With their 41-14 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night, the Kansas City Chiefs turned a few narratives on their heads: that quarterback Patrick Mahomes — if not the entire offense — was broken, and that coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense didn’t have what it takes to hold off a quality offense.
But on Sunday, the team will be facing a Dallas Cowboys team that currently leads the league in scoring offense — and ranks 10th in scoring defense. Quite simply, the 7-2 team coming to Arrowhead Stadium might represent the most challenging test that Kansas City will face in the regular season.
And while the team’s fans are excited about the Chiefs working their way back to the top of the AFC West with such an overwhelming victory over a longtime rival, head coach Andy Reid just sees it as the time to get back to work.
“Listen, we look forward to people coming to Arrowhead,” Reid told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we don’t want them excited. We like that — I mean, that’s a great thing. But as a football team, we’ve got to make sure we take care of our business. That’s most important for us right now.”
Reid said that for himself, his coaches and players, it comes down to making a choice.
“Do you let yourself get carried away with what went on against the Raiders, or do you bear down and get yourself right for a good Cowboy team coming in?” he asked rhetorically. “Starting today, [that] one day at a time, one play at a time [approach] — that whole thing there — becomes so important. So that’s where we’re at.”
Reid knows exactly what his team will be up against.
“They’re the No. 1 offense in the league in a few different categories,” he noted. “[Dak Prescott] is very good — and so’s [Ezekiel Elliott]. I mean, they’re both good Pro Bowl football players — along with their cast there. They’ve got a lot of good players on that side of the ball; it’s a great challenge for our defense. The guys know that; if you turn on the tape, you can see it.
“But that’s why we do this. Our guys will work hard, trying to make sure they understand the scheme. [The Cowboys] do a nice job — their coordinator and head coach are both great offensive minds. We’ll just bear down this week and make sure we get ourselves right.”
Mahomes was more than willing to give the Dallas defense a lot of credit.
“They play extremely hard; I think that’s the main thing,” he said. “They have playmakers over there — but they don’t give up on any play. They’re flying around, trying to make plays happen. Whenever you have a defense with playmakers that play hard every single play, that’s a tough defense to go up against.”
“When you have that many interceptions, that means you know what’s going on; you have an understanding of what the offense is trying to do,” he acknowledged. “So you definitely have to have an eye on him at all times, because he’s going to wait for his opportunity — and usually, when he gets his hands on it, he ends up making the catch.
“So [he’s] definitely a great player; [he’s] someone you have to pay attention to on every single snap and try to find ways to you can have success — either in other places or on him in certain areas.”
And while Mahomes and his offensive teammates feel like they turned a corner against Las Vegas by finally taking what the defense was giving them — rather than going for big plays on every snap — the Cowboys could decide to present a wholly different approach.
“It’s a battle every single week,” explained Mahomes. “Obviously, I’m sure they’re going to do some different types of two-high stuff — but they’ll try to have mix-ups, too; they’re not going to sit back and the exact same coverage every single time.
“I mean, they’re going to try to find ways to confuse me and to confuse this offense. So we have to make in-game adjustments — and still take what’s there. Then whenever the shots do present themselves, hit those.”
If the Kansas City offense can put up a solid outing against the Dallas defense — and the Chiefs’ defense can limit the Cowboys’ offense — the team will have finally proved something that up to now, just hasn’t been obvious: that it can beat anyone.