Dallas Cowboys are the least lucky team in the NFC East

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

Whether we like to admit it or not, luck plays a major part in sports. “May the best team win,” we say, paying respect to the hard truth that the best team does NOT always win. The Dallas Cowboys know this lesson well, having been upset multiple times in the postseason (I’m looking at you Green Bay), despite often being the better team.

Throughout the course of a season, the cream typically rises to the top, but that doesn’t mean luck doesn’t play a role in an upset or two. Sports that are low scoring are more susceptible to lucky bounces than sports with high scores. That’s because the impact of a lucky play gets watered down when scores are more frequent.

Soccer and hockey are prone to upsets because one fluke play can completely tip the balance. Basketball is on the opposite end of the spectrum since scores are high and the impact of a “lucky shot” is reduced. Football and baseball reside in between.

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t been winning the “luck” battle like the Eagles, Commanders, and Giants have this season.

What’s defined as “luck” is certainly up for debate, but generally speaking we call dropped passes, dropped interceptions, kicks, and fumble recoveries as elements in which much luck is involved (Let’s avoid the whole penalty discussion today).

For instance: a WR with 100 receptions and two drops on the season is a pretty sure handed guy. If he drops an easy ball in the end zone on 4rd-and-10, it goes against all odds and constitutes a lucky play for the defense. It also has a tremendous impact on the game, given the situation I just outlined.

The important thing to consider is this: Just because a team is lucky today does not mean they’ll be lucky tomorrow. What tracking these lucky plays can do is tip you off as to how legitimate some wins are and how sustainable success may be in the future.

How do the Giants have a a winning record despite pedestrian play on both sides of the ball? A few factors go into that but being the luckiest team in the NFL certainly plays a part in their success.

How is a team as talented as Buffalo, NOT running away with the AFC’s No. 1 seed right now? As the second most unlucky team, the ball just isn’t bouncing their way.

Regression to the mean tells us things will even out as time goes on. Teams that are relying on luck right now will likely get exposed later and teams that are getting beat down by bad luck now, have a chance at turning things around in the future

The Dallas Cowboys, who are 13th ranked on the luck-o-meter, sit right in the middle of the league. This tells us they are about where they belong in the standings and luck isn’t playing a big part for them in either direction.

Does this indicate the Eagles aren’t good – they’re just lucky?

Nope. Doesn’t say that either. It just says that the other NFC East teams have seen fortune fall their way to a higher degree than Dallas, and that the Dallas Cowboys success appears to be more stable. Take that however you wish…

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Ideally, a team wants to be good AND lucky because that makes them the toughest to beat. Get out your rabbit’s feet Cowboys Nation because luck could very well play a part in the outcome of this season.