Five weeks into the NFL season it is difficult to deny that the Dallas Cowboys are among the better teams throughout the entire league. People differ in terms of exactly how good they think Dallas is, but one thing that is universal is that the Cowboys re commanding respect from all corners. Winning is obviously the most important thing every single week, and the more that the Cowboys win the more acclaim they will receive. Ripping off victories is not easy in the NFL and predicting whether or not any given team will do it is even more difficult.
A few weeks ago BTB’s own Aidan Davis and I started something that we have continued every week since. We do our best to figure out how likely it is that Dallas will win based off of Offensive EPA/Play, Defensive EPA/Play Allowed, and the disparity that exists between the Cowboys and their remaining foes. This is an idea that I discussed in further detail on this week’s episode of The Ocho on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. You can listen to it right above, but make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any episodes. Apple devices can subscribe right here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
This is going to shock you, but it looks like it will be difficult for opposing defenses to stop the Cowboys offense through the remainder of the season.
The Dallas Cowboys offense will have an advantage every game over the rest of the season and the defense will have one more often than not
During this exercise a week ago we identified that (at that time) it looked like the Dallas offense would be better than every defense it would be facing over the rest of the season through the lens of EPA. If you were worried that this was some sort of aberration that another week of data would bring back down to earth, we are here to remind you that Dallas’ advantage is only widening from an EPA perspective.
Today’s NFL is an offensive game so this in and of itself would be a heavy reason to feel confident in the rest of the season, but thankfully there is more. Much more. Last week’s set of games from the Cowboys and their remaining opponents actually improved Dallas’ defensive advantage. The only regression happening is with the offenses that the Cowboys have yet to play.
We are comparing colors to colors here. A breakdown:
- The dotted grey line represents the stability of the Cowboys offense where the solid grey line represents the stability of opposing defenses. As you can see the solid grey line never breaks the dotted one (upwards) which is how we can discern that Dallas has the advantage every week at present time.
- The dotted blue line represents the stability of the Cowboys defense where the solid blue line represents the stability of opposing offenses. Any time where the solid blue line is below the dotted blue line is where the Cowboys defense has an advantage which includes this week’s game against the New England Patriots and remaining matchups against the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Football Team (twice), and Philadelphia Eagles.
Keep in mind that every team in the NFL (so obviously including the Cowboys) has 12 games remaining on the season. The Cowboys offense has an EPA advantage in all of them (100%) and their defense has an advantage in a whopping seven of them (58.3%) including three of their remaining four divisional matchups.
It is easy to see here that the only real threats to the Cowboys defense over the rest of the season are going to be the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals, but with the former being so bad at defense (they are 32nd in Defensive DVOA for further perspective) it might not be as close of a game as the latter. Arizona’s defense is one of the better ones in this context so that might be the most difficult remaining game for the Cowboys.
- Dallas Cowboys Offensive EPA/Play: .157
- Average Remaining Opponent Defensive EPA/Play Allowed: .050
- Dallas Cowboys Defensive EPA/Play Allowed: -.035 (negative is better if that isn’t obvious)
- Average Remaining Opponent Offensive EPA/Play: .038
This feels redundant to say, but the Cowboys are going to theoretically have much more continued success on both offense and defense through the season. At least that’s a very logical conclusion to draw from all of this.
Up next are the New England Patriots and from an EPA disparity perspective they are fairly similar to the New York Giants entering last week. Here’s hoping for similar results and an enjoyable bye week.