The Dallas Cowboys are in a rough slump. After getting off to one of the hottest starts in recent team history with a 3-0 record, their momentum has swung as they’ve lost two straight games. To make matters worse, both losses have come against the only two winning teams they’ve faced all season. The narrative that the Cowboys can only win against losing teams is one of the most popular among football fans and it isn’t going away until they’re able to prove otherwise.
It doesn’t help that they were outscored in New Orleans versus a Drew Brees-less offense that failed to score a single touchdown. Even less helpful is the fact that Dak Prescott threw three interceptions as the Cowboys fell – once again – to the Green Bay Packers in Dallas. Simply put, it’s been a bad couple of weeks for the Dallas Cowboys.
However, let’s take a deep breath and take a realistic look at where the 2019 Cowboys stand. Despite the frustration Cowboys Nation has gone through over the past two weeks, it’s not even mid-season yet. The Cowboys have a winning record at 3-2 and remain one of the better teams in the conference.
And whether you want to believe it or not, their offense is among the league’s best.
Sure, it’s hard to get over the three times they turned the ball over last Sunday. It’s not an easy job to forget the fact that the Cowboys were losing 17-0 at halftime in a game in which they were favored.
Let’s take a look at the facts, though. This unit has been efficient. Based on offensive DVOA (which evaluates how efficient an offense is compared to the rest of the league considering similar situations and rivals), the Cowboys rank #1 through the first five weeks of the season. While they’re not likely to remain the league’s best in this category for the rest of the year, it’s a pretty strong indicator of how well Kellen Moore’s offense has been of moving the chains and marching down the field.
In fact, they’ve been so efficient that this third down stat has them atop the league, as well.
Lowest percentage of offensive snaps as 3rd down attempts: 1. Dallas (15.8%) 2. Kansas City (17.1%) 3. Baltimore (17.4%) 4. Atlanta (17.8%) 5. San Francisco (18.0%)
While many are concerned about how any team fares on third down (often referred to as “the money down”) how often does the team have to play on third down is just as revealing, if not more.
The Cowboys are the team with the lowest third down attempts in the entire NFL. This speaks volumes to what the Cowboys have done on first and second down. Dak Prescott, by the way, leads the NFL in yards per attempt with 9.4. Amari Cooper has dealt with a few key drops, but has played outstanding football otherwise. His route running is nothing short of elite. Michael Gallup has also been playing at a great level for a second-year receiver despite losing some playing time due to injury.
Last but not least, let’s talk about Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys running back’s yards total versus Green Bay might not look attractive. 62 yards might not be satisfactory for plenty of Zeke fans out there, but take into account that he actually averaged over five yards per carry. The Cowboys had to abandon the run early in the game as they began trailing. Game situations matter so much. Elliott isn’t playing bad football at all.
As the Cowboys prepare themselves to face a winless New York Jets team, expect them to bounce back. Dallas’ offense is very good but has had a rough couple of games. This is a good chance to have a “get right” game. The upcoming stretch will be tough for the Cowboys, but they have a chance to position themselves as one of the league’s best if they take advantage of it.