Weeks 2 and 3 of the NFL season are filled with “teams that start 0-2” data. It happens every year.
Losing your first two games is typically not something that yields a playoff spot, but anything is possible and teams have overcome it before, the Cowboys included. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about this alternate reality because Dallas sits at an even-steven 1-1.
What about the third game of the season, though? How often does that push the playoff pendulum one direction or another? 2-1 looks and feels a whole lot different than 1-2 and as Cowboys fans, we know that well. Although if we’re being honest with ourselves we haven’t known that difference in quite some time.
Jason Garrett’s Cowboys have never not started 2-1
Did you know that every season, literally every single one, of the Jason Garrett era in Dallas has begun 2-1? It’s insane consistency in this regard:
- 2011: loss in Week 1, 2-1, no playoffs
- 2012: win in Week 1, 2-1, no playoffs
- 2013: win in Week 1, 2-1, no playoffs
- 2014: loss in Week 1, 2-1, playoffs
- 2015: win in Week 1, 2-1, no playoffs
- 2016: loss in Week 1, 2-1, playoffs
- 2017: win in Week 1, 2-1, no playoffs
- 2018: loss in Week 1...
Not only have the Cowboys begun each season of Jason Garrett’s full tenure with a 2-1 record (the last time they didn’t start 2-1 was actually the final year of Wade Phillips in 2010 when they started 1-2), but they are another even-steven 4-4 in terms of wins or losses in the first game of the season. It’s uncanny.
Jason Garrett’s Cowboys tend to have a strong performance in Week 3
Obviously if Garrett’s Cowboys have started every season 2-1 then you know they’re pulling off two wins in the first three weeks. If you also know (which you now do) that he’s .500 in season-openers then you know there’s only a few mathematical ways all of this can work out.
It’s fair to feel good about the Cowboys chances this week because of the way that the Seahawks have looked two weeks in, but it’s even more fair when you consider that history is on their side in this vein. Jason Garrett’s Cowboys are 6-1 in Week 3 games:
- 2011: Win vs. Washington Redskins (Romo coming off of the punctured lung)
- 2012: Win vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the Greg Schiano knee game)
- 2013: Win vs. St. Louis Rams
- 2014: Win at St. Louis Rams (the 21-point comeback)
- 2015: Loss vs. Atlanta Falcons (Brandon Weeden’s first start after Tony Romo went down)
- 2016: Win vs. Chicago Bears (Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott’s first home victory)
- 2017: Win at Arizona Cardinals (part of the reason for Brice Butler’s return, imaginably)
- 2018: ____ at Seattle Seahawks
It’s actually quite fair to give Garrett and Co. a pass for their lone loss in Week 3s considering they’d just lost their franchise quarterback, and even then you can make a strong argument that the Cowboys still should have defeated the Atlanta Falcons after such a strong start to that game. But, hey, Julio Jones.
This is all ultimately meaningless, but it certainly bodes well
Obviously anything can happen this Sunday when the Cowboys visit Seattle, but it definitely doesn’t hurt that 100% of history indicates Jason Garrett will have a 2-1 record. Combine that with the fact that he’s won 86% of his Week 3 games and it’s easy to feel optimistic this week.
We’re not talking about one or two years of data here. This is the eighth year of Jason Garrett’s tenure so the sample size is significant. Here’s hoping that this consistency keeps up and that we find ourselves on the right side of things Sunday night.