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Cowboys 2014 Season: Spreading The "Blue Flu"

Are Cowboys opponents suffering from a lingering case of the "blue flu" the week after they face off against Dallas?

These guys have been hurtin' folks...
These guys have been hurtin' folks...
Wesley Hitt

Back in 2005, as Bill Parcells built the Cowboys into a big, hard-nosed (if not super-talented) team, reports surfaced that  teams were less effective after facing off against his big, physical Cowboys squads. And this wasn't just on the plane ride home or in the ice tub on Tuesday; no, the key was that they had less juice during the the following week's game. The 2005 Cowboys were 9-7, so it wasn't that they beat rivals teams regularly. However, they did beat them up, to such a degree that the other guys were often still suffering from the "blue flu" the following week.

More recently, observers in Seattle have been saying the same thing about the Seahawks. During their Super Bowl season the 'Hawks beat up opponents, especially in the first six weeks or so. On the year, their rivals were 5-9-1 in the week after they played Seattle; their opponents in weeks one through six were 0-6, and were outscored by an average score of 28.7-10.3. Those numbers suggest that, in particular, other teams' offenses were so beat up that they had trouble being effective in the following week.

In 2014, the Cowboys have been on a similar run. Let's take a look at the Cowboys opponents the week after thy have played Dallas:

Team Next Week’s Opponent Score
San Francisco Chicago L 20-28
Tennessee Cincinnati L 7-33
St. Louis BYE -NA-
New Orleans Tampa Bay W 37-31 (OT)
Houston Indianapolis L 28-33
Seattle St. Louis L 26-28

As this shows, Dallas' opponents on the season are 1-4 (w/ one bye) the week after playing the Cowboys, and are giving up an average of 30.6 points per game after facing the bruising Cowboys O-line. When you are still nursing bruises, it's not much fun to hit other guys on those tender spots.

It's early, so this is a small sample size. But after seven weeks, it looks like, at least in this regard, the Cowboys are playing like last year's Seahawks. In fact, after I Tweeted some of these numbers, Danny Kelly, the excellent proprietor of Field Gulls, the SB Nation Seattle Seahawks site, responded unprompted:

That is high praise, indeed.

The best part of this equation is that, unlike 2005, the Cowboys are both beating people up AND beating people. It is, of course, impossible to determine how all of this will play out. But there is a lesson to be gleaned thus far: playing Dallas hurts, folks.

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