STAR PREVIEW Sun: Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs

Undoubtedly the game of Week 11 with the Cowboys regaining their swagger last week by dismantling the Falcons at home 43-3 having been strangely outplayed by the Broncos the previous week. As for the Chiefs well their stumbling offence and defence look to have come out of their hungover ways with the defence especially looking a better model than in previous weeks.

However it’s not hard to reveal some question marks about both teams if you look a little deeper into their souls.

The Cowboys (7-2) look to be one of the top teams in the NFC and in what is a very congested picture must be mentioned in the conversation for the No1 seed (remember it’s only this seeding that gets a week off in the post-season under the new format). Dallas are the only team in the league in the top five in rushing and passing but can they produce their points scoring panache on the road especially in a tough environment like Arrowhead. There appears to be a downturn in points production when the Cowboys venture away from Jerry (Jones) World something they have only done twice in the last seven games; points per play slide from +0.545 (second-highest home rate) as a host to +0.362 as a visitor.

They don’t face a shutdown defence here though although the Chiefs have improved in the last three weeks allowing just 38 points over those three games although it is important to consider the quality of the opposition to put the defensive renaissance in context. In essence they faced an imploding Las Vegas outfit, a Packers team without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and a Giants team that has struggled all season long.

One area where the Chiefs have been gashed is on the ground and Dallas have found a good 1-2 punch in that area this season via Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. The Chiefs are coughing up 4.77 yards per carry to enemy back this year along with 538 receiving yards. With potential MVP candidate Dak Prescott at quarterback and a solid receiving corps that will now be led by CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup (Amari Cooper will be missing with Covid-19) along with tight-end Dalton Schultz the Cowboys can cause problems if they can put the complete package together on the road.

So what of the Chiefs who have played in the Super Bowl for the past two years but have looked far from Lombardi Trophy material until the past few weeks and even now have they managed to get over their early season travails. Last week’s 41-14 beatdown of the Raiders would have you believing so especially with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes passing for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns. However, Mahomes has been very turnover prone this season and he faces a Dallas defence here that have a propensity for takeaways. So far they have clocked up 17 turnovers with 14 of those coming via interceptions. Mahomes has 10 interceptions on the year, but only two over his last four and none in his previous two starts.

The Chiefs backfield is efficient but it’s hard to say who will get the lions share of the carries with Darrel Williams leading the way of late but with his productivity now threatened by the return of Clyde Edwards-Helaire from his MCL injury. As usual the main aerial threat for Kansas City comes via lightening quick wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce who leads that position in targets (90), catches (62), yards (747), and touchdowns (7) within the NFL. Of late Kelce has recaptured his old verve and Dallas will need to be alive to his obvious threat. Byron Pringle has quietly inserted himself into the Chiefs offence as the No2 receiver and although he’s not quoted in the player markets it could well be worth requesting a price on him to score a touchdown or to exceed +30.5 receiving yards.

Kansas City are 0-5 against the spread at home this season and the Cowboys are 4-0 against the same metric on the road so it looks a simple task to take Dallas on the spread but the +1.5 on the Cowboys is a point short of where I wanted the spread to be. The game total at 56.5 points projects this to be a shootout but I’m seeing a game where both quarterbacks want to be careful with the football and may well not take too many chances especially as they both have sound running games to lean on to control the clock.

I’m happy to take the under as both sides know that this is a vital game on the road to the post-season and won’t want to take any unnecessary risks by getting into a we’ll score more than you situation.

BACK Under 56 match points 3pts at 10/11 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Michael Gallup +54.5 receiving yards 2pts at 5/6 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

PROFIT/LOSS (NOVEMBER 2021): LOSS -7.36 points
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