Waiting to play Monday Night Football is a long and tedious thing, since there are no other games to divert you or give you someone to root against. The Dallas Cowboys meet Washington tonight, so as a faithful Cowboys fan I was looking around for any relevant or entertaining information.
And found something very interesting over at Pro Football Focus. In a previous post, I had noted that Dallas was sitting at the top of the ratings according to their system. This score is derived by compiling all the individual grades PFF gives a team each week and adding them. It contains one notable flaw, in that as soon as the bye weeks start, teams do not have the same number of games. For the league-leading total in week 7, Dallas was going up against several teams that have one less game played. Plus, the margin was very small, maybe just a single point or so, as I recall. (Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to go back and get the previous week's numbers at PFF. I think the Ravens were number two last week, but I'm hardly sure.)
I went back to look today. Dallas still has the top spot, despite not playing yet (and hopefully improving their score against a struggling Washington defense). But for today, every other team has played at least as many games as the Cowboys. And the lead over number two, now the Baltimore Ravens, is bigger than last week's, 46.1 to 42.8. Whoever was in second place last week had a minus score. The respectable 3.3 point margin the Cowboys have will quite likely climb after tonight, but for now, Dallas gained ground by standing still.
Just to offer a comparison, Washington has a -20.6 offensive score. Defensively, Dallas is only twelfth on the list with a +19.5, but that is much better than the -41.1 cumulative rating the opponent carries.
PFF's numbers are not the be all and end all, of course, and this is one of those divisional rivalry games where you can throw the records out the window, blah, blah, blah. But based on what is at least a serious attempt at finding an objective manner to stack teams up against one another, the Cowboys have earned the big margin by which they are favored tonight. Now let's hope they can go out and live up to it.