An enterprising blogger for the SB Nation Lions Blog, Pride of Detroit (POD), recently simulated putting Lions QB Matt Stafford on each of the 32 NFL teams in Madden 17 to see what the results would be.
For the Cowboys, the results were a disappointment.
With rookie QB Dak Prescott at the helm, the Cowboys finished last season with a 13-3 record, and if the Cowboys hadn't gifted the Eagles the meaningless season finale in Week 17, they could easily have gone 14-2.
POD's Ryan Mathews used Madden 2017 to recreate the 2016 season for the Cowboys, and Matthew Stafford came nowhere close to Dak Prescott's results, barely managing a winning season with a 9-7 record.
That’s a four-game drop. No other team had a greater loss in these simulations. Here's POD's summary of the simulation.
Stafford’s stats: 431 of 649, 5,076 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, 95.7 passer rating.
What happened: First things first, it was an accomplishment in and of itself that Stafford earned the starting job in Dallas. After an intense camp battle with former Lions great and the pride of all those potato farmers, Kellen Moore, Stafford emerged from the wreckage as the starter.
And finally, someone took the figure out the packaging! When you’re advertised as having “rocket arm action,” it’s nice when someone decides to use it. Yeah, the Cowboys won fewer games, so what? The Stafford-led ‘Boys still had the No. 1 offense in the league.
Oh, he also went into Lambeau, sonned Aaron Rodgers and won 31-28 to advance to the Divisional Round. I’m just saying, I didn’t see Dak Prescott beat the Packers in the playoffs last season...
Interestingly, Stafford didn't work out for any of the other NFC East teams either. The Giants dropped three wins and finished with an 8-8 record, even though Stafford would be a significant upgrade over Eli Manning any way you look at it. The Redskins also dropped three wins en route to a 5-11 season. The Eagles dropped one win and finished at 6-10, though this may have had less to do with Stafford and more with RB Ryan Mathews: POD turned off injuries which resulted in the Eagles getting a full 16 games out of Mathews.
The Rams, who spent their No. 1 overall pick on QB Jared Goff show the biggest improvement in this simulation, jumping 6 wins to a 10-6 record.
All of which just goes to show how lucky the Cowboys were to find Dak Prescott waiting for them at the bottom of the fourth round in the 2016 NFL draft.