The Must-Win Games: Kansas City (Week 2), St. Louis (Week 3), San Diego (Week 4)
Wedged between the opener and a formidable Denver team in Week 5, this spate doesn’t represent a total three-game pushover. The Chiefs have brought in an extremely competent quarterback-head coach tandem in Alex Smith and Andy Reid. The Rams have some elite playmakers on defense: DEs Chris Long and Robert Quinn combined for 22 sacks last year, and LB James Laurinaitis led the league in unassisted tackles with 117.
With an offensive guru like Reid at the helm, expect KC to go razzle-dazzle and see if they can’t trick the Cowboys’ defense into finally giving up some big plays. A pass-heavy attack that reveals how capable the Dallas safeties are, particularly against the deep ball, will certainly surface against the Chiefs and Chargers. Look for the Rams to pick up where the Giants left off, especially in terms of the pass rush.
Game plans aside, there’s no way Dallas can enter the Broncos game with fewer than three wins and expect to still make the playoffs. It’s unlikely, but this “cakewalk” could turn out to be a series of pitfalls that cuts the season prematurely short.