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2022 Cowboys analytics roundup: Cowboys still in good shape after Packers loss

The Packers game was hard to watch for Cowboys fans, but it was just one game.

Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Not only did the Cowboys lose, but they lost to the Packers of all teams. The generational trauma that is the Packers owning the Cowboys is enough to have amplified the sting of the loss this past week; well, that and blowing a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But it’s just one game, and there’s plenty of season left to be played. For perspective, the Cowboys have the same record as the Buffalo Bills. Furthermore, the analytics are still very kind to this team.

Before we dive into the numbers, a few things to point out. First, strength of schedule adjustments are now at 100%, giving us a much better idea of which teams are thriving relative to their schedules. Also, we’re no longer looking at DAVE, which compared preseason expectations to actual performance, and are instead monitoring weighted DVOA. Weighted DVOA measures how efficient a team has been in their most recent games. In other words, regular DVOA tells us how good a team is on the year, while weighted DVOA tells us how they’ve been playing right now. Let’s get into it.

Cowboys Efficiency at a Glance

DVOA DVOA Rank DVOA Rank Previous Week Weighted DVOA Weighted DVOA Rank
DVOA DVOA Rank DVOA Rank Previous Week Weighted DVOA Weighted DVOA Rank
Offense 5.5% 12th 12th 7.0% 9th
Defense -15.9% 2nd 1st -15.3% 2nd
Special Teams 4.3% 3rd 2nd 4.4% 3rd
Overall 25.8% 4th 3rd 26.6% 3rd

The overall takeaway here is that the Cowboys remain one of the most efficient teams in the NFL. That really shouldn’t be surprising, as they were third in overall DVOA coming into the Packers game and one given Sunday isn’t enough to drastically change things. Dallas dropped a spot, falling just behind the Ravens, but are still the second most efficient team in the NFC.

If the Cowboys keep playing the way they did against Green Bay, though, they’ll drop farther than that. Their body of work so far suggests that won’t happen, and overtime games like this past week are, statistically speaking, less predictive of future outcomes than other types of games. In short, it’s not time to panic yet.

2022 NFL Team Tiers, Weeks 1-10, courtesy of

The EPA-based team tiers are a little less forgiving to the Cowboys. They’re still in the top ten in overall EPA, and third in the NFC, so the overall takeaway is still to take your finger off the panic button. The offense did see some regression this week, the first time doing so since Dak Prescott’s return, but much of that has to do with those two interceptions. Expect the star logo to once again drift to the right on this chart in a week from now.


Cowboys Offensive Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Offensive DVOA 5.5% 12th
Pass DVOA 7.9% 16th
Run DVOA 15.2% 2nd

As mentioned above, the offense took a slight step back this week but nothing that should cause concern. Interestingly, the Cowboys actually averaged more yards per play against the Packers than they had been averaging on the whole year. In that sense, it was a solid day, but those two interceptions were killers for overall efficiency. Not scoring any points in the fourth quarter or overtime also doesn’t help.

This offense continued to move in the right direction since getting the quarterback under center again. The Cowboys still aren’t where they need to be, but they’re getting there. Perhaps the most positive development was the running game continuing to perform at an elite level despite Ezekiel Elliott missing his second consecutive game.

Dak Prescott’s Efficiency Since Coming Back

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
QBR 62.6 9th
EPA/play 0.256 6th
CPOE 4.7 7th
DVOA - -
DYAR - -

As a reminder, we’re still only looking at Dak Prescott’s numbers since he returned from injury. This is due to the funky sample size issues when trying to compare his work to the rest of the league. This won’t be the case for long, as Prescott will soon have enough games under his belt for a meaningful comparison, but the bye week coming so soon after Prescott’s return complicated things.

As can be seen, though, Prescott has performed well since he came back. His metrics dipped a bit after that Packers game, which is to be expected when throwing two picks. Prescott is still playing at a top ten rate relative to the rest of the league over these last few weeks. That’s undoubtedly been tied to the offense’s general improvements in efficiency as well.

