It is time to acknowledge the Cowboys defense as legit.
It is difficult to identify exactly where the Dallas Cowboys were most dominant during their win against the Atlanta Falcons. Struggling to figure it out is quite the luxurious problem to have. The Cowboys dominated Atlanta in every facet of the game and as a result are being looked at the way they were prior to the loss against the Denver Broncos – like one of the top teams in the National Football League.
It stands to reason that Dallas is going to be among the top teams in the NFC at season’s end and as to exactly where they will rank obviously remains to be seen. The path towards that point is looking friendlier and friendlier though based on how things stand at the current moment.
It is time to recognize the Dallas Cowboys defense as more than just average to pretty good
Each and every week here at BTB we take a look at how the Cowboys stack up through the lens of Offensive EPA/Play and Defensive EPA/Play Allowed. We also look at their remaining schedule through this same lens in an effort to see where they have advantages or disadvantages against their opponents.
This particular set of data obviously changes every week based on the round of games that most recently took place. As noted the Cowboys had their way with the Falcons and the resulting set of EPA data was extremely kind to them. Their road through the regular season does not exactly present many challenges.
We are comparing colors to colors here. A breakdown:
- The dotted grey line represents the stability of the Cowboys offense where the solid grey line represents the stability of opposing defenses. As you can see the solid grey line only breaks the dotted one (upwards) once against the Arizona Cardinals which is how we know that Dallas has the advantage for most of their remaining games at the present time.
- The dotted blue line represents the stability of the Cowboys defense where the solid blue line represents the stability of opposing offenses. Any time where the solid blue line is below the dotted blue line is where the Cowboys defense has an advantage which includes most of their remaining opponents.
As things stand at Week 11 the only two offenses that project to be difficult chores for this defense lie within Kansas City and Arizona. Philadelphia is sneaky in this sense as well.
By now we are all well-aware that this team has an elite offense, but we are far enough into the season. and have enough evidence. to say that they also have an elite defense (using “elite” somewhat contextually).
The Cowboys allowed a -.479 EPA/Play defensively against the Falcons which obviously goes a long way in their assessment entering the matchup against Kansas City. Dallas is the fourth-ranked defense in the NFL by this metric.
- Dallas Cowboys Offensive EPA/Play: .101
- Average Remaining Opponent Defensive EPA/Play Allowed: .038
- Dallas Cowboys Defensive EPA/Play Allowed: -.07 (negative is better)
- Average Remaining Opponent Offensive EPA/Play: .036
In no way are we minimizing the importance of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs as we all obviously want to win; however, it should be noted that between this week and the penultimate game of the regular season against the Cardinals that the Cowboys will be on easy street from an on-paper standpoint.
Let’s go ahead and win this week anyway, though.