The Dallas Cowboys offense is even better than you think

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a catch in the third quarter of the game against Jarrad Davis #40 of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a catch in the third quarter of the game against Jarrad Davis #40 of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys offense isn’t just better than most fans realize but it has the ability to be even better than it already is. That’s big news for the NFL’s top ranked offense.

Dallas Cowboys fans are pretty well aware their favorite team’s offense ranks tops in the league. Averaging 432 yards per game, the Dallas Cowboys are being credited with the best offense in the NFL. Does that mean they really do have the best offense in the NFL or is it just another bad stat?

Today we’ll look at some of the numbers and separate those bad counting stats from the lesser-used but more respected advanced stats. From that we’ll discover the Cowboys aren’t just better than many Cowboys critics think, but they’re actually underachieving and have the ability to be great…

The Numbers

The 2019 Dallas Cowboys are resetting the bar in multiple statistical categories: Dak Prescott is about to break 4,000 yards, Ezekiel Elliott is about to pass 1,000 on the ground, yards and Amari Cooper is about to pass the 1,000 yard mark receiving. The fact all of this may happen in the same week, speaks to the dominance and balance of this still-underrated attack.

Traditionally the NFL ranks offenses by yards per game. I don’t have to tell you, my faithful readers, how misleading and often pointless, cumulative totals can be. It seems we’ve spent years explaining not all yards are created equal and that something like 100-yard rushing games, 400-yard passing games, Time of Possession, and passer rating have little effect on winning. Because the reality is, winning is what affects those numbers, not the other way around.

Some Good Stats

When we look at advanced stats, that apply context to performance, we can see more of the real story. While no stat is flawless, there are some that standout as superior when compared to the mindless, yet oft used, popular stats we see all over TV.

DVOA (Defense-adjusted over value average) is a stat by Football Outsiders that measures success based on down and distance as well as opponent. It then measures it against league average.  It’s been one of the most well-regarded measurements and has held up to intense scrutiny for years.

As we can see, The Dallas Cowboys are in the top-5 in both passing AND rushing. There’s no reason for Dallas to be 6-6 right now.

Quarterback rating, which is far too often confused with passer rating, is a scale of 0-100 (where 50 represents an average QB). It’s more than just a smarter scale, but it applies context to a situation and looks at opponent, field position, and overall game circumstances (amongst others). Expected points added (EPA) is similar in that it uses the context mentioned above and it also grades the success of a play based on historical stats and probability.

As you can see on the chart above, Dak Prescott is fourth in the NFL in EPA/play right now. Eight out of the top nine players listed are currently front-runners for playoff spots. With a 72.9 score, Dak is third in the NFL in total QBR.

Everywhere you look you can see the Dallas Cowboys are at or near the top in the league. One key item holding them back is Dallas’ red zone inefficiency. As discussed yesterday, Dallas is in the bottom half of the league in red zone touchdown percentage and matched with their poor field goal percentage, they leave a lot of points on the board.

Cowboys red zone problems: Passing is an issue. light. Related Story

Last season, the Dallas defense was their saving grace. While the offense floundered early, the defense kept the team alive. When the offense started to produce, the defense took the next step, bordering on dominant (see also: New Orleans 2018).

If there were any concerns heading into the 2019 season it was that the offense couldn’t live up to their billing – certainly no one questioned the defense. But in a strange twist of fate the Dallas Cowboys defense and Dallas Cowboys offense swapped spots this season. It’s the offense carrying the team, not the defense. The crazy thing is, while the offense is great, it could even be better.

Next. Cowboys must continue play-action, even when behind. dark

We know the Dallas Cowboys offense is good, but they have the ability to be great. Sadly red zone problems, poor kicking, and a disappointing defense are causing many to overlook how good this offensive unit (and the players on it) really is.

  • Published on 12/05/2019 at 13:35 PM
  • Last updated at 12/05/2019 at 13:35 PM