With the Cowboys on a bye in week seven, their fans were able to sit back and watch the rest of the NFL.
But if you are anything like me, you are constantly watching these games, asking yourself “Is Dallas better than these teams?” Over the weekend, I took at some of the stats that have correlated the most to winning in the NFL and I wanted to see where Dallas ranked in these categories.
With that in mind, let’s take a look to see if the Dallas Cowboys are for real or if they are just contenders.
Points Per Drive (2.69, 2nd in the NFL)
The first stat that should give you hope if your the Dallas Cowboys’ is just how efficient the team has been on offense. The Cowboys are scoring points on nearly every drive and they’ve done that without their best receiver. The Cowboys want to play at a slow pace, but in order to do so, they have to be efficient on each and every drive.
Points Per Drive Differential ( .88, 3rd in the NFL)
Scoring a ton of points per drive is important, but if you can’t stop anybody, it doesn’t really matter. But Dallas is stopping teams. The Cowboys are 9th in the league in points per drive against. This is important because the top eight teams leading in this category made the playoffs last season and three of the top four made it to their respective championship games.
Red Zone Offense (65%, 9th in the NFL)
With a rookie quarterback at the helm, this is encouraging for a few reasons. The first being that 9th is not that bad, especially when you consider how frequently the team is getting to the red zone (6th in the NFL). Dallas also missed having the best red zone receiver in the NFL for the past three weeks. Combine that with the fact that Dak Prescott should grow as a passer and/or Tony Romo will be coming back, and this team should be even better in the all-important “money zone” during the second half of the season.
Red Zone Defense (52%, 14th in NFL)
Dallas is surprisingly, not bad in this metric. If you would’ve told me the Cowboys’ defense would be in the top 16 in Red Zone defense at the beginning of the season, I would’ve told you this was a top five team in the NFL. If the Cowboys’ can stay around 14th for the entire season, this will easily be a double digit win team.
Stats can be useful if used within the right context and understood. But I’m also a firm believer in using multiple stats to back up one’s assumption. Right now, the stats show the Cowboys are an elite team and their record shows that as well. If these numbers can hover around the same at the end of the season, there’s no doubt in my mind that this can be a playoff team and one that nobody will want to play.
Dallas is playing complimentary football and the stats absolutely agree.