Dallas last played at Arrowhead Stadium on October 11, 2009.
Yes, the Cowboys, for the second consecutive year, opened the NFL regular season with a Sunday night victory over the New York Giants—this season they managed to not only beat the Giants for the first time in Arlington, TX., but also won their very first season opener at the venue formerly known as Cowboys Stadium.
But the Cowboys showed a year ago that a 1-0 start means nothing in terms of future success. After last year's nice win at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the team flopped in horrible fashion at the NFL's loudest outdoor stadium in Seattle. Dallas lost to the Seahawks 27-7 in a game that really wasn't that close.
This year's Week 2 contest at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City offers the exact same recipe for disaster that last year's did. The Chiefs may have gone 2-14 in 2012, but we all know that the NFL is a year-to-year league, at best. Teams go from worst-to-first rather often—and vice versa.
Here's a look at five reasons why the Cowboys will fall to Kansas City. This is not to say that Dallas will not win more games this year or possibly reach the playoffs. I'm simply stating that Arrowhead is about the worst place a team like the Cowboys could face given their present circumstances, all in all. Further, new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has always been a thorn in the side for Dallas and he's less than one year removed from a long, successful tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles.
In Philly, Reid knew the Cowboys very well—and he still does.
Tony Romo fakes handoff to DeMarco Murray
Under head coach Jason Garrett, Dallas has been a very one-dimensional offense. Having played sparingly as a career backup quarterback in the NFL, Garrett seems to have forgotten that running the ball successfully is key to contending in the NFL. It's shocking to think that this guy was on the field with Emmitt Smith on a few occasions.
While it's true that offensive coordinator Bill Callahan is calling plays in Dallas for the first time in 2013, his volume of work so far shows little difference in terms of running the ball. If this early point in the season is any indicator, the Cowboys are in trouble against the Chiefs.
Nose guard Dontari Poe is a beast on the Chiefs defensive line and the Cowboys are still trying to find out who exactly their starting right guard is.
Not a good time for that problem.
Dallas rushed for 87 yards on 21 carries last Sunday against a Giants front that had just gotten defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul back from injury. That average of 3.8 yards per carry almost certainly won't cut it against a Chiefs defensive front that also includes outside linebacker Tamba Hali and defensive end Tyson Jackson, both former first round selections.
Unless the Cowboys get the kind of receiving performance that they did from Miles Austin the last time they were in Kansas City, this particular weakness could really create an uphill climb for Dallas.
Finally, the Chiefs were also opening day winners against a Jacksonville team that could only score two points in a 26-point loss—the Jaguars special teams unit scored the safety on a blocked punt that went through the end zone.
In other words, the Chiefs defense has yet to give up any points.
Right tackle Eric Fisher was the first overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft last April.
Let's just say that there's a difference between the two offensive lines heading into this contest.
Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin says all that needs to be said about the serious difference between the philosophies of Dallas and Kansas City on the offensive line. One team has numerous young, blue-chip blockers and the other has a combination of aging players and unproven youngsters.
We just discussed the inability of the Dallas offense to run the football very well. This is not an issue that concerns the Chiefs offense.
Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles knows a thing or two about running the football in Texas—he did so for the Longhorns in college. Beyond Charles, names like Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes further attest to the fact that the Chiefs believe in running the ball and dominating in the process.
Can the Dallas offensive line match that commitment?
Until some kind of evidence points to the contrary, the answer would seem to be no.
Reid has always built his teams from the inside out as opposed to outside in—the Cowboys have been doing the latter for years and years and this poor ideology has been holding the franchise back for a long time.
It's true that the Dallas defense will have something to say about the Kansas City rushing attack—but for how long? This unit can't be hung out to dry all afternoon if the offense can't run the ball and maintain control of the game.
I don't expect Reid to let his team become one-dimensional given the fact that his opponent is likely to already be just that.
Injuries to Tony Romo are becomming an annual tradition in Dallas.
I already mentioned the carnage that went down in Seattle last year on Week 2.
Let's go back one more year to Week 2 of 2011. Again, the Cowboys were on the west coast to face the San Francisco 49ers, not exactly the loudest environment to play in but let's be clear on this: There is no love lost for Dallas in San Francisco, period.
The Cowboys would end up coming from behind to win in overtime, but not before quarterback Tony Romo suffered bruised ribs. I'll let you do the research on exactly how Dallas fared the rest of the season.
Romo had his ribs crunched again last week when getting sandwiched by, not one, but two Giants defenders.
Considering that Kansas City is certain to pound the rock while Dallas will merely try, I can't think of a worse environment for an injured quarterback who doesn't have a reliable running game—still.
Yes, Romo's offensive line is going to have play almost flawlessly against an opponent that they really don't know very well.
It's hard to say exactly how limited Romo will be just a week after the injury against New York, but we do know this much: Bruised ribs generally take somewhere between two to six weeks to completely heal.
Arrowhead Stadium has never been known as a quiet retreat where injured opposing quarterbacks can recuperate.
Kansas City head coach Andy Reid spent his first 14 seasons as a head coach in Philadelphia. During that time he took the Eagles to five NFC championship games and a trip to Super Bowl XXXIX in February of 2005.
To sum it up, Reid has a resume that most modern head coaches have to admire, especially since head coaches around the league tend to bounce around much more often than they did prior to the sad era of free agency and the salary cap. Reid was named Coach of the Year by numerous media outlets in 2000 and 2002. His overall record is 131-93-1—this includes his lone win with the Chiefs.
Dallas trots out Jason Garrett for a third full season as head coach. Garrett has obviously never reached the playoffs or so much as finished with a winning record.
The difference here is pretty clear, but I'll acknowledge that the presence of Callahan, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli shortens the considerable gap in experience and accomplishments between the two head coaches.
Reid comes into his second game with Kansas City with nothing but time on his side.
Garrett comes in to this contest possibly coaching for his job, regardless of what owner and general manager Jerry Jones might have stated as training camp opened in July—there's a reason for that.
A win against the Chiefs would be the biggest victory for Garrett as head coach. His distinct brand of average football has produced a four-game winning streak in 2011, a three-game winning streak in 2012 and a total of three two-game winning streaks in each season he's worn the headset.
Dallas has never started 2-0 under Garrett.
I've already stated the similarities between Seattle and KC when it comes to crowd noise. The former location's fan base has actually been known to make the ground shake when a huge play occurs.
Arrowhead Stadium might not be quite as loud as CenturyLink Field, but it is highly competitive. An ocean of fans clad in tomato red will pack the building for two reasons this weekend.
First of all, this will be the home opener for the Chiefs and the local's first true look at the Reid era in Missouri. These fans are excited about the future following some disappointing seasons the last few years.
Second, and most important, the Cowboys are in town and visiting cities always show up to see America's Team, period.
I could go on about the fact that KC is also 1-0 and off to a strong start and even the ties to Dallas as the Chiefs used to play there as the Texans way back when, but you get the drift.
This game will likely see the largest attendance all season at Arrowhead, especially during the regular season. It might also be the loudest venue Dallas hears all season—provided they can hear anything, of course.
Now, considering the first four issues already listed here, does this game look that winnable for the Cowboys when adding this guaranteed problem?
Not sure about you, but I don't see it at all.
I've been proven wrong plenty of times in my life and that's no big deal—Dallas could win this game if it gets a lot of breaks and plays awfully well. But recent history clearly suggests that this is not the time or place for the Cowboys to reach 2-0.