Cowboys Game 1 Recap

Great game last night. Lots of points I want to make but I want to add a new section to my recap posts.

Expected Win Projections

As most of you know, Statistics are great. Well, when I say great, I mean they're great for a nice rear-view mirror look at what happened during a game. I couldn't tell you how well the Boys are going to do against the Seahawks because of last night, and that's just an aspect of Seattle being a completely different team than NY. However, a funny thing does happen with statistics. Over the course of a season, you can start converting them into expected wins with a couple of different formulas. You've probably seen these before from both OCC and FiTaT. I want to do a cumlative approach this season and show how different games and factors affect our final win tally. Just how much does 1 bad or good game affect our win tally?

(Well obviously there's no causal link but it will be interesting to see whether or not updated projections from a bad game will factor into our final win tally)

So without further ado here's my first set of predictions.


I'm obsessed with this statistic. Ok, maybe not "really" obsessed but I still think it's really valuable. As a disclaimer, I just want to say that it's dangerous to use this as a statistic to measure a QB. This stat should measure a team offense and a team defense.

Week O NY/A D NY/A Projected Wins
1 9.35 5.34 23.16

So, yeah. That's the one downside to this formula. It's slow to get started. I mean, don't get me wrong it would be great for the Cowboys to win 23 wins but that's just not possible. Well, maybe the Cowboys could break the laws of football, but I wouldn't bet on it. Give this statistic a few weeks to get off the ground then hopefully it will start looking reasonable. Or the Cowboys could just be the best team ever. Yeah, I'm going with that.

NB: This is a correlative projection based off of a Linear Regression. No team in my calculations finished the year with a NY/A Differential as high as 4. That will come down. A couple of losses and close games should bring that down.

Pythagorean Wins:

I'd like to think Bill James' spirit lives on within all of us. Wait, what do you mean he's still alive? Well regardless, Bill James' Pythagorean model of wins still is one of the most accurate predictors of future success.So let's see what this specific 1 win tells us about the Cowboys Chances so far:

Week Points Scored Points Allowed Projected Wins
1 24.00 17.00 10.64

Yeah, looks pretty good. So a warning stating the obvious. This is taking the statistical sample of one game. I don't want anyone think the Cowboys are guaranteed 10-11 wins because of 1 win versus the Giants this year, although I think all of you know that. Of course the projection looks good; we haven't lost yet. That will change. I doubt this team is a 16 winner.

NB: This is based off the formula ((Points Scored)^2)/((Points Scored)^2+(Points Alowed)^2)* Total Number of Games

So that's what the two indicators look like so far. I'll keep cumulative updates on these statistics as the season goes on and we'll see if these stats become indicators of the team's success over the course of the season.

Please leave a comment below if you have any other indicators you want me to monitor over the course of the season.

Other Thoughts

Well with the statistics out of the way I wanted to comment on other relevant items:

The Emergence of Kevin Ogletree:

I'm eating crow this morning, and I'm eating a lot of it. On August 12th when I heard Kevin Ogletree was in the lead for the 3rd Wide Receiver position I made this insightful comment:


The man who in the last 3 years has had 25 receptions and 294 yards is by far the model of consistency the Cowboys must relish.

I don't know what got into this guy. Well, OK I have a theory, and others have stated things similar to this but I want to put my own version out there. The #3 Wide Receiver position might be the most important position on the Dallas Cowboys Offense. With Miles Austin and Dez Bryant you have two match up busters who will always demand a lot of respect by opposing coordinators because they will beat you if you slack up a little. (They often did beat the Giants last night)

So if your first and second Wide Receivers are being double covered and bracketed all night, especially if your Hall Of Fame Tight End is a (very heroic) non-factor, then there's very little chance they'll be able to have 150 yard games with a couple of Touch Downs. Kevin Ogletree got burn, because you can't double cover everyone. You can't have six Defensive Backs covering 3 receivers, a Linebacker covering your Tight End and hope to stop the run with 4 men in the box. That's not to mention the threat of throwing the football to your Running Back. So one of the Wide Receivers is going to get single coverage, and that should be the 3rd receiver. It is incumbent to have a good 3rd WR, especially if your Offensive Line still isn't getting you the time needed for your match-up busters to get open. I don't think Laurent Robinson broke out last year, Robinson did his job and rode a great QB to a great #2 WR contract.

Kevin Ogletree did what he needed to do to get good enough to be a target for Romo. That's what we need from him. If he keeps it up he'll be a thousand yard receiver no problem.

The Defense:

Wow, how about this team's performance. Whatever way you slice it this was good. We held the Giants defense to a 5.34 NY/A. Eli got 213 yards on 32 passes. That's incredible. And the point I want to emphasize is this, Eli didn't throw a pick. Maybe this is counter-intuitive, but what I mean is this: Turnovers greatly affect the outcome of the game. If you cough up a turnover there's a much slimmer chance of you winning. I'm aware of the WIlson turnover, but that didn't result in anything. This defense was downright dominant, and it did so without being opportunistic.

It's a bit to early to generalize, but if this defense can keep it up, the turnovers will come (most likely). This team can be good without relying on turnovers. That's a great sign.

How about that goal-line stand by the way? I don't care about the no-call on Scandrick; it makes up for the horrible no-call on Marty B for pushing off of the Safety. That was a downright dominant defense. Yes, I'm aware that the Giants running game isn't the best, but do you recall how much the Giants rushed against us last year? It certainly didn't feel like they were a bad rushing team. So I'm going to enjoy that they had to settle for a Field Goal.


This wasn't the best game of his career. Oh don't get me wrong, it was amazing. But has everyone forgot 2011 against Buffalo? That was an AMAZING game, versus a team everyone thought was playoff caliber.

Quarterbacks are going to throw interceptions. Romo couldn't step into the pass and so made a bad pass. It happens, the Defense stepped up. There is no value you can place on a defense that can cover its offense's mistake. I'm of the impression that for the past couple of years that has been what is missing from the Cowboys. Teams sometimes throw duds, and the offense won't always be dominant. Is the defense good enough that most of the games the Offense implodes it can step up and keep us in the game? I can remember one or two times last year that was the case, but the defense needs to be much better than that. I still expect the offense will have to cover up for the defense sometimes, but if the defense can cut down on the number of times that is necessary and can return the favor to the offense, we're looking at the beginnings of a really good football team.

That's a lot of ifs, but that's what's to be expected from Week 1 Football. Take your time and enjoy the win Cowboys fans; they deserved the win. This team is not in mid-season form, that should scare all of us. I'm aware that neither the Giants nor any other team is, but the Cowboys displayed a level of dominance that should have us licking our chops.

But hey, that could just be the kool-aid talking.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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