2009 Season

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Relative Value Rankings After Week 9

Once again, the Cowboys had a number of heroes in the team’s 20-16 win over
the Eagles on Sunday. Not many big moves up or down, though the likes of Kevin
Ogletree and Victor Butler made some huge plays.

Please take a moment to fill out the poll at the bottom of the post.

53. Allen Rossum, KR

Last week: 53

Poll rating: 1.54

vs. Philadelphia: Inactive due to injury.

52. Duke Preston, C

Last week: 52

Poll rating: 1.60

vs. Philadelphia: Inactive. He has not been active all season. Even with
Gurode’s injury, it does not appear that Preston is going to see action this
season.

51. Pat McQuistan, T

Last week: 51

Poll rating: 1.68

vs. Philadelphia: Inactive. He has not been active all season.

50. Montrae Holland, G

Last week: 50

Poll rating: 1.77

vs. Philadelphia: Inactive. He has not been active all season.

49. Stephen McGee, QB

Last week: 49

Poll rating: 1.75

vs. Philadelphia: Third quarterback. He has not seen action all season.

48. Michael Hamlin, S

Last week: 48

Poll rating: 1.81

vs. Philadelphia: Inactive. He has not been active all season. With the play
of Pat Watkins and Alan Ball on special teams, it does not seem likely that
Hamlin will play any time soon.

47. Jason Williams, LB

Last week: 45

Poll rating: 1.96

vs. Philadelphia: Inactive. He has not been active since the Kansas City
game.

46. Steve Octavien, LB

Last week: 44

Poll rating: 2.02

vs. Philadelphia: Inactive. This is the first time all season that Octavien
has not been active for a game.

45. Cory Procter, C/G

Last week: 46

Poll rating: 1.90

vs. Philadelphia: Proctor filled in briefly for an injured Andre Gurode
against the Eagles.

44. Doug Free, T

Last week: 43

Poll rating: 2.16

vs. Philadelphia: Reserve lineman. Nothing to note.

43. Curtis Johnson, LB

Last week: 47

Poll rating: 1.75

vs. Philadelphia: Johnson was active for the game against the Eagles and
recorded a tackle on special teams.

42. Jon Kitna, QB

Last week: 42

Poll rating: 2.00

vs. Philadelphia: Backup quarterback. He still hasn’t seen action, though it
common to see Romo consulting with Kitna on the sideline.

41. Junior Siavii, DT

Last week: 38

Poll rating: 2.47

vs. Philadelphia: Siavii played but did not record a tackle. He nearly made a
good play in the second quarter when he jumped into the backfiled, but he
completely missed a tackle on LeSean McCoy.

40. Jason Hatcher, DE

Last week: 37

Poll rating: 2.69

vs. Philadelphia: Hatcher recorded one tackle against the Eagles.

39. John Phillips, TE

Last week: 41

Poll rating: 2.12

vs. Philadelphia: Third tight end. Phillips frequently fills in at fullback,
and there is no apparent drop off compared with Deon Anderson.

38. Stephen Bowen, DE

Last week: 34

Poll rating: 2.64

vs. Philadelphia: Bowen recorded one tackle, but it was significant. With the
Eagles facing a 3rd and 4 from the Dallas 31, Bowen crashed and brought down
LeSean McCoy for just a one-yard gain. It forced the Eagles to settle for a
field goal.

37. Alan Ball, CB

Last week: 36

Poll rating: 2.73

vs. Philadelphia: Ball was near the ball on several special teams plays, but
he did not record a tackle.

36. Victor Butler, LB

Last week: 39

Poll rating: 2.54

vs. Philadelphia: Butler made a clutch tackle when he tripped up Donovan
McNabb on a third down play late in the game. You get the feeling that Butler’s
stock is going to jump through the roof.

35. L.P. Ladouceur, LS

Last week: 35

Poll rating: 3.10

vs. Philadelphia: Solid snapping yet again.

34. Pat Watkins, S

Last week: 33

Poll rating: 2.94

vs. Philadelphia: Watkins recorded one tackle on special teams.

