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2022 Cowboys analytics roundup: Dallas in good shape ahead of regular-season finale

A look at how the Cowboys are doing in the advanced stats department.

Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

It’s been a while since the last Cowboys analytics roundup, and a lot has happened since then. The Cowboys won their Christmas Eve rematch against the Eagles and then, just five days later, scored a victory over a Titans team that rested most of their starters in a game that meant nothing for their divisional race.

So where does Dallas stand in the advanced analytics rankings relative to the rest of the league? Well, with only one week of regular season football remaining, they’re in good shape. Let’s take a deeper look.

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 5.0% 14th 13th 7.6% 10hth
Defense -14.0% 2nd 2nd -11.0% 4th
Special Teams 3.1% 4th 3rd 3.4% 5th
Overall 22.1% 4th 4th 22.1% 6th

Dallas remains in fourth place in overall DVOA, which is a good place to be. They’re ahead of the Chiefs, Ravens, and Bengals, all of whom have been considered legitimate contenders for some time now.

The problem? They’re behind both the Eagles and 49ers, positioning Dallas as the third best team in the NFC a week before (likely) having to go on the road for the entirety of the playoffs. The Cowboys are also sixth in weighted DVOA, which puts more value into the games played most recently.

2022 NFL Team Tiers, Weeks 1-17, courtesy of

Looking at the EPA-based team tiers, it’s clear that the Cowboys are in good company. They’re one of six teams that’s been right near the top of the league, and these six have been there most of the season. Being one of the six best teams in the NFL is definitely not a bad thing.


Cowboys Offensive Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Offensive DVOA 5.0% 14th
Pass DVOA 15.8% 13th
Run DVOA 3.1% 9th

This offense continues to make slow, but steady, progress. The turnovers haven’t stopped yet, but the offense is still finding ways to thrive in between those turnovers. Also, some of this DVOA grade is still being dragged down by how bad the offense was when Cooper Rush was starting; you can see that reflected in the Cowboys ranking 10th in weighted DVOA.

One area of concern, though, is the running game. It took a pretty big hit in efficiency these last two weeks, especially against the Titans. There’s a variety of factors that have to do with that - playing on a short week, playing half the game in rain, not having Tony Pollard - but it’s still worrisome. The Commanders, who host the Cowboys for the regular-season finale, are one of the league’s better run defenses too; it’s not like this ground game is about to have an easy get-right game before the playoffs.

Dak Prescott’s Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
QBR 63.2 5th
EPA/play 0.215 6th
CPOE 2.4 6th
DVOA 13.9% 6th
DYAR 620 11th

The story of Dak Prescott’s 2022 season - after talking about the injury he sustained in Week 1 - is one of spectacular quarterback play that’s also marred by turnovers. It’s true that Prescott is now in a three-way tie for the league lead in interceptions and also has the highest rate of throws that turn into interceptions.

But Prescott is also eighth in turnover-worthy play rate this year and fifth in percentage of throws that are on target, a reflection of how many of his interceptions have been due to circumstances out of the quarterback’s control. And Prescott is inside the top six in four of the five quarterback metrics we track here.

Furthermore, if you exclude every single quarterback’s turnovers this year, Prescott actually leads the league in EPA/play. This might seem like a cop-out, but it’s important to understand what is happening on plays where Prescott doesn’t throw interceptions, and he’s been very good. Look at the other two quarterbacks with the same amount of interceptions as Prescott; when discounting all the turnovers, Kirk Cousins is still 16th in EPA/play while Derek Carr is 29th.

Obviously it would be better if Prescott stopped throwing interceptions all together, but the fact of the matter is that he’s playing more than well enough to make up for those plays. That’s rarely the case with quarterbacks who turn it over a lot, as can be seen with Cousins and Carr.

Cowboys Offensive Line Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Adjusted Line Yards 4.46 13th
RB Yards 4.52 14th
Adjusted Sack Rate 4.9% 5th
Pass Block Win Rate 52% 29th
Run Block Win Rate 73% 6th

The offensive line has been one of the most elite run blocking units all year, but they took a big hit this past week. They’re now slightly above average in adjusted line yards and actual rushing yards, although they’re still highly ranked in run block win rate. The loss of Terence Steele has definitely been felt, and not having Tyler Biadasz for this regular-season finale won’t be much better.

That said, the line is taking small steps forward in pass protection, as their pass block win rate has gradually improved over the last few weeks. Tyron Smith is starting to get comfortable at right tackle, and he didn’t allow a single pressure against Tennessee, the first time he’s done so this year.


Cowboys Defensive Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Defensive DVOA -14.0% 2nd
Pass Defense DVOA -15.7% 5th
Run Defense DVOA -12.6% 3rd
Pass Rush Win Rate 52% 1st
Run Stop Win Rate 28% 24th

It’s clear that the defense has fallen off a bit since the loss of Anthony Brown, but Nahshon Wright’s presence has helped stabilize things a bit. While the Cowboys are no longer at the top of the DVOA chart, they’re now one of just two defenses that can say they rank inside the top five in both pass defense DVOA and run defense DVOA. The 49ers are the other team.

The pass rush has picked up again, now leading the league in pass rush win rate. Micah Parsons is also back on top of the pass rush win rate leaderboard, and is still making a very good case for Defensive Player of the Year. Also of note: DeMarcus Lawrence now leads all EDGE players in run stop win rate after a very dominant performance against Tennessee.

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 85 55 64.7% 86.1 9.8 369 304
Anthony Brown 86 46 53.5% 90.7 11.8 412 177
Kelvin Joseph 18 12 66.7% 147.9 14.0 184 35
Nahshon Wright 25 15 60.0% 67.1 13.6 148 42
Jourdan Lewis 26 19 73.1% 74.2 6.2 51 119
DaRon Bland 61 44 72.1% 83.6 6.9 222 192
Jayron Kearse 40 27 67.5% 81.0 5.5 167 151
Malik Hooker 26 20 76.9% 95.0 8.8 145 75
Donovan Wilson 37 20 54.1% 72.6 9.9 96 70
Israel Mukuamu 10 7 70.0% 74.6 8.0 16 33
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 24 20 83.3% 101.4 4.3 74 126
Damone Clark 13 11 84.6 122.8 1.7 14 81

Kelvin Joseph’s time at cornerback is officially done, with Nahshon Wright emerging as a vastly more reliable option. For the record, the Cowboys have technically moved DaRon Bland up to that CB2 role, but Bland plays in the slot in nickel packages (which is the vast majority of plays) and Wright comes in to play that outside spot opposite Trevon Diggs.

Wright hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been significantly better than Joseph. His 67.1 passer rating allowed is actually the best of any Cowboys cornerback right now, and that’s with Wright seeing more targets than Joseph and just one less than Jourdan Lewis had through six games. Wright also had an opportunity to remind everyone why the Cowboys drafted him in the first place, as his exceptional size and length came in handy to secure an impressive interception against the Titans.

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