Two improvement opportunities for the Dallas Cowboys
By Richard Ball
Turnovers are always a key
Dallas has lost 19 regular-season games since 2016. In 17 or 89.5 percent of those games, the Cowboys have lost the turnover battle. With the league average at 82.9 percent, America’s team plays to a bigger disadvantage when they turn the ball over.
In the Cowboys 36 regular-season victories, Dallas is below the league average with an 80.6 win rate when they win or tie the turnover battle. However, where Dallas shines is when they have two or more turnovers than the opponent with a 12-0 record including the dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles last week when America’s Team was plus-three in turnover differential.
2019 is different
The team relied on their defense more in Prescott’s first three years for victories. The narrative has changed in 2019. After ranking fifth in total offense per game in 2016, the Cowboys slid to 14th in 2017 and then 22nd in 2018 prompting a change in offensive coordinator.
The Cowboys currently rank first in the NFL with 437.6 yards per game which is the most in the league since the beginning of 2016. As most elite quarterbacks do, Prescott is blossoming in his fourth year which allows the Cowboys to lean on his arm and running back Ezekiel Elliott‘s legs for a more balanced attack.
The defense has continued to improve after ranking 14th in yards allowed in 2016, 8th in 2017, and 7th in 2018. The team currently boasts the fifth-ranked defense in 2019. Where the defense has struggled is generating turnovers with 70 turnovers since the 2016 season with a league average of 75.
The Cowboys have been very successful in the last four seasons with the fourth-most wins in the NFL. The keys for Dallas to continue to be successful are to generate more turnovers on defense to win the turnover battle and for the offense to score 24 or more points more consistently which would have turned 10 of their 17 losses into eight wins and two ties.