33. Kevin Ogletree, WR

Last week: 40

Poll rating: 2.70

vs. Philadelphia: Ogletree touched the ball three times against the Eagles
and showed quite a burst on all three plays. His six-yard run on a reverse,
followed by a 21-yard reception on a WR screen, helped to set up the Cowboys’
first touchdown. Ogletree also gave the Cowboys a first down deep in Eagle
territory late in the first half on another screen, though the Cowboys had to
settle for a field goal.

32. Deon Anderson, FB

Last week: 32

Poll rating: 2.88

vs. Philadelphia: Anderson’s holding penalty in the first quarter wiped out a
10-yard run by Tashard Choice. Anderson was replaced by John Phillips on the
next play. To his credit, though, Anderson made one of the blocks that allowed
Choice to score later in the drive. Anderson was finally the target of one of
Tony Romo’s passes, but Romo overthrew Anderson on a dump-off pass.

31. Sam Hurd, WR

Last week: 28

Poll rating: 3.31

vs. Philadelphia: After catching a touchdown pass against Seattle, Hurd was
never targeted as a receiver and did not record a tackle on special teams.

30. Bobby Carpenter, LB

Last week: 31

Poll rating: 2.92

vs. Philadelphia: Carpenter recorded two tackles against the Eagles. He is
doing a good job as a nickel linebacker and has started making plays pretty
regularly.

29. David Buehler, K

Last week: 29

Poll rating: 4.00

vs. Philadelphia: Buehler was not able to put the ball in the end zone, but
he recorded two tackles on kickoffs.

28. Martellus Bennett, TE

Last week: 25

Poll rating: 3.06

vs. Philadelphia: Bennett was the target of two passes, including a screen,
but he did not catch a pass.

27. Anthony Spencer, LB

Last week: 27

Poll rating: 3.29

vs. Philadelphia: Spencer recorded two tackles, but Almost Anthony missed an
opportunity to bring Donovan McNabb down on a 2nd-and-4 play that resulted in a
45-yard gain for LeSean McCoy. The Eagles took the lead after scoring at the end
of the drive. Spencer was hurt later in the game.

26. Nick Folk, K

Last week: 24

Poll rating: 3.62

vs. Philadelphia: Folk made both of his field goal attempts.

25. Orlando Scandrick, CB

Last week: 23

Poll rating: 3.54

vs. Philadelphia: Scandrick was part of a strong effort by the Dallas
secondary, but he did not record at tackle or a pass defense. He had good
coverage on Jason Avant on a play in the second quarter, but Scandrick was
unable to get his hand up quickly enough to knock the pass down.

24. Ken Hamlin, S

Last week: 26

Poll rating: 3.27

vs. Philadelphia: I did not see Hamlin miss any tackles, but he received
credit for only one tackle against Philadelphia (and that was thanks to Hamlin
touching a play who was already down). On another play, Hamlin tackled Leonard
Weaver short of a first down on a third-and-long play, but the entire play was
called back due to a Philadelphia penalty.

23. Roy Williams, WR

Last week: 30

Poll rating: 2.39

vs. Philadelphia: Williams was involved early, catching a 21-yard pass on a
3rd-and-8 play on the opening drive. Williams was targeted eight times and
caught five passes for 75 yards. That’s a little bit more like what the team
would like to see from him.

22. Igor Olshansky, DE

Last week: 22

Poll rating: 3.38

vs. Philadelphia: Olshansky recorded two tackles against the Eagles.

21. Marc Colombo, T

Last week: 20

Poll rating: 3.94

vs. Philadelphia: Two false start penalties did not help Colombo. Juqua
Parker recorded a sack on Dallas’ opening possession, and Columbo was standing
near the play without blocking anyone. To his credit, though, Colombo made a
great block on a WR screen to Ogletree late in the first half.

20. Marcus Spears, DE

Last week: 17

Poll rating: 3.60

vs. Philadelphia: Spears recorded two tackles against the Eagles.

19. Tashard Choice, RB

Last week: 21

Poll rating: 3.60

vs. Philadelphia: Choice carries three times for 13 yards and a touchdown. He
lined up in the Razorback, the Cowboys’ version of the Wildcat.