Cowboys Offensive Line Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Adjusted Line Yards 4.78 5th
RB Yards 5.00 5th
Adjusted Sack Rate 5.6% 7th
Pass Block Win Rate 45% 32nd
Run Block Win Rate 74% T-2nd

This offensive line is still one of the best run blocking units in the league, but their pass protection is starting to get a little shaky. Dallas has been at or near the bottom of the league in pass block win rate all year, but they’ve managed to remain in the top ten in adjusted sack rate; in other words, they don’t hold up very long but they also don’t get their quarterback sacked.

That took a turn against Green Bay, as Prescott was sacked twice. Four of the Cowboys’ five offensive linemen allowed multiple pressures, with Zack Martin being the odd man out. That’s been a common refrain for Tyler Smith and Connor McGovern, but not for the other two. Terence Steele had allowed multiple pressures in a game just three times all year; for Tyler Biadasz, it was only his second time doing so, and also marked the first time he had allowed any pressure at all since the Rams game. That all of this happened against a defense that had just lost their best pass rusher in Rashan Gary is a little concerning.


Cowboys Defensive Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Defensive DVOA -15.9% 2nd
Pass Defense DVOA -21.7% 4th
Run Defense DVOA -9.4% 11th
Pass Rush Win Rate 51% 3rd
Run Stop Win Rate 28% 30th

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this was just one game. As such, the Cowboys still boast one of the most efficient defenses in the league. The run defense is a legitimate problem, but it’s also slightly overblown at this point. Much of the Bears’ rushing yardage can be accurately described as garbage time yards, while the Packers are a statistical anomaly with how much they run the ball. Even the run heavy teams the Cowboys face over the next few weeks don’t operate in the way Green Bay does.

In other words, Dallas needs to continue to focus on shoring up the run defense, but they’re still very likely to have plenty of pass rush opportunities. And that’s where this defense really shines, too. They still lead the league in sacks and pressure rate; and while Micah Parsons is now down to eighth in pressures and fifth in sacks, he still leads all defenders in pass rush win rate.

Cowboys Pass Coverage

Targets Completions Completion Rate Passer Rating Allowed ADOT When Targeted Air Yards Allowed Yards After Catch
Targets Completions Completion Rate Passer Rating Allowed ADOT When Targeted Air Yards Allowed Yards After Catch
Trevon Diggs 47 29 61.7% 76.7 10.6 177 225
Anthony Brown 69 40 58.0% 96.5 10.8 294 150
Jourdan Lewis 26 19 73.1% 74.2 6.2 51 119
DaRon Bland 18 14 77.8% 100.0 8.4 65 99
Jayron Kearse 12 10 83.3% 105.2 6.8 68 43
Malik Hooker 13 11 84.6% 112.7 9.5 74 46
Donovan Wilson 26 16 61.5% 66.7 9.0 42 61
Israel Mukuamu 6 5 83.3% 86.8 0.8 4 25
Micah Parsons 9 7 77.8% 141.7 1.2 -3 85
Leighton Vander Esch 22 18 81.8% 94.1 3.9 50 95
Anthony Barr 17 13 76.5% 87.6 3.8 35 54

The Cowboys’ secondary had a rough day against Aaron Rodgers, to put it nicely. DaRon Bland was heavily targeted, and the rookie gave up several big plays. Kelvin Joseph was also taken advantage of when he came in for Anthony Brown, who left with a concussion. While Brown did surrender a 58-yard touchdown pass, it was his only completion allowed out of three targets on the day. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to play this week.

One development that was interesting to see was how Rodgers only threw at Trevon Diggs once all game. The lone attempt fell incomplete, too. Last year, quarterbacks never shied away from testing Diggs because they felt they could still beat him on occasion, but Diggs has been much better in coverage this season. That a quarterback with the kind of prestige and confidence of Rodgers basically avoided Diggs all day says something. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend going forward.

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