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2023 Cowboys analytics roundup: Where Dallas stands after statement win over Eagles

The Cowboys are doing very well for themselves as far as advanced analytics are concerned.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Cowboys issued a major statement on Sunday night, beating the Eagles soundly to the tune of 33-13 and, in the process, moving into first place in the NFC East. They still don’t control their own destiny, of course, but the Cowboys announced themselves as contenders after finally getting a win over a team with a winning record.

How much stock does this win actually carry, though? Most Cowboys writers have been arguing that this team is good despite their easy schedule thus far, but does the win over the Eagles dramatically change that? Let’s take a look at the analytics.

Cowboys Efficiency at a Glance

DVOA DVOA Rank DVOA Rank Previous Rank Weighted DVOA Weighted DVOA Rank
DVOA DVOA Rank DVOA Rank Previous Rank Weighted DVOA Weighted DVOA Rank
Offense 12.3% 6th 8th 16.3% 6th
Defense -9.5% 5th 7th -8.5% 6th
Special Teams 2.6% 8th 9th 3.2% 5th
Overall 24.4% 4th 5th 28.0% 3rd

The Cowboys did move up a spot in total team DVOA standings, now sitting in fourth place. They’re just 0.1% behind the Chiefs, though, and the Cowboys’ weighted DVOA - which places more emphasis on how a team is playing right now, as opposed to the whole season - has them comfortably in third place.

Not only was this the Cowboys’ first win over a team that currently has a winning record, but it was their first win over a team that is top 10 in DVOA. In fact, the only other win over a team with even a positive DVOA grade was the Chargers, who sit at 1.5% right now. Each of the Cowboys’ next three opponents are immediately ahead of the Eagles in total DVOA. This stretch of games will reveal a lot about this team.

2023 NFL Team Tiers, Weeks 1-14, courtesy of

The EPA-based team tiers more or less line up with the DVOA rankings. Only the 49ers are ahead of Dallas, but the Ravens (who are second in DVOA, behind San Francisco) are pretty close in total EPA/play. Additionally, the Cowboys’ upcoming opponents all loom as worthy challengers, though the Cowboys still present as the more efficient team.


Cowboys Offensive Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Offensive DVOA 12.3% 6th
Pass DVOA 30.7% 5th
Run DVOA -4.6% 16th
EPA/Play 0.128 2nd
EPA/Dropback 0.231 2nd
EPA/Rush -0.042 9th

It was a tail of two halves for the Cowboys offense this week. In the first half, they averaged a ridiculous 0.363 EPA/play, but the second half saw them post a -0.324 EPA/play. Granted, the majority of that is driven by the fumble that was returned for a touchdown, but even when discounting turnovers, the Cowboys averaged -0.095 EPA/play.

Of course, that was largely because the Cowboys were operating with a large lead for the entire second half. On the whole, we can see that this offense is still playing at a very high level, and they moved up two spots in DVOA this week. In fact, this offense is coming very close to eclipsing the defense as the more efficient unit.

Dak Prescott’s Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
QBR 74.6 2nd
EPA/play 0.254 2nd
CPOE 3.8 7th
DVOA 24.8% 3rd
DYAR 1163 3rd

Dak Prescott is all alone at the top of the MVP odds listing, and deservedly so. He had a fairly average game on Sunday, for his standards, and still finished seventh in EPA/play and third in success rate for the week. Nobody is playing at a higher level than Prescott right now, and the league is finally taking notice.

Let’s talk about CPOE, or completion percentage over expected. You’ll notice it’s the only category where Prescott isn’t in the top three. One of the weaknesses of the CPOE metric, and a reason why it’s not the end-all, be-all metric for quarterback performance, is that it doesn’t account for dropped passes. To that point, Prescott currently has the second-most dropped passes this year, which makes it all the more impressive that he’s fourth in completion rate.

Cowboys Offensive Line Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Pressure Rate 15.0% 3rd
Adjusted Sack Rate 6.8% 14th
Blown Block Rate 2.42% 8th
Pass Block Win Rate 57% 16th
Run Block Win Rate 72% 7th
Adjusted Line Yards 4.33 9th

The offensive line wasn’t perfect, but they played considerably better than they did in the first game against the Eagles. Prescott was sacked three times, though only two of those were charged to the offensive line. They also allowed 11 total pressures, which is just one fewer than the amount allowed by Terence Steele in the first game. For the record, Steele gave up just four pressures in this game.

The run blocking has continued to see gradual improvement, which has coincided with the gradual increase in rushing efficiency. Over the last three weeks in particular, the Cowboys have posted a 17.9% rushing DVOA, which would rank third in the league if extrapolated over the full season. That positive trend could come in handy this week in a cold weather game in Buffalo.


Cowboys Defensive Efficiency

Grade Rank
Grade Rank
Defensive DVOA -9.5% 5th
Pass Defense DVOA -4.9% 6th
Run Defense DVOA -15.7% 6th
Pass Rush Win Rate 61% 1st
Run Stop Win Rate 29% 25th
EPA/Play -0.112 3rd
EPA/Dropback Allowed -0.092 3rd
EPA/Rush Allowed -0.146 7th

That’s more like it. The Cowboys defense performed poorly against the Seahawks, not forcing a single punt all game. In their first game against the Eagles, the defense forced just two punts in the first three quarters before tightening up in the fourth.

Consider it a massive improvement that Dallas didn’t allow a single touchdown in this one, the first defense to do so against Philadelphia all year long. They also recovered all three of the Eagles’ fumbles, which was poetic justice after the Eagles recovered three of their own fumbles in the first game. When the Cowboys play like this on both offense and defense at the same time, they’re capable of beating anyone.

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 8 2 25.0% 1.0 15.9 6 20
Stephon Gilmore 71 38 53.5% 82.8 11.1 322 173
DaRon Bland 74 40 54.1% 50.2 11.2 337 181
Jourdan Lewis 53 38 71.7% 117.3 8.4 269 196
Jayron Kearse 28 23 82.1% 89.9 8.6 169 87
Malik Hooker 10 8 80.0% 118.8 9.8 76 84
Donovan Wilson 18 14 77.8% 132.4 5.2 38 86
Juanyeh Thomas 11 7 63.6% 107.0 3.5 5 52
Leighton Vander Esch 7 5 71.4% 87.2 0.4 -1 44
Markquese Bell 34 25 73.5% 90.0 1.0 3 214
Damone Clark 25 20 80.0% 87.8 0.7 -11 138

Credit is due to Dan Quinn for making a coverage adjustment in this game. After two straight weeks of DaRon Bland getting thrown at a lot and struggling, Quinn did something he rarely does: asked Stephon Gilmore to shadow A.J. Brown. Gilmore didn’t completely shut Brown down, but he kept him from making any big plays and even punched the ball out for one of the defense’s three takeaways.

As for Bland, the change in coverage helped limit his exposure to just four targets, with three of them coming against DeVonta Smith. It’s unlikely that Quinn will make this a permanent part of the scheme moving forward, but it might be a helpful tool against upcoming receivers like Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill.

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