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3 key notes to remember ahead of Chiefs-Cowboys

Kansas City-Dallas kicks off at 3:25 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at 3:25 p.m. Arrowhead Time, and three late-week roster moves may significantly impact the game. Let's start with the Chiefs.

1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been activated and is expected back in the lineup.

After missing five games, Edwards-Helaire is expected to return to the lineup after Kansas City activated him on Saturday. ESPN's Ed Werder added that he's prepared to start.

The activation tells me that Edwards-Helaire will indeed start over backup Darrel Williams — despite Williams' production during Edwards-Helaire's injured reserve stint. He accumulated 93 touches for 470 yards and three total touchdowns, including the most productive game of his career last week against the Las Vegas Raiders (144 yards).

When the Chiefs had both backs active in Weeks 1 to 4, Williams' snap usage varied between 22% and 36%. Williams' usage was much higher than that with Edwards-Helaire out, but now that he is back, my expectation is Williams' usage will be something closer to 40%. Given the bye week is next week, the prevailing thought is the Chiefs wouldn't be activating Edwards-Helaire to watch Williams play the majority of snaps, but NFL Network’s James Palmer suggests it will still be an ongoing point to watch.

2. Amari Cooper and Randy Gregory won't play against the Chiefs.

The Cowboys found out that they wouldn't have their second-most targeted receiver on Friday when he was added to the Reserve/COVID list. Here, the timing is critical: Dallas expected to have Cooper all week and then had to shift plans late in the game.

Recently getting wide receiver Michael Gallup back helps, but I expect Dallas to target breakout tight end Dalton Schultz after CeeDee Lamb and put a greater emphasis on its talented run game.

Perhaps overlooked in the Cooper news is the absence of Randy Gregory, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this month. Despite playing two fewer games than the rest of the team, Gregory still leads the team in quarterback pressures at this writing. Gregory's absence means the Chiefs can zone in on Micah Parsons. By curbing Parsons, they can let Patrick Mahomes work his magic.

3. Cowboys' offensive line changes on the fly.

The Chiefs' offensive line's chemistry-building is still a topic of discussion, even after playing 10 games together. The Cowboys have two notes along the line entering Sunday.

Despite starting left tackle Tyron Smith being limited in practice all week, he is not expected to start since Dallas plays on Thanksgiving — meaning three games beginning Sunday and continuing over the next 12 days.

Terence Steele, who has started six games for the Cowboys at right tackle and the last two at left tackle, will play in Smith's place. Steele allowed nine pressures in the Cowboys' Week 9 loss to the Denver Broncos but only one as the team righted the ship in Week 11 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Connor Williams has been benched for Connor McGovern at left guard after Williams accumulated a league-leading 13 total penalties and 10 accepted penalties. McGovern had a spot start Week 1 at right guard, and he's been an extra offensive lineman for the Cowboys at various times this season. This may be an ideal time for Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to lean into Chris Jones at tackle.

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