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Chiefs vs. Cowboys: 10 Stats to Know

Posted Nov 1, 2017

Here are some numbers to keep in mind as the Chiefs travel to take on the Cowboys, presented by DraftKings

The Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys (4-3) Sunday afternoon at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

The Cowboys have won two straight on the road—beating the San Francisco 49ers (40-10) and Washington Redskins (33-19) by a combined score of 73-29, and finally return home for the first time in almost a month.

At home this year, the Cowboys are 1-3 and have dropped two in a row—falling to the Los Angeles Rams (35-30) and Green Bay Packers (35-31).

The Chiefs are coming off a 29-19 victory over the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.

Here are 10 stats to know for Chiefs-Cowboys on Sunday, presented by DraftKings:

1. It’s the best game of the week, stats prove it!

According to ESPN’s matchup quality metric, which utilizes ESPN’s Football Power Index, the game this weekend between the Chiefs and Cowboys is the weekend’s best.

It gives Chiefs-Cowboys a matchup quality score of 82 out of 100, so that’s something.

And according to DraftKings, the game is also supposed to be the highest scoring of the week at a projected 51.5 points.

2. It’s all about protecting the ball

Despite going 0 of 3 in the red zone and converting just 2 of 12 third-down attempts, the Chiefs walked away with a victory last Monday night over the Broncos for one reason—turnovers.

The Chiefs forced five of them and the Broncos couldn’t overcome those mistakes.

Well, the Cowboys haven’t been able to overcome their mistakes this season either.

In games they turn the ball over—even once—the Cowboys are 1-3, and in games they haven’t turned it over at all, they’re 3-0.

The Chiefs rank No. 2 in the NFL this year in turnover differential at plus-10.

3. The Chiefs’ offense has been really, really good this year

Here are some numbers to show how good the Chiefs offense has been:

Total Point Scored – 236 – No. 1 in NFL
Yards Per Play – 6.26 – No. 1 in NFL
Scoring Efficiency – 49.4 percent – No. 1 in NFL
Scoring Outside the Red Zone – 103 – No. 1 in NFL
Rushing Plays of 20-plus Yards – 10 – No. 1 in NFL
Average Yards on First Down – 6.88 – No. 1 in NFL

4. Both quarterbacks are good at throwing deep

Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith and the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott have been two of the best guys in the league at throwing the ball deep so far this season.

Smith leads the league in quarterback rating at passes that travel at least 21 yards in the air at 140.9, while Prescott ranks third at 130.2.

On the flipside, the Cowboys’ defense has struggled against the deep ball—allowing a quarterback rating of 119.2 this season.

And naturally, both quarterbacks are considered top 6 fantasy players this week at DraftKings.

5. The Chiefs boast two of the league’s top passing targets

The Chiefs are the only team in the NFL with two receivers in the top 12 in receiving yards, and both tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill actually rank inside the top 7.

Kelce ranks sixth in the league with 556 yards on 44 receptions with four touchdowns, while Hill ranks seventh with 553 yards on 38 receptions with three touchdowns.

6. The Cowboys feature the NFL’s sack leader through Week 8

In three NFL seasons and 32 career games before this year, the Cowboys’

had nine sacks to his name.

And this year through just seven games, Lawrence has dominated with 10.5 sacks to lead the league. He has at least one sack in every game this season. 

The former second-round pick (No. 34 overall) in 2014 of the Cowboys played collegiately at Boise State.

7. Alex Smith continues his pace for a record-breaking season

Smith leads the NFL in quarterback rating (115.4), yards per attempt (8.42), ranks second in yards (2,181), and his 16 touchdowns are tied for third-best in the league.

Smith had just 15 touchdowns all of last season. The franchise record for touchdown passes in a season was set by Hall of Famer Len Dawson in 1964 with 30.

And as if those numbers couldn’t be any more impressive, Smith also hasn’t thrown an interception this season, which means he’s just four behind Peyton Manning’s all-time record for touchdowns thrown to begin a season without an interception with 20.

8. The Cowboys’ offensive success could be partially attributed to field position

The Cowboys rank fifth in the league by averaging 28.3 points per game, and some of that success could be attributed to the fact that they have started with great field position this year.

Through their first seven games, the Cowboys average starting field position has been at the 32-yard line, which is second-best in the league.

9. Butt-Kicker is on a roll

Chiefs’ rookie kicker Harrison Butker—the reigning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week who was signed off the Carolina Panthers squad before the Week 4 game against the Washington Redskins, has hit 18-straight field goals, which puts him within striking distance of a couple of franchise records.

The Chiefs’ franchise record for consecutive made field goals is 22, which was set by Pete Stoyanovich between 1997-98, and then was tied by Ryan Succop in 2011.

The most field goals by a rookie kicker in franchise history is 25, which was set by Succop in 2009 and then tied by Cairo Santos in 2014.

10. The Chiefs' defense may see a new face in the backfield for the Cowboys

There’s a lot of uncertainty around the availability of Cowboys’ second-year All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott for Sunday’s game.

Elliott currently ranks third in the NFL with 690 yards rushing—trailing only the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt (763) and the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell (760). He’s also tied for the league lead with six rushing touchdowns this year.

Without Elliott in the backfield, the Chiefs would likely see some combination of veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, along with rookie Rod Smith.

Those three players have combined for just 23 carries this season.

McFadden and Morris are considered “value options” in fantasy leagues this week, according to DraftKings’ early player pricing for Week 9.

To add to the intrigue, the Chiefs have struggled stopping the run this season—ranking 28th in the league by allowing 131 yards per game on the ground.

Despite the potential loss of Elliott, the Cowboys still boast one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, which makes this a major storyline for Sunday’s game.

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