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NFL

Picks: The Dallas Cowboys will make the Chiefs look like pretenders

All four of Kansas City's losses have been to winning teams (Baltimore, Chargers, Buffalo and Tennessee) and two of them were at Arrowhead.

Update:
Picks: The Dallas Cowboys will make the Chiefs look like pretenders
TOM PENNINGTONAFP

Week 11 brings us a series of games, whether divisional or interconference, that could have implications for the seeding of the Playoffs.

The list is Indianapolis in Buffalo, Green Bay in Minnesota, New Orleans in Philadelphia, Cincinnati in Las Vegas, Arizona in Seattle and Pittsburgh in the Los Angeles Chargers. Those 12 teams are in contention for one of 14 postseason tickets, so winning or losing this week will bring collateral damage.

In the picks it was a week of terror with just six points, largely (no excuse) for the upsets, which are still a trend in the NFL.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Dallas at Kansas City (-2.5)

After beating the Raiders last week, the Chiefs took control of the AFC West Division. Patrick Mahomes had his best game of the season with 406 yards, five touchdowns and - most importantly - zero interceptions.

It was the second game in a row that Mahomes has not suffered interceptions, after seven in a row with at least one. It was also his first game with a rating of at least 100 points since October 3, when Kansas City won at Philadelphia.

Mahomes finally was the Mahomes we all know.

However, Mahomes and the Chiefs must repeat that kind of performance against a true contender.

Kansas City's four losses (6-4) have been to winning teams (Baltimore, LA Chargers, Buffalo and Tennessee) and two of them were at Arrowhead.

That is why this Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys will tell us if indeed the Chiefs are back and should once again be considered contenders in the AFC.

Probably the big difference in Las Vegas was the patience Mahomes showed in taking what the defense gave him and his efficiency on passing 25-plus yards, an aspect of his game that defenses had countered by using a pair of safeties on "Cover 2".

Against the Raiders, Mahomes completed four passes of more than 25 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown toss to Darrel Williams. In games against the Titans, Giants and Packers, he had three of those passes over 25 yards, one per game.

Dallas' defense, which is second in the league with 14 interceptions, will have its biggest challenge of the season and one of the key duels will be the one between wide receiver Tyeek Hill and young Cowboys cornerback, Trevon Diggs, leader of the NFL with 8 interceptions.

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If Diggs is able to limit Hill's receptions, then Dallas will have to deal with tight end Travis Kelce, who finished with eight catches and 119 yards against the Raiders, his first game of 100 or more yards since late September.

Rushing Mahomes is, of course, a must to beat Kansas City, but it has also worked when coverage forces him to stay with the ball longer.

Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons leads the Cowboys with six quarterback sacks and Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will not hesitate to blitz when necessary.

When the Cowboys have the ball, the Kansas City defense will have their hands full with Dak Prescott and his friends.

Except for the loss to Denver, Prescott (2,341 yards, 20 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 110.8 rating) has played at the MVP level, but he will face a defense that has improved dramatically in the past three weeks.

In wins over the Giants, Packers and Raiders, the Chiefs have allowed an average of 12.6 points. Meanwhile, no one scores more points than Dallas, with 31.6 per game.

The Cowboys' game plan will likely include a lot from Ezekiel Elliott, not only to test the Kansas City front-7, but also to keep Mahomes on the bench.

If it's the Chiefs who hit first and hit twice, then this matchup could turn into an entertaining shootout between two of the best offenses in the NFL.

The pick: Put me on the list of those who are still not convinced with Mahomes and the Chiefs; it's one thing to beat the Raiders and quite another to beat Dallas. If they do, I'll be on that bandwagon again. But I doubt they can do it. Cowboys 31-23 Chiefs

SURE PICK

Houston at Tennessee (-10)

The only thing Houston should be interested in at this point is the first overall pick in the 2022 Draft. Titans 31-17 Texans

UPSET

New Orleans at Philadelphia (-1.5)

I trust the New Orleans defense more than I do Jalen Hurts. Saints 23-20 Eagles

TWO MINUTE DRIVE

New England (-7) at Atlanta

In case you hadn't noticed: Bill Belichick and rookie Mac Jones are looking for their fifth win in a row. Patriots 28-3 Falcons

Indianapolis at Buffalo (-7)

Typical duel between a pretender and a contender. Bills 28-19 Colts

Washington at Carolina (-3.5)

Cam Newton vs. Ron Rivera in Carolina. Get the popcorn ready. Panthers 23-20 WFT

Baltimore (-6) at Chicago

Two bad games in a row by Lamar Jackson? I do not believe it. Ravens 27-20 Bears

Detroit at Cleveland (-10)

Cleveland has lost four of the last six and cannot miss this opportunity, because then they come two in a row against Baltimore. Browns 30-19 Lions

San Francisco (-6.5) at Jacksonville

If you are looking for an upset, this is the right place. 49ers 24-23 Jaguars

Green Bay (-2.5) at Minnesota

In his last 14 games against the NFC North Division, Aaron Rodgers is 13-1. Packers 28-23 Vikings

Miami (-3) at New York Jets

Joe Flacco's turn to deal with coach Brian Flores' defense. Dolphins 20-9 Jets

Cincinnati (-1) at Las Vegas

One of these two organizations is broken on the inside and the other is beginning to find its new identity with its young stars. Bengals 33-26 Raiders

Arizona (-2.5) at Seattle

Well, I think we all know by now that without Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona is a very vulnerable team. Seahawks 27-24 Cardinals

Pittsburgh at Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)

Coach Brandon Staley's team is 1-3 in the last four, with two of those losses at home. Steelers 24-17 Chargers

New York Giants at Tampa Bay (-11)

The champions have lost two in a row, but are 4-0 at home. Bucs 27-19 Giants

OVER / UNDER

Dallas vs. Kansas City OVER 55.5

Texans vs. Titans UNDER 45

49ers vs. Jaguars UNDER 46.5

Last week: 6-8

Total for the season: 93-57

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