18. Felix Jones, RB

Last week: 18

Poll rating: 3.73

vs. Philadelphia: Jones had 10 rushing yards against the Eagles. There is
some sentiment that Choice right now has surpassed Jones, at least until Jones
can get on track. I’ll give it one more week.

17. Flozell Adams, T

Last week: 16

Poll rating: 3.91

vs. Philadelphia: Once again, no penalties. This streak of no
penalties in the past three games is nearly as impressive as Romo’s previous
streak of three games without a pick.

16. Patrick Crayton, WR

Last week: 15

Poll rating: 4.02

vs. Philadelphia: Another big win, another big play. Crayton’s 64-yard
reception set up the Cowboys’ field goal at the end of the first half.

15. Mat McBriar, P

Last week: 19

Poll rating: 4.15

vs. Philadelphia: I am tempted to move McBriar even higher. McBriar’s punting
was huge against the Eagles. He punted towards the sideline most of the game,
and his kicks had great hang time (see

here
). DeSean Jackson only managed one punt return for nine yards. Of
McBriar’s 35 punts, 20 have landed inside the 20.

14. Kyle Kosier, G

Last week: 10

Poll rating: 4.04

vs. Philadelphia: The Dallas rushing game has not been as dominant as it was
during the early part of the season, and the Eagles sacked Romo four times.
Kosier allowed one of those sacks when Jason Babin got to Romo in the second
quarter. That said, when Dallas needed to run the ball to kill the clock, Marion
Barber ran left.

13. Andre Gurode, C

Last week: 9

Poll rating: 4.11

vs. Philadelphia: Gurode was injured for part of the game.

12. Leonard Davis, G

Last week: 8

Poll rating: 4.12

vs. Philadelphia: Davis pulled to his left on the Cowboys’ first touchdown,
and his block allowed Tashard Choice to score easily.

11. Terence Newman, CB

Last week: 13

Poll rating: 4.07

vs. Philadelphia: Newman lined up over DeSean Jackson most of the game, and
Jackson managed only two receptions. Newman made a huge hit on tight end Brent
Celek. The hit was so hard, in fact, that I had to rewind the game to make sure
it wasn’t really Gerald Sensabaugh.

10. Mike Jenkins, CB

Last week: 12

Poll rating: 4.20

vs. Philadelphia: Jenkins recorded one of the Cowboys’ interceptions and
pretty much shut down Jeremy Maclin.

9. Gerald Sensabaugh, S

Last week: 14

Poll rating: 4.29

vs. Philadelphia: Even with a cast on his hand, Sensabaugh recorded an
interception. He led the team with six tackles as well.

8. Bradie James, LB

Last week: 6

Poll rating: 4.17

vs. Philadelphia: James recorded five tackles in another solid effort.

7. Keith Brooking, LB

Last week: 5

Poll rating: 4.58

vs. Philadelphia: Brooking recorded five tackles against the Eagles.

6. Jason Witten, TE

Last week: 7

Poll rating: 3.85

vs. Philadelphia: Witten’s numbers weren’t terribly impressive, as he caught
seven passes for only 43 yards. However, he caught a big third-down reception on
the Cowboys’ first scoring drive, and when the team needed three yards at the
end of the game, Romo went to Witten to get five. Witten also should have had a
touchdown near the end of the first half.

5. Marion Barber, RB

Last week: 11

Poll rating: 3.54

vs. Philadelphia: Barber’s yards were huge (50 rushing yards, 20 receiving
yards), but he made some vintage Marion Barber runs where he patiently found a
running lane and then hit that lane hard. His three runs at the end of the game
helped to

close the game
.

4. Miles Austin, WR

Last week: 2

Poll rating: 4.57

vs. Philadelphia: Another huge play for Austin, as he caught a 49-yard
touchdown pass that turned out to be the game winner.

3. DeMarcus Ware, LB

Last week: 3

Poll rating: 4.48

vs. Philadelphia: Ware didn’t record a sack, but he pressured McNabb on
several plays. He also had three tackles and an assist.

2. Jay Ratliff, NT
 
Last week: 4

Poll rating: 4.35

vs. Philadelphia: Ratliff was a monster, recording five tackles and two sacks
against the Eagles.

