It’s never felt so good to be 4-3. Despite being just one game above .500, the Cowboys own a one-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles after their 17-3 Week 7 win. With the ‘Boys keeping open the possibility of a season sweep of Philly in Week 17, there’s a good chance they can finish with the same record as the Eagles and still make the playoffs. So to say Sunday’s win was an important one is an understatement.
After watching the game live and then again on film, here are some of my thoughts. . .
- The Cowboys are really lucky to have such a quality pro personnel scouting department. They’ve really done an awesome job bringing in free agents with upside, and it starts with George Selvie. I discussed why Selvie might be special
in the preseason. With 1.5 sacks on Sunday, he’s on pace for 10.3 in 2013—just under the 12 sacks I projected
- Barry Church played another great game, finishing with five tackles and his first pick of the year. He’s been a favorite of mine for a couple years, and I projected him at 80 tackles
in the preseason. That seemed high to many at the time considering the safety never totaled more than 28 tackles in a season, but he’s on pace for 119.
- Even though Tony Romo threw for 317 yards, he didn’t play a great game. Throwing the ball 47 times, Romo averaged 6.75 YPA. If all we knew about this game before the start was that Romo would throw for under 7.0 YPA, we’d have to predict a Cowboys loss. The quarterback also threw two picks, although one was on a Hail Mary before halftime. To his credit, Romo led a critical fourth quarter drive to give the Cowboys a two-touchdown lead.
- It won’t get much publicity since the Cowboys’ defense played well enough that the game was never really in question, but Jason Garrett punted three times in the first quarter when he should have gone for it: a fourth-and-one at the Cowboys’ 43-yard line, a fourth-and-five at the Eagles’ 36-yard line, and a fourth-and-one at the Cowboys’ 39-yard line.
- Using the fourth down calculator at Advanced NFL Stats, we can use past game data to calculate how many expected points the Cowboys lost by being so risk-averse. In total, the ‘Boys lost 2.7 expected points and a 10 percent chance of winning the game by punting three times. That’s just one type of decision in one quarter. But yeah, the team is totally fine as one of the only ones in the NFL without any type of analytics department.
Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.
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