Prediction: Chiefs 23, Cowboys 20

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As dominant as the Kansas City Chiefs were in their season opener last week, just how good they are remains a mystery. It’s difficult to forget how miserable the Chiefs were last season and how miserable last week’s opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, are this season.

Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium is a better gauge for whether the Chiefs have indeed improved enough to make a push for a playoff berth. The Cowboys have the quarterback and the other necessary offensive pieces to make a lot of opposing defenses look ordinary.

Defensively, at least, the Chiefs may be a cut above ordinary. They have many good pieces, too, and, judging from the way they played last week, finally a good idea of how to use them. The Chiefs had six sacks, forced two turnovers, scored a defensive touchdown and held the Jaguars to only a safety that happened when a blocked punt rolled out of the end zone.

The Chiefs should win their share of battles against the Dallas offense. It’s the matchup between the Kansas City offense and the Dallas defense that should determine whether the Chiefs can start a season 2-0 for only the second time since 2005.

The Chiefs were efficient when they had the ball in last week’s game. They scored a touchdown on each of their three trips inside the Jacksonville 20. They didn’t commit a turnover.

But they were never put in bad situations. Their first two touchdowns happened after the Chiefs took possession in Jacksonville territory, once after a long punt return, the other after an interception.

The Chiefs didn’t fare so well when the offense had to make its own way. Their longest offensive play of the game was 26 yards.

So there’s no guarantee that without a considerable amount of help from the defense and special teams that the Chiefs can score enough to beat the Cowboys.

That’s what makes this game so difficult to call. It just adds up that in a noisy Arrowhead against an opponent that had trouble winning last week despite forcing six turnovers, the Chiefs will have enough to outlast Dallas.

Prediction: Chiefs 23, Cowboys 20