1. Tony Romo, QB
KL
Last week: 1

Poll rating: 4.49

vs. Philadelphia: Romo’s 88.7 passer rating wasn’t as impressive as his
previous three games, but when the team needed him, Romo came through. He threw
for 307 yards, marking the 20th game in which he has surpassed the 300-yard
mark.

 

Rate the Cowboys

Monday’s History: Marion Barber as the Team’s "Closer"

Marion Barber is frequently compared with the likes of Yankee closer Mariano
Rivera, and for good reason. Since Barber arrived in the league in 2005, he has
frequently been called upon to put games away for the Cowboys in the fourth
quarter. Some of these games were very tight, including the Cowboys’ 20-16 win
over the Eagles on Sunday. Others were blowout wins, where Barber was used to grind it out
to kill the clock.

Here’s a look at the games where Barber has been used as the team’s
“closer”:

Oct. 30, 2005: Dallas 34, Arizona 13

Filling in for an injured Julius Jones, Barber carried the ball 27 times for 127
yards in a 34-13 win over Arizona. With the Cowboys leading by at least two
touchdowns, Barber touched the ball 14 times in the fourth quarter.

Oct. 29, 2006: Dallas 35, Carolina 14

The Cowboys had a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter when safety Roy Williams
picked off a pass in Carolina territory. The Cowboys alternated between Barber
and Julius Jones, but it was Barber who found the end zone twice in the final
three minutes to put the game away for Dallas.

Nov. 12, 2006: Dallas 38, Arizona 10

Dallas dominated the Cardinals in Arizona, taking a 20-3 lead late in the third
quarter. In the final 17 minutes of the game, Barber touched the ball 10 times
and scored a short run to increase the lead to 27-3 early in the fourth quarter.

Nov. 23, 2006: Dallas 38, Tampa Bay 10

In another blowout, Dallas held a 35-10 lead in the third quarter. In the final
18:36, Barber ran the ball 11 times and helped to set up the final field goal.

Dec. 16, 2006: Dallas 38, Atlanta 28

The Cowboys had a narrow 31-28 lead at Atlanta when the Falcons punted with 8:58
remaining. Barber took over from there, catching one pass early in the drive and
then running six consecutive times. The sixth rush was a three-yard touchdown,
securing the Dallas win.

Sept. 9, 2007: Dallas 45, N.Y. Giants 35

In a wild season opener, Dallas took a 45-35 lead late in the game when Tony
Romo hit Sam Hurd on a 51-yard touchdown. The Giants punted the ball back to the
Cowboys with 2:08 remaining. From there, Barber ran the ball five straight
times, helping Dallas to run out the clock.

September 16, 2007: Dallas 37, Miami 20

The Dolphins would not give up in the second week of the 2007 season. After
cutting the lead to 30-20 with 3:26 remaining, the Dolphins tried an onside
kick. Dallas recovered, and on the next play, Barber raced 40 yards for the
final score of the game.

September 23, 2007: Dallas 34, Chicago 10

In another surprising blowout in 2007, Dallas held a 27-10 lead in the fourth
quarter and took the ball over with 8:53 remaining. Barber touched the ball
eight consecutive times on a 78-yard drive, which Barber capped off with a
one-yard touchdown run.

Oct. 21, 2007: Dallas 24, Minnesota 14

The Cowboys took a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. In the final eight
minutes of the game, Barber carried the ball 11 times, putting the game away.

Nov. 11, 2007: Dallas 31, N.Y. Giants 20

With Dallas leading 31-20 in the fourth quarter, Barber touched the ball eight
times, helping the Cowboys to a key win at the Meadowlands.

Nov. 22, 2007: Dallas 34, N.Y. Jets 3

In a blowout win, Barber touched the ball 11 times in the final 10:47 to help
the Cowboys run out the clock in a Thanksgiving Day win.

Nov. 29, 2007: Dallas 37, Green Bay 27

With the Cowboys holding on to a one-touchdown lead with 5:03 left, the Cowboys
turned to Barber. He carried the ball seven times for 26 yards to help set up a
field goal that iced the game for Dallas.

