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Did the Cowboys get unlucky in 2012?

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Did the Cowboys get unlucky in 2012? Yes and no. They were obviously very unlucky with injuries, and their expected improved health in 2013 is the primary reason I’m semi-high on them heading into the season. But in terms of how they played given who was on the field, they weren’t unlucky at all, as I explained at Dallas Morning News.

Below, I compared each team’s record to their EPA-based expectation.

The teams are listed according to how many wins they posted above what they should have had. The teams at the top were the luckiest in the league, winning more games than you’d expect given their offensive and defensive performances. They can generally be expected to have a worse record in 2013. The teams at the bottom were unlucky, and with better luck, their records should mostly improve given the same level of play.

You can see that the Cowboys’ win expectation was 7.1 based on their EPA. That makes them one of the luckier teams from last season (based only on how they played). Of course, Dallas was also quite unlucky to suffer so many injuries, and EPA doesn’t capture that. The stats also don’t account for changes in personnel or the fact that the same players just might play better or worse this season than they did in 2012.

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