The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow at Arrowhead Stadium. Will Todd Haley finally get his first win? Can the Cowboys bounce back from a terrible loss to the Denver Broncos?
Here are three players (Offense, Defense and Special Teams) from each team to keep your eyes on.
Offense: Matt Cassel
He’s only shown flashes in his three games this season, but the Cowboys should provide him with ample opportunities to make plays down the field. Yes, the Dallas pass rush can be deadly, but so far this year they have given up over 250 yards a game in the air, good (bad?) enough for 28th in the league.
The Cowboys will also be playing without starting strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh. When he went out against the Broncos, Kyle Orton immediately went to work down the middle of the field. With Sensabuagh out, Cassel should be able to make use of his favorite target, tight end Sean Ryan.
Defense: Tyson Jackson
Even though Jackson hasn’t been as visible as every one associated with the Chiefs would have liked, he could be very close to getting there. Todd Haley has talked over the last few weeks about Jackson knowing what he needs to do and just needing to improve his technique to take the next step.
The problem this week is the young Jackson has to take on a very solid veteran in Marc Colombo. The silver lining here is that the 34-year old has a bit of a nasty streak. He’s been known to mix it up with his own players in practice and allegedly scuffled a bit with Brandon Jacobs after the Cowboys lost to the Giants. The one thing I’ve heard a lot about but yet to see is that same kind of nasty streak from Jackson. If there was ever a player to bring that attitude out of Jackson it could be Colombo.
Special Teams: Bobby Wade
The Chiefs desperately need to get a big play on special teams and the only person we (probably) know will be returning kicks of any kind is Wade. Since signing in Kansas City he has been solid. And on this team solid means he’s held onto the ball. Now it’s time for Wade — and obviously to a larger extent his return unit — to get something going on punt returns.
Offense: Tashard Choice
With no Felix Jones and a less than 100% Marion Barber in the Dallas backfield, Choice will be the man getting the majority of the handoffs from Tony Romo on Sunday. So far this season he has only averaged 4.2 ypc, but in limited duty last year he was good for over 5 ypc, including a 38 yard jaunt late in the season against the Giants that showcased his big play ability.
Choice is due to have a break out game and what better team to do it against than a Chiefs defense surrendering over 128 yards a game on the ground.
Defense: DeMarcus Ware
Talk about another Cowboy that is due for a huge game. Ware recorded 20 and 14 sacks the past two seasons but has yet to get to the quarterback once in 2009. In four weeks the Chiefs have given up 13 sacks and that has to have the Dallas defense — led by Ware — licking their chops.
Even with his early season struggles, Todd Haley will have to dedicate two blockers to Ware most of the game and that will open things up for the rest of the Dallas defense.
Special Teams: Orlando Scandrick
With Felix Jones likely out and Miles Austin starting at wide receiver for Roy Williams, the kick return duties could fall to Scandrick. The second year player out of Boise State has four career kick returns — all last season — and did not take any longer than 25 yards.
Austin only fumbled once over the past three years while returning kicks and now all of a sudden ball security has to become an issue for the Cowboys if an unknown like Scandrick is handling returns.