December 22, 2007: Dallas 20, Carolina 13

The Cowboys’ held a one-touchdown lead with about three minutes remaining.
Needing at least a first down, Barber came through with runs of 9 and 11 yards
to help secure the win for Dallas.

Sept. 15, 2008: Dallas 41, Philadelphia 37

Barber did not put the game away against the Eagles in the second week of the
2008 season, but his one-yard touchdown run was the game winner in an early
season victory.

Oct. 5, 2008: Dallas 31, Cincinnati 22

With the Cowboys barely holding on to a 24-22 lead with 7:39 remaining, the
Cowboys turned to Barber, who gained 20 yards on the team’s final scoring drive
that put the Bengals away.

Nov. 16, 2008: Dallas 14, Washington 10

The Cowboys were holding on to a 14-10 lead over the Redskins when the Cowboys
stopped a Washington drive in Dallas territory. In his greatest effort as a
closer so far, Barber touched the ball 11 straight times. His last run on a
fourth-and-one play put the game away for the Cowboys.

Nov. 23, 2008: Dallas 35, San Francisco 22

With the Cowboys having trouble putting the 49ers away, Dallas turned to Barber
on two fourth quarter drives. He touched the ball eight times, helping the
secure the win.

Sept. 13, 2009: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21

The Cowboys had trouble putting the Buccaneers away in the opening game of the
2009 season. On a late scoring drive, highlighted by a 44-yard pass play from
Romo to Patrick Crayton, Barber ran the ball four times and scored from six
yards out, helping the Cowboys to a win.

Nov. 8, 2009: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16

The Eagles cut the Dallas led to 20-16 with 4:27 remaining in a key NFC East
game on Sunday night. With the Cowboys needing first downs, Dallas gave ball to
Barber, who gained 23 yards on three consecutive carries. Since the Eagles were
out of timeouts, a third down conversion on a pass from Romo to Jason Witten put
the game away.

Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16: Cowboys Get Crucial Win

Even with the Eagles targeting him all game, Miles Austin still caught the game-winning touchdown.

Even with the Eagles targeting him all game, Miles Austin still caught the game-winning touchdown.

With just over eight minutes remaining in the Cowboys’ Sunday night game
against the Eagles and the score tied 13-13, Dallas faced a 3rd-and-14. A
penalty hurt the Dallas drive earlier, as a holding call on Andre Gurode cost
the Cowboys an eight-yard run by Marion Barber. On the next play, Barber lost
four more yards, but Dallas was able to gain 10 back to set up the third down.

At that point, Miles Austin had been the target of three passes but had not
caught a pass. That changed on the third down play, when Tony Romo gave a good
pump fake and Austin streaked behind the coverage. The 49-yard touchdown gave
Dallas  a 20-13 lead with 8:04 remaining.

This put the game in the hands of the previously maligned Dallas defense,
which had faltered in close games early in the season. The Eagles moved the ball
to the Dallas 33 with 5:29 left, and it looked like the Dallas offense would
have to score again to win the game. But the defense held. Pass attempts from
Donovan McNabb to Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy went incomplete, setting up a
third down play. The Cowboys generated a pass rush, forcing McNabb to roll to
his right. It appeared that McNabb might break away for a long gain, but rookie
Victor Butler managed to trip McNabb and record the sack. The Eagles settled for
a field goal, cutting the Dallas lead to 20-16 with 4:27 left.

A year ago, the Cowboys played a huge divisional foe on the road at
Washington in November. Dallas held on to a four-point lead when the Cowboys
took possession of the ball, and Marion Barber touched the ball 11 straight
times to seal the win for Dallas. On Sunday night, it did not take 11 touches,
but Barber came through with three tough runs. With just over two minutes
remaining, Romo hit Jason Witten on a short pass to give Dallas the first down.
The play effectively sealed the game for the Cowboys, who knelt down three times
to end it.

A Gerald Sensabaugh interception early in the first quarter helped to set up
the Cowboys first score. His pick gave the Cowboys the ball at the Philadelphia
37, and on the eighth play of the drive, Romo hit rookie Kevin Ogletree on a
21-yard screen pass down to the Eagle 2. The Cowboys then ran the wildcat
formation, and Tashard Choice managed to score from two yards out.

