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Looking at the Dallas Cowboys remaining schedule by offensive and defensive EPA disparity at Week 10

Last week for the Cowboys was not a lot of fun.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Entering last week, the Dallas Cowboys were objectively one of the most lethal and explosive offenses in the National Football League. They certainly did not play that way against the Denver Broncos.

Dallas wound up putting 16 points on the board, but for all intents and purposes they were blanked by the Broncos which has tugged at the loose thread known as Cowboys Fan Syndrome. Doubt has crept in for some Cowboys fans and they are now wondering whether or not we have reached the beginning of the end.

Every week we gather to discuss how the Cowboys’ remaining schedule looks through the lens of Offensive EPA/Play and Defensive EPA/Play Allowed and we obviously look at the Cowboys themselves through this context.

The good news is that things are not as bad as they seem both for Dallas and their remaining opponents.

The Dallas Cowboys offense has obviously regressed, but they should still win the rest of their games

There is no perfect statistic when it comes to football, but we can learn a lot about the state of things by looking at different ones. Every week here at BTB we examine what Dallas’ remaining schedule looks like relative to their opponent’s Offensive EPA/Play and Defensive EPA/Play Allowed.

Prior to the Broncos debacle, you can look at last week’s exercise right here, the Cowboys offense looked to have the “advantage” (as in an Offensive EPA/Play that would theoretically outperform each opposing defense) in every game remaining. That is still true entering Week 10 which is a testament to how elite the Cowboys offense is that it can withstand last week’s porous performance.

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 only breaks the dotted one (upwards) once which is how we know that Dallas has the advantage for most of their remaining games at the 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 most of their remaining opponents.

The Cowboys offense still holds the “advantage” in just about every remaining game this season. Only the Arizona Cardinals look to be a defense that can challenge them.

What has actually been impacted the most following the Denver loss is on the defensive side of the ball, which was exposed by Teddy Bridgewater and his offensive teammates. Entering Week 10 the Cowboys defense now looks like they will be more challenged than we initially thought against the Las Vegas Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles (these results obviously reflect how those teams played in Week 9 as well).

If the Cowboys defense is going to regress to some sort of mean as far as turnovers are concerned - they don’t have a single one over the last two games - then the offense is going to need to be the elite group we have known it to be for some time. Stating the obvious here, they simply cannot afford to be scoreless through the first three quarters of a game.

  • Dallas Cowboys Offensive EPA/Play: .096
  • Average Remaining Opponent Defensive EPA/Play Allowed: .044
  • Dallas Cowboys Defensive EPA/Play Allowed: -.028 (negative is better)
  • Average Remaining Opponent Offensive EPA/Play: .031

If you look at the Atlanta Falcons you will see that Dallas should have the “advantage” against them on both offense and defense. While hindsight is 20/20, last week’s exercise that we did was a little bullish on the Denver Broncos offense.

Now we know why.