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A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants, Week 17: How Dallas Can Win the NFC East

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Jonathan Bales

In addition to my article for the Times on how Dallas can beat Cover 2 Man Under this weekend in the Meadowlands, I also did a piece for the Dallas Observer.  Head over there to check out my DOs and DON’Ts for Dallas. Along with more analysis of the coverage which irritated Dallas in Week 14, I add a full game plan for the ‘Boys.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Don’t blitz often.  Eli Manning’s passer rating against the blitz is very comparable to that when four or less defenders rush him, but the Cowboys do not have the talent in the secondary to deal with a blitz that fails.  The team should be in the business of playing aggressively while still allowing for a chance to win the game late, and yielding quick scores due to unsuccessful blitz attempts won’t help.
  • The ‘Boys should mimic the Giants’ Week 14 game plan by playing a lot of Cover 2 Man Under.  By keeping everything in front of them, the defense can maximize their chances of halting Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz and force either a tight end or a running back to beat them.  Although Brandon Jacobs wore down Dallas in the teams’ last meeting, Ahmad Bradshaw is the more likely of the two to give Dallas fits this week.
  • The Giants pass a lot out of double-tight formations, so the Cowboys cannot sell out to defend the run when they see the look.  The G-Men used a double-tight set 34 times in Week 14, so the ‘Boys better be ready for it.
  • The Cowboys, on the other hand, do tip their play calls via their formation, personnel package, or down-and-distance.  Jason Garrett could benefit from being a bit less predictable this week.  Garrett’s predictability could be utilized to get the ball downfield with play action. But since 2009, Dallas quarterbacks have thrown for 20-plus yards on only 8.7 percent of play-action passes. And in two-plus years of passes, Garrett has called a play-action pass only eight times with 1-4 yards-to-go for a first down — the situations when faking a run would actually work. Instead, he’s called for a play-action look on 11 plays with 20-plus yards-to-go, when showing a running play is either an obvious decoy or hopeless.

For additional analysis, head over to the Observer and leave your comments there.

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6 Responses to Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants, Week 17: How Dallas Can Win the NFC East

  1. Vince_Grey says:

    I do NOT have a good feeling about this game. The Giants (RE: Eli) seem to play great against us no matter what. That, along with no Murray and our bad defense leaves me cold on this one. Romo will have to play above and beyond even what he’s been doing lately, and maybe our defense gets a turnover or two, but… I just don’t know.

    Giants 31 Cowboys 27.

  2. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Key to the game: throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball. Leave the HB in for extra protection vs. the pass rush and let Austin, Bryant and Robinson get open. Throw the ball 50+ times.

    The Giants secondary is their achiles heel…

  3. Vince_Grey says:

    Yes, their secondary is poor, but their pass rush is strong and now we’re down another O-lineman (Holland). Passing so often could get Tony killed. Also, unless Romo is completing a very high percentage, it puts our defense back out on the field more often and that is not a good thing this year.

    What I’m hoping is that our running game somehow manages to get us 150 yards or more, allowing us to control the ball, the clock, and field position.

  4. Mont Seventeen says:

    Why do fans always wanna blame playcalling? When they run you guys say they should have passed, when they pass you guys say they should have run. How hard is that? Its back seat driving at best! Predictability has nothing to do with it, the great players study this game so much they know what teams run when, how and why. You ppl want a play caller is going to go away from his strength in the name of strategy… If you have a Emmitt Smith, why would you want to throw the ball when your by 14? But if you have a Felix Jones and its only week 6, yeah you might not want to tax him! Also, just bc you have an Emmitt Smith and your up by 14 doesn’t mean the other team is going to forfeit, that’s where the QB earns his paycheck by keeping the drive on schedule.

    Jason Garrett doesn’t have the tools you need as a playcaller to manipulate the game with his personnel… Look at the Packers O, they run ab 6 or 7 staple plays, g et better personnel and you don’t have to worry ab predictability.

    But to get better personnel, you need a better GM and we all know that’s not happening, so we are stuck debating meaningless nuances of the game!

    I feel sorry for you younger Cowboys fans… When Jimmy was here, it was ab who is getting cut this week bc we lost a game. Now its, who can we get to coach these idiots!

  5. Mont Seventeen says:

    A don’t we forgot but keeps rearing its ugly head… Don’t let Romo choke and hit the panic button early when he gets a lil pressure. Someone has to tell Romo that when you stop freaking out, they stop blitzing you! I think Romo has been through more offensive lineman than any QB in history, not only is Romo a coach killer he makes offensive linemen cringe.

    I have never seen a QB with his ability to ove freak out as much as Romo… Even when teams don’t blitz he panics. He actually had an intentional grounding and an illegal forward pass… not including a bobbled snap on the play of the game!

    Jerry has to draft a QB in the first round, if not this year he will be forced to do it next year!

    That’s the beauty of the NFL, when you have a GM that regularly mis judges talent, they are exposed on gameday!

    Now watch someone will bring up Romo’s stats… As if he put up numbers b4 the game was decided.

    Yeah howz his 3rd down conversion passing treating you? As if 21-0 isn’t enough evidence of Romo’s mental makeup.

  6. craig kocay says:

    Mont..

    The first post it is hard to discern what you are trying to say.
    Obviosly every team will play to their strengths.. but that shouldnt mean a team should ignore the numbers.

    “Predictability has nothing to do with it, the great players study this game so much they know what teams run when, how and why.” I just really don’t think this is at all true.

    I know JB (the author of this piece and website) has criticized the playcalling at times, but he backs up the error with numbers. While a football game is not like a coin where the probabilities are easy to see. They use a very large sample size on many of the numbers to illistrate when to “go for it” or not. In some recent games Garret has opted for the field goal when the numbers say go for it. That is bad play calling. The case is only made stronger when you take into account that ROMO has a GREAT 4th quater qb rating, and would likely give you better than average results if he played at his expected 4th quater level.

    On ROMO…
    http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/tag/_/name/2011-mvp-watch

    That says 9th most valuable player in the NFL written 5 days ago. CUT HIM? I think that would be a bit unwise. He is certainly not a top 10 player, but if denver, baltimore, or san fran could trade thier current qbs for him right now they sure would not hesitate..

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