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2022 Cowboys analytics: Nobody better than America’s Team right now

The Cowboys are playing their best football.

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Cowboys are riding high right now after utterly demolishing the Colts, thanks in large part to a 33-0 fourth quarter scoring run. The caveat is that the Colts are, well, pretty bad and the Cowboys struggled to pull away for three quarters.

So, let’s turn to the analytics, where strength of schedule adjustments help provide DVOA grades that account for how bad the Colts are. Spoiler alert: if you read the headline, you know the Cowboys are sitting pretty in these latest analytics results.

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 7.4% 11th 15th 10.3% 6th
Defense -20.1% 1st 1st -19.8% 1st
Special Teams 3.2% 5th 4th 3.4% 6th
Overall 30.7% 2nd 4th 33.5% 1st

What’s the view like from the very top? Right now, the Cowboys don’t have to wonder. They’re playing inspired football and it’s reflected by Dallas surging to second place in total DVOA. They’re now the most efficient team in the NFC, ahead of the Eagles, and trail only the Buffalo Bills.

More exciting, though, is that the Cowboys now lead the entire NFL in weighted DVOA, which measures how efficient a team has been playing most recently. The Cowboys dropped 40+ burgers on both the Vikings and Colts and are on a three-game win streak, so it’s easy to get excited about this team. The analytics won’t calm any of that down either: the Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the NFL right now.

2022 NFL Team Tiers, Weeks 1-13, courtesy of

Pivoting to the EPA-based team tiers and it’s a similar picture, placing fourth in total EPA/play. In the spirit of the prevailing theme of the Cowboys being red hot, Dallas is also first in the NFL - by a very wide margin - in total EPA/play since Dak Prescott came back from injury. Once again, the Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the NFL right now.


Cowboys Offensive Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Offensive DVOA 7.4% 11th
Pass DVOA 14.8% 15th
Run DVOA 11.2% 3rd

It’s a testament to how good this offense has been that Prescott had a fairly mediocre stat line - 66.6% completion rate and 170 yards - and the offense still scored 47 points. The offense is now creeping towards that top 10 grouping and they’re sixth in weighted DVOA, further underscoring how much better this offense is since Prescott came back.

A week ago in the analytics roundup, we highlighted how the Cowboys’ very efficient rushing game struggled against the Giants defense. To follow up on that, Dallas returned to form and had a strong performance on the ground against a much better Colts defense. It seems likely that the Cowboys’ average day on the ground against the Giants was mostly due to playing on a short week rather than any long lasting problems starting to show.

Dak Prescott’s Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
QBR 59.2 10th
EPA/play 0.244 4th
CPOE 1.9 10th
DVOA 16.7% 6th
DYAR 400 12th

As we hinted above, Prescott was not at his best Sunday night. It’s worth noting that Indianapolis has one of the better pass defenses in the league, and that clearly played a role in this game. Still, Prescott finished the game with a solid performance, even if it was his “worst” game since coming back from injury.

On the whole, though, Prescott is performing at a top 10 rate across the board when looking at these metrics. He’s playing like the Dak Prescott we all know and love, and it’s helped elevate the Cowboys to another level.

Cowboys Offensive Line Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Adjusted Line Yards 4.74 5th
RB Yards 4.91 4th
Adjusted Sack Rate 4.6% 3rd
Pass Block Win Rate 46% 32nd
Run Block Win Rate 73% 6th

The offensive line may have had their best collective performance of the year against the Colts. Both Tyler Smith and Connor McGovern - the two most inconsistent blockers on this line - posted a goose egg for pressures allowed. The only other time the two of them have done that in the same game was against the Vikings.

This offensive line is close to getting an upgrade, too, as Tyron Smith is expected to have his 21-day practice window activated this week. Adding a talent like the veteran Smith to this group, which is surging at the moment, would be a major upgrade.


Cowboys Defensive Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Defensive DVOA -20.1% 1st
Pass Defense DVOA -25.2% 1st
Run Defense DVOA -13.8% 8th
Pass Rush Win Rate 53% 1st
Run Stop Win Rate 28% 29th

The Dallas defense is unquestionably the best in the NFL right now. There’s no other way of putting it, and Dan Quinn is once again going to have his schedule full with interviews after the regular season concludes. The run defense has made legitimate strides since the addition of Johnathan Hankins, and they’re now up to eighth in run defense DVOA.

Then there’s the pass rush, and it’s a plethora of riches there. Micah Parsons is now tied with Myles Garrett for the best pass rush win rate of any defender. He’s also third in both pressures and sacks, but has seen less pass rush reps than the two defenders ahead of him in both categories. Parsons is the engine that makes this team’s fierce pass rush run, and it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

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 63 41 65.1% 86.1 9.8 256 255
Anthony Brown 86 46 53.5% 90.7 11.8 412 177
Kelvin Josph 10 6 60.0% 125.4 11.3 71 10
Jourdan Lewis 26 19 73.1% 74.2 6.2 51 119
DaRon Bland 34 27 79.4% 80.4 5.9 105 147
Jayron Kearse 24 18 75.0% 100.7 6.1 123 85
Malik Hooker 18 14 77.8% 99.3 8.7 91 61
Donovan Wilson 30 17 56.7% 61.9 8.6 49 62
Israel Mukuamu 8 6 75.0% 87.5 3.0 14 30
Micah Parsons 11 9 81.8% 128.0 0.5 -9 91
Leighton Vander Esch 30 24 80.0% 96.4 3.9 87 127
Anthony Barr 18 14 77.8% 89.4 4.1 43 55

The unfortunate news is that Anthony Brown is done for the year with a torn Achilles. His numbers are strange, allowing the lowest completion rate on the team but also giving up the most yards. Brown was effectively only getting beat on deep shots, which made it hard to appreciate just how good he was on all his other targets.

Kelvin Joseph is likely going to fill Brown’s spot going forward, although Nahshon Wright could be in the mix as well. Joseph was the next man up against the Colts, and his performance was a mixed bag. He was targeted four times, each one to a different receiver. Joseph only allowed completions on two of them, breaking up one of the passes, but gave up 11 yards and 13 yards on the two completions. The second one was also a touchdown where Joseph got Moss’d by a rookie receiver.

How Joseph can hold up in that role will be huge as the Cowboys defense looks to continue their dominant ways. He’ll be the second backup to be inserted into a starting role in the secondary now, after DaRon Bland took over for the injured Jourdan Lewis. Bland notably had a coming out party Sunday night with two interceptions. Hopefully Joseph can follow suit.

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