Cowboys beat the bad, but lose to the good

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Since Jason Garrett's first full season as head coach of the Cowboys in 2011 they are 20-20.

The Dallas Cowboys had another 4th quarter meltdown in week eight, allowing Matthew Stafford to score the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds left in the game. Stafford became the fourth quarterback to throw for 400 yards against the Cowboys this season, setting a new NFL record for most 400-yard passers allowed in a season. And there are eight games left.

But we shouldn’t be surprised that the Cowboys lost.

Cowboys by Opp End-of-Year Win%
Since 2011

Dallas is exactly .500 (20-20) since Jason Garrett’s first full season as head coach in 2011. During the last three seasons, no team in the NFL has a better record against teams that have finished with a sub-.500 winning percentage.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, 27 NFL teams have better winning percentages against teams that finished above .500.

This includes a “perfect” split this year: 4-0 vs teams currently below .500 (Giants, Rams, Redskins, Eagles), 0-4 vs teams currently .500 or better (Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos, Lions).

Now, it makes sense that most teams would have a better record against below .500 opponents than .500 or above opponents (obviously, that’s how those opponents get to be below/above .500), but the ranks above show a vast disparity, and so does the following.

Win Pct By Opp End-of-Year Win Pct
Biggest Differentials Since 2011

If you look at NFL teams’ win percentages vs “bad” and “good” teams, the average is about 68 percent against below .500 teams and 35 percent vs at/above .500 opponents – a difference of about 33 percent.

The Cowboys’ difference in win percentage between those 2 types of opponents is nearly 77 percent over the last 3 seasons, by far the biggest such differential in the league.

So good news for Dallas when they host the Vikings this Sunday, but bad news for when they head to New Orleans the following week.