The Eagles cut the score to 7-6 on two field goals, but the Cowboys moved
into scoring range late in the first half when Patrick Crayton ran a seam route
and split the secondary for a 64-yard gain. On a 3rd-and-goal play, Romo missed
a wide open Jason Witten, and the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal and a
10-6 halftime lead.

Philadelphia quickly took the lead in the second half. Although Ellis Hobbs’
kickoff return for an apparent touchdown was called back, the Eagles moved the
ball 77 yards on six plays and scored on a TD pass from McNabb to Celek.

Dallas moved into Philadelphia territory on the next drive, but Romo threw
his first interception in four games. The teams then exchanged possessions
before cornerback Mike Jenkins picked off a McNabb pass. The Eagles were also
called for a facemask penalty, giving Dallas the ball at the Philadelphia 42. A
22-yard pass from Romo to Roy Williams helped to move the ball deep into Eagle
territory, but the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal to tie the game at 13.

The Eagles moved the ball near midfield on the next possession. After gaining
nine yards on a first down play, the Eagles attempted to run the ball three
straight times up the middle. Dallas stopped all three, and when the spot of the
ball withstood a challenge after the fourth down play, Dallas took over. From there, the Cowboys moved into
Philadelphia territory, setting up Austin’s touchdown.

Williams was targeted on eight passes. He caught five of those passes for 75
yards. Witten caught seven passes but only gained 43 yards. Ogletree had two
receptions for 38 yards along with a six-yard rush. The Cowboys only managed 76
rushing yards, with Barber gaining 50 on 12 carries.

Eagles are Narrow Favorites Over Cowboys

Most commentators at the

Dallas Morning News
and ESPN have
predicted a Philadelphia win against Dallas, and the simulations this week are
consistent with that view. My guess is a little bit different, as explained at
the bottom of this post.

Accuscore:
Philadelphia 27, Dallas 25

The Cowboys are minor underdogs according to Accuscore’s simulations this
week. The Eagles won 55% of those simulations, though the Cowboys’ chances
improve significantly if Tony Romo does not throw an interception or if the
Dallas defense can get to Donovan McNabb.

On paper these are two very similar teams with dynamic, young WRs and hot
QBs. The Cowboys have the edge in the running game and if Dallas averages
over 5 ypc the Cowboys are the 63 percent favorite. However, if the Eagles
hold the Cowboys to under 4 ypc Philadelphia is the heavy 70 percent
favorite. Donovan McNabb is projected to have an excellent game with 2 TDs
and 250 yards passing. If Dallas can do what the Giants could not do which
is sack McNabb 4 or more times Dallas is favored winning 56 percent of these
simulations.



WhatIfSports
: Philadelphia 28, Dallas 26

The result in WhatIfSports’ simulations were very similar to those of
Accuscore. Interestingly, Miles Austin outperformed DeSean Jackson in the
simulations, though McNabb generally outperformed Romo.


Madden Simulation
: Philadelphia 24, Dallas 21

ESPN’s simulation of the game also resulted in a narrow Philadelphia win.

The battle for first place in the NFC East comes down to the final
seconds as Tony Romo loses a fumble inside the red zone and the Eagles
recover with time running out to hold onto the 24-21 win.

Donovan McNabb had a monster game for Philadelphia, throwing for 388
yards and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson that
proved to be the game-winner.

The Eagles actually led the game 24-14 with two minutes left on the
clock, but after Marion Barber scored on a 1-yard dive, the Cowboys got the
ball back thanks to a successful onside kick before ultimately fumbling away
the game.

My Guess (5-2 based on win-loss)

I got about as lucky as any fool could get last week. Here was my prediction:

I think Seattle will move the ball at little bit on Dallas, but in the
end, the Cowboys have too many weapons that the Seahawks have to shut down.
After Dallas takes a 14-10 lead in the first half, the Cowboys break away
and pull out the win.

Dallas indeed had a 14-10 halftime lead last week, though the Cowboys
increased this to 21-10 by halftime. And the Cowboys pulled away in the second
half to win 38-17. My prediction was 31-17.

