Two improvement opportunities for the Dallas Cowboys
By Richard Ball
Offensive consistency has been an issue
Since 2016, the average score of an NFL game has been 28.2 points for the winner and 17.0 points for the loser. The league-wide data shows that 84.4 percent of the time when a team scores more than 28 points they win. The Cowboys are slightly better than the NFL average winning 90.5 percent of the time they score more than 28 points.
When the Cowboys hold the opponent to 17 points or less, they win 87.5 percent of the time which is marginally better than the league average of 85.1 percent. So it is easy to see that when Dallas scores four or more touchdowns or holds the opponent to three or fewer touchdowns they generally win.
What is hidden in these percentages is that the Dallas offense has had wide variability in their points scored. The team has averaged 23.7 points per game but their standard deviation is 10.3 points. The team has scored 17 points or less in 17 of the 55 games or 30.9 percent.
The New Orleans game this season is a good reminder that shows when the offense does not find a rhythm early the unit will struggle. In all three losses this season, Dallas was troubled by turnovers or penalties. The Packers game likely has a different outcome if wide receiver Amari Cooper catches the ball on the first offensive series instead of tipping it for an easy interception.
The Cowboys offense starts with their offensive line. It is important for this group to get a push especially on first down when the play calling reverts to ground and pound with a cloud of dust if the team is going to stay ahead of the chains. The Jets and Saints did a better job controlling the line of scrimmage which impacted the offensive rhythm and rendering play-action less effective.