Why the Cowboys are lucky to be 7-6
At Dallas News, I broke down the Cowboys’ win probability in each game this season.
To show just how lucky Dallas has been (in regards to their win total, not necessarily other aspects of the team, such as injuries), let’s take a look at their low points in each of their seven wins using Advanced NFL Stats’ win probability graphs. Below, I’ve listed the Cowboys’ lowest win probability in each victory.
Low Points in Cowboys’ Victories
- @NYG: 29 percent
- TB: 26 percent
- @CAR: 32 percent
- @PHI: 17 percent
- CLE: 7 percent
- PHI: 13 percent
- @CIN: 11 percent
Average Low Point: 19.3 percent
The highest the Cowboys’ “low” can be in a win is obviously 50 percent—their theoretical odds of winning to start any game. Nonetheless, it’s amazing just how big of underdogs the ‘Boys have been even in their wins this year. On average, they’ve been 4-to-1 underdogs in their seven victories!
The team’s biggest comeback came in their Week 11 win over the Cleveland Browns.
At one point in the middle of the third quarter, the Cowboys had just a seven percent chance of beating the Browns. Their odds were 11 percent as late as with 57 seconds remaining in the contest.
In comparison, let’s take a look at the low points for the Cowboys’ opponents in the six games the ‘Boys have lost:
Low Points for Opponents in Cowboys’ Losses
- @SEA: 50 percent
- CHI: 42 percent
- @BAL: 20 percent
- NYG: 40 percent
- @ATL: 23 percent
- WSH: 30 percent
Average Low Point: 34.2 percent
Incredibly, the Cowboys owned worse than a 60 percent chance of winning at all points in the Seattle, Chicago, and second New York games this year. In the Cowboys’ losses, their opponents have averaged a low point of just 34.2 percent—nearly twice as high as the Cowboys’ average low point in their seven wins, i.e. Dallas has gotten creamed in many of their losses but has barely edged their opponents in their wins.
The Cowboys’ biggest collapse came in Week 9 in Atlanta, although it wasn’t even much of a comeback for the Falcons. With a 3-0 lead and possession of the ball midway through the first quarter, Dallas had a 77 percent chance of taking down Atlanta. Again, that situation—a three-point lead less than 15 minutes into the game—is the best situation they’ve found themselves in during any loss in all of 2012.
Check it out at DMN.