The DC Times

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

By Jonathan Bales

Who needs offensive balance?

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At Dallas News, I did what I do best: refute the merits of offensive balance.

Let’s look at the league-wide rates. Using the helps of Statspass, I charted the average wins for the top 10 teams in first half run rate, first half pass rate, first half rushing efficiency, and first half passing efficiency.

In 2012, the 10 teams that ran the ball the most often in the first half generated an average 7.9 wins—below the 8.2 wins for the 10 most pass-heavy teams. The 10 teams that rushed the ball most efficiently in the first half were solid with a mean of 8.8 wins, but that still wasn’t as good as the most effective passing teams, who checked in with an average of nearly a full win more (9.6).

We know that the NFL is a passing league, and we know that, for most teams, passing early wins games. The Cowboys own one of the league’s most effective passing games, but one of the worst running games. Whether Bill Callahan is calling the plays or not, the only reasonable argument for Dallas to maintain any sort of offensive balance is simply to optimize the efficiency of the passing game—the part of the offense by which the Cowboys will again live or die in 2013.

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