboys 21, Chiefs 10
Will Allen: Dallas
Mike Golic: Dallas
Merrill Hoge: Dallas
Ron Jaworski: Dallas
Chris Mortensen: Dallas
Adam Schefter: Dallas
Mark Schlereth: Dallas
Seth Wickersham: Dallas
The Cowboys won 72% of Accuscore’s simulations by an average score of 27-18.
The Cowboys should be able to control this game running the ball and
holding Larry Johnson to under 70 rushing yards. In simulations, the
Cowboys are averaging 125 rushing yards vs just 70 for the Chiefs. Tony
Romo and Matt Cassel both have passer ratings between 87 and 90 in
simulations, but the advantage Dallas has is in pressuring the passer.
There is a 60 percent chance of Cassel getting sacked 4+ times which
significantly increases the chance of a costly turnover in addition to
the lost yardage. If Cassel is sacked 4+ times the Chiefs only have a
21 percent chance of winning. If Cassel is not sacked more than twice
their chances improve to 45 percent and if Larry Johnson can actually
run for over 70 yards the Chiefs win 66 percent.
Dallas won 78.4% of WhatIfSports’ predictions by an average score of 23-15. Both Marion Barber and Tashard Choice averaged more than 70 rushing yards in these simulations.
My Guess (3-1 this season)
I had faith last week that the Cowboys would be able to grind it out against the Broncos and pull out a 24-14 win.
I don’t think Dallas will take many chances this week, especially
early. We’ll see lots of Witten and the running back duo of Marion
Barber and Tashard Choice. Denver does not make many mistakes on
offense, but the Dallas defense will come through with a couple of
really big plays to help the Cowboys to improve to 3-1.
Had Dallas not turned the ball over, the team probably would have had a
10-0 halftime lead. Moreover, had the Cowboys capitalized on a Denver
fumble early in the second half, the Cowboys could have taken a 17-7 lead. Thus, 24-14 was not off-base, but the team fell apart after Romo’s interception.
My predictions thus far:
Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24 (actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)
Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas 14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)
Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21 (actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)
Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14 (actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)
I think the Cowboys are going to continue their see-saw season, much like they did in 2005 and 2006. I think this week will be a big win, giving us false hope for two weeks. Marion Barber will play, but I look for Tashard Choice to have a bigger game, running over the Chiefs in the second half.