KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Bonnie Bernstein.
SERIES: Eighth meeting. The Cowboys lead 4-3, but the teams haven't met
since 1998 when the Chiefs won 20-17 at Arrowhead. The Chiefs have lost on
their last two trips to Texas Stadium in 1995 and '92, and have won only
once in four trips to owner Lamar Hunt's hometown.
2005 RANKINGS: Chiefs: offense 2nd (4th rush, 9th pass); defense 27th (5th
rush, 30th pass). Cowboys: offense 17th (15th rush, 15th pass); defense 6th
(10th rush, 8th pass).
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Cowboys' front seven will have to figure out how to
match the physical style of the Chiefs' veteran offensive line that has led
the way for Kansas City to average 38.7 rushing plays over the past three
games. RB Larry Johnson has rushed for at least 100 yards in five
consecutive games, and the Chiefs will again rely on him in an attempt to
control the clock on the road. And if they can force the Cowboys to bring S
Roy Williams closer to the line of scrimmage, QB Trent Green will then look
for TE Tony Gonzalez working on a mismatch downfield. Meanwhile, Dallas'
offense has been conservative with the offensive line struggling to protect
QB Drew Bledsoe. The vertical passing game has suffered with Bledsoe
averaging just 173 passing yards over the past six games. Dallas will be in
enormous trouble if it loses the battle in the trenches on both sides of the
FAST FACTS: Chiefs: Coach Dick Vermeil is 4-10 in his career against Dallas.
... QB Trent Green is 13-5 with a 97.9 passer rating in December since 2001.
Cowboys: Nine of 12 games have been decided by seven points or less. ...
Bledsoe needs two touchdown passes to pas Len Dawson (239) for 15th-most
--T Willie Roaf took a nearly full load of practice reps Thursday after
missing the Wednesday workout with an illness. The Chiefs are 5-1 in the six
games Roaf has started this year and 3-3 when he has been down with a
--QB Trent Green, who is 13-5 in December games with the Chiefs, has a
97.9 passer rating in those games with 32 touchdown passes and only 16
--DE Carlos Hall was able to work in the team portion of Thursday's
workout and is starting to look more likely to be available for Sunday's
Dallas game than he was earlier in the week. The pass rush specialist missed
last week's Denver win with a hamstring problem.
--C Casey Wiegmann, who missed Wednesday's practice while resting sore
ankle, took a full practice load Thursday and should be ready for the Dallas
--CB Anthony Henry will start Sunday against the Chiefs after missing
three of the last four games with a groin injury.
--CB Aaron Glenn remains questionable for Sunday's game with a sprained
ankle. Glenn has started the last four games in place of the injured Anthony
Henry. He would likely return to his role of nickel cornerback against the
Chiefs because Henry is healthy again. But Glenn has not practiced and it
could be a game-time decision.
--LB Scott Fujita is heading into a reunion game with the Chiefs, for
whom he played for the past three years, coming off his best game of the
season. Coach Bill Parcells said Fujita struggled initially after taking
over at outside linebacker for the injured Al Singleton, but he said Fujita
played his best game against the Giants last Sunday. Fujita had seven
tackles against the Giants.
"He was a little more aggressive on the run, a little more deliberate on
the re-routes and the pass defense," Parcells said. "He's a pretty smart
player, I just think he kind of had to get into what's going on here. I
think it took awhile, but I was very happy with what he did last week."
--NT LaRoi Glover has no tackles in the past two games. It's partly
because the four-time Pro Bowler has had his snaps cut back with the
emergence of Jason Ferguson, but coach Bill Parcells said Glover needs to
pick it up over the last four weeks.
INSIDE THE CAMPS:
The Chiefs like to make a big deal these days out of the impressive
record they've amassed in the month of December since Dick Vermeil became
their head coach in 2001.
And, when a team is 13-5 in such games, there's reason to take note of
the numbers. Especially when the coaching staff is trying to motivate a team
that likely will need to win at least three of its four December games to
qualify for the playoffs with at least an 11-5 record.
Even so, it must be noted that this month's schedule is like no other
December in Vermeil's tenure. Only once previously were the Chiefs truly in
playoff contention in December. And even in 2003, when Kansas City had the
AFC's best record at 13-3, the 9-0 start that year had the Chiefs in good
enough shape that a 2-2 finish in December really didn't set the team back.
Such a finish this month would be a killer, however, to Kansas City's
hopes of reaching the playoffs for only the second time since 1997.
"We've put ourselves in a position where all these final four games
matter, and that's all you can ask when the season starts," quarterback
Trent Green said. "You want to be playing meaningful games in December.
"It's fun, and that's what you want. Every game from here on has to be a
playoff type of approach. We have four weeks to prove ourselves."
Cowboys running back Julius Jones has tried, but he admits it's hard not
to be frustrated.
He rushed for 819 yards and seven touchdowns in only eight games as a
rookie last year.
He hoped to continue that in 2005, coming into the season with a goal of
1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns.
So far Jones has just 644 yards and three touchdowns. He has yet to top
the 100-yard barrier in a game. His longest run is 25 yards and he is
averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.
"I try not to get frustrated, but sometimes you can't help it," Jones
said. "But you have to look at the overall picture and keep getting after
Though Jones has missed three games this year with an ankle injury, his
woes are mostly due to poor blocking.
Still, the Cowboys need Jones to be a difference-maker. Coach Bill
Parcells told him Thursday that he might have to make his own hole to
jump-start himself and the team.
"I said, 'Sometimes you've just got to be your own blocker. And just
somehow manage to rip off one of those big runs, or a good run, where ...
all your linemen see it and everybody sees it and it just gets everybody
excited. That's what the good ones can do. It might take you two or three
games to get that done, but that can provide an impetus to us,' " Parcells
"And he knows what I'm talking about. It's going to be sticky in
there, tough sledding. It's all of the above. But sometimes, as an
individual runner, you can make that one guy miss or just run through some
tackles somewhere and all of a sudden, the whole landscape changes. I've
seen it happen. I've seen it change the whole dynamic of a season for a
Previewing Kansas City
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