FanPost

Does Dallas compare favorably to the previous two Super Bowl winners?

After the disaster in Dallas on Monday Night, Stephen Jones noted that the Giants and Packers struggled during the respective years those teams won Super Bowls. Green Bay won the Super Bowl after finishing 10-6 during the 2010 regular season. New York had the worst regular season record last season, 9-7, of any team that had ever even made a Super Bowl.

While Dallas has started 2-2 over the first four weeks of the season, both Green Bay and New York began their respective Super Bowl winning seasons 3-1. That difference may impact some of the numbers such as rushing attempts or passing attempts. The defensive statistics will also be affected by the respective records of the teams.

The Cowboys only compare favorably with the previous two champions defensively in fumbles forced and recovered through the first quarter of the respective seasons. The Packers and Giants got their hands on many more passes than the Cowboys defenders have after four games.

Despite the presence of DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys are lagging behind in pressure on the opposing quarterbacks resulting in sacks. Further examination suggests that the Dallas defensive front is not holding up as well as the defensive counterparts from Green Bay and New York, since tackles for loss by the Cowboys is also significantly less than those made by the Packers and Giants.

Defense

Sacks

Tackles for Loss

Passes defensed

INT

Forced Fumbles

Fumbles Recovered

Packers

16

10

21

4

5

2

Giants

12

15

24

4

5

4

Cowboys

9

7

11

1

4

3

But defense is only half (or one third if special teams is included) of the of the game. The running game through the first four weeks of the season clearly demonstrates that 2012 Dallas Cowboys are not as persistent running the ball as the previous two Super Bowl winners. Despite only averaging 3.27 yards per carry, the Giants ran the ball 28 more times (or 7 times per game) than the Cowboys have to date.

Considering the difficulty that Dallas has encountered in scoring through four games, it is not a surprise to see that the Cowboys are being severely outpaced in rushing for touchdowns by their contemporaries through four weeks. Perhaps persisting with the running game will lead to more touchdowns. Since the Cowboys offense has been in a malaise in the red zone again this season, more runs in the red zone may be worthwhile. That of course, depends on the offensive line carrying out their assignments: which has not happened yet.

Run

Attempts

Yards

Yards / Attempt

TD

Green Bay

96

378

3.94

4

New York

107

350

3.27

5

Dallas

79

271

3.43

1

In lieu of the decreased attempt to run the ball, it is not surprising to see that Dallas has passed the ball much more than either Green Bay or New York through four games. Romo is in line with Rodgers' and Manning's numbers until interceptions are taken into account. Correspondingly, Tony's passer rating is lower than either of the last two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks.

Defense

Attempts

Completion %

Yards

Yards / Attempt

TD

INT

Sacks

Rate

Green Bay

122

68.83

919

7.53

8

5

5

95.63

New York

125

64.00

982

7.86

8

2

11

102.82

Dallas

161

68.32

1185

7.36

6

8

8

81.41

Returning to touchdowns scored note that Dallas has scored but 7 total touchdowns on offense, while New York and Green Bay scored 13 and 12 to open their respective Super Bowl campaigns. The Cowboys, however, have gained more yards than either of the other two teams on offense. The Cowboys have also run more offensive plays than either the Packers or Giants (248 for Dallas versus 243 for New York and 223 for Green Bay).

Examining the sack numbers and completion percentage more intensely, an argument can be made that Eli throws the ball downfield, and takes more sacks instead of taking chances with the ball. This would be a trait that Romo would be wise to modify. But Tony's penchant for escaping and making plays hides many ills on the offensive line, and throwing the ball away at the first signs of pressure may completely stall an inconsistent Cowboys offense.

Despite significant improvements made on the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys are still not making enough plays when compared to championship teams early in the season. The Dallas offense is much more reliant on passing the ball than those in New York and Green Bay were during the first four weeks of the season. The Cowboys offense compares favorably, though, with the Packers and Giants offense with the important exception of touchdowns scored.

If the Cowboys defense progresses and grows into a playmaking unit by the end of the season, Dallas will have a legitimate chance at having success in the post season. Combine that with improvement from the offense in scoring touchdowns, and the Cowboys could be considered a Super Bowl contender.

While simplifying the Cowboys woes as scoring more touchdowns and getting more turnovers sounds easy, the Cowboys have demonstrated these limiting issues in recent seasons. Expecting the team to progress sufficiently to overcome the deficiencies of the past and present is far from certain to occur. It is almost a certainty, though, that if the defense and offense does not improve its productivity, the season will once again end up in disappointment.

Also note the lack of pressure from the Dallas defensive front, and consider the hesitation to run secondary to a weak offensive line. Once again, the Cowboys problems may very well revolve around the defensive and offensive fronts. While Ratliff's return may improve the defensive pressure, the offensive line will likely gain Phil Costa after the bye. Unless Costa serves as a unifying cog on the offensive line, the Cowboys will continue to struggle running the ball and scoring touchdowns.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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