That’s twice this year I nearly
predicted the score. Given my track record, it won’t likely happen again this
year.

 

Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24
(actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)

Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas
14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)

Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21
(actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)

Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14
(actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)

Week 5: Dallas 31, Kansas City
14 (actual: Dallas 26, Kansas City 20)

Week 7: Atlanta 28, Dallas 17
(actual: Dallas 37, Atlanta 21)

Week 8: Dallas 31, Seattle 17
(actual Dallas 38, Seattle 17)

 

I am not drinking the Cowboys
kool-aid just yet, but I think the Cowboys will overcome a shaky first half and
storm back in the second half. Dallas will use all three running backs on
offense, and the Dallas defense will make some adjustments to hold Philadelphia
in check. Final score:

personalized greetings

Dallas 23, Philadelphia 17

Cowboys' Special Teams Garnering All Sorts of Attention

At the conclusion of last season’s 44-6 loss at Philadelphia, the first order
of business for the Cowboys was to

fire special teams coordinator Bruce Read
, who had failed miserably in his
two seasons with the club. In his place, the Cowboys hired longtime coach Joe
DeCamillis, who has done wonders for all of the special teams units.

This hasn’t been lost on the press by any means. Consider these articles from
the past few days:

Coach Transforms Underachieving Unit (ESPN Dallas)

“Special” Does Have Special Meaning for Dallas Cowboys (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Don’t Tell DeCamillis Special Teams Have Been Turned Around (Dallas Morning News)

Under The Gun: Cowboys Getting Stellar Play From Gutsy Gunner Spot (DallasCowboys.com).

The play of the coverage units has been cause for excitement, especially given
how much trouble the Cowboys have had in the recent past in terms of giving up
long kickoff and punt returns. Five players have at least four special teams
tackles during the first seven games, and these players are worth mentioning:

Alan Ball: 7 tackles, 2 assists
Sam Hurd: 5 tackles, 3 assists
Pat Watkins: 4 tackles, 2 assists
Victor Butler: 4 tackles
Bobby Carpenter: 4 tackles

Thanks to DeSean Jackson, the Eagles currently rank third in the league with a
13.6-yard average per return. On the other hand, Philadelphia only ranks 28th in
kickoff returns, averaging 20.3 yards per return.

Dallas ranks second in punt returns with a 14.3-yard average. However, the
Cowboys are also tied for the league lead in fumbles on punt returns with four.
As for kickoff returns, Dallas ranks 20th with a 22.1-yard average. The Cowboys’
longest kickoff return of the season was 38 yards.
 

McBriar is Quietly Having a Career Year

In 2006, Mat McBriar blew everyone away with his 48.2-yard average. He
followed that up in 2007 with an equally impressive 47.1-yard average.

After suffering a season-ending leg injury in 2008, McBriar has returned with
an average of "only" 46.4 yards per kick. But that only tells part of the story.
His net average has increased to 41.7 yards per punt, which is the best in his
career. Consider these numbers:

2004: 42.4 average; 35.1 net yards per punt

2005: 42.5 average; 37.1 net yards per punt

2006: 48.2 average; 38.6 net yards per punt

2007: 47.1 average; 38.5 net yards per punt

2008: 49.0 average; 38.8 net yards per punt

2009: 46.4 average; 41.7 net yards per punt

On top of that stat, McBriar has also downed 17 of his 30 punts (56.6%)
inside the opponent 20. He ranks third in the league in total punts downed
inside the 20. No other punter has placed a higher percentage of punts inside
the 20, though. In fact, the only other punter who has placed more than half of
his punts inside the 20 is Cleveland’s Dave Zastudil, who has downed 25 of 49
punts.

McBriar’s best season in terms of punts inside the 20 was 2005, when he had
28 of these punts. At his current rate this season, he will finish with about
39.

Consider this: McBriar’s replacement last season was Sam Paulescu, who averaged just 41.8 yards per punt with a net average of 35.2 yards per punt. In fact, in the ten games in which he appeared last season, Paulescu had a net average of more than 40 yards in only one game.

Relative Value Rankings After Week 8

Very few players on the Cowboys have had bad
games in the last couple of weeks, so though there were a number of heroes
against Seattle, not all of these heroes improved in terms of the rankings.

Those on the rise: Terence Newman, Gerald
Sensabaugh

Those falling a bit: Marion Barber, Jason
Witten, Roy Williams

We had 52 people fill out the

poll
for

last week’s list
. Please take a moment to fill out this week’s poll at the
bottom of this post.

53. Allen Rossum, KR

Last week: 50

Poll rating: 1.16

vs. Seattle: Did not play due to injury. Given his grand total of one kickoff
return before that injury and the lowest rating in last week’s poll, he gets the
#53 spot this week.

52. Duke Preston, C

Last week: 53

Poll rating: 1.29

vs. Seattle: Did not play. Preston has not been active all season.

51. Pat McQuistan, T

Last week: 52

Poll rating: 1.35

vs. Seattle: Did not play. McQuistan has not been active all season.

50. Montrae Holland, G

Last week: 51

Poll rating: 1.38

vs. Seattle: Did not play. Holland has not been active all season.

49. Stephen McGee, QB

Last week: 49

Poll rating: 1.42

vs. Seattle: Third quarterback.

48. Michael Hamlin, S

Last week: 48

Poll rating: 1.42

vs. Seattle: Hamlin still has not made the active roster this season, though
he is apparently back from injury.

47. Curtis Johnson, LB

Last week: 47

Poll rating: 1.31

vs. Seattle: Johnson remained inactive against Seattle.

46. Cory Procter, C/G

Last week: 45

Poll rating: 1.19

vs. Seattle: Procter has been on the active roster this season, but he barely
contributes. His 1.19 rating in last week’s poll ranked 52nd, lower than most of
the inactive players.

45. Jason Williams, LB

Last week: 44

Poll rating: 1.42

vs. Seattle: Williams still only has one tackle this season.

44. Steve Octavien, LB

Last week: 40

Poll rating: 1.82

vs. Seattle: Octavien played on special teams. He has recorded only one
tackle all season.

43. Doug Free, T

Last week: 43

Poll rating: 1.36

vs. Seattle: Free came into the game against Seattle to replace Flozell Adams
during cleanup time. As a general matter, he looked pretty solid in terms of run
blocking, though the Cowboys were not throwing the ball at that point.

42. Jon Kitna, QB

Last week: 41

Poll rating: 1.93

vs. Seattle: Kitna still has not seen action this season. Even with the
Cowboys leading big in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys left Tony Romo in the
game.

41. John Phillips, TE

Last week: 42

Poll rating: 1.88

vs. Seattle: Phillips caught a pass for zero yards, giving him his first
reception of the season. 

40. Kevin Ogletree, WR

Last week: 46

Poll rating: 1.46

vs. Seattle: Ogletree caught his first professional pass midway through the
fourth quarter, taking a short hitch pass and darting for a 19-yard gain.

39. Victor Butler, LB

Last week: 39

Poll rating: 1.96

vs. Seattle: Butler had a solid game on special teams, recording one tackle
and one assist. He made jarring tackle on Josh Wilson late in the first half. He also recovered a Nate Burleson fumble late in the game.

38. Junior Siavii, DT

Last week: 36

Poll rating: 2.69

vs. Seattle: Siavii did not record a tackle against the Seahawks.

37. Jason Hatcher, DE

Last week: 37

Poll rating: 2.36

vs. Seattle: Hatcher recorded two tackles and a quarterback hurry against the
Seahawks. He is a solid backup in the defensive-line rotation.

36. Alan Ball, CB

Last week: 35

Poll rating: 2.39

vs. Seattle: Ball had two assists on special teams. He and Pat Watkins
drilled Justin Forsett inside the 10 on the Cowboys’ first punt. This was the
first of several great special teams plays for Dallas.

35. L.P. Ladouceur, LS

Last week: 34

Poll rating: 3.55

vs. Seattle: Another game without a screw-up. Don’t know what else to write.
Hard to move Ladouceur too high on this list, but he quietly does his job.

34. Stephen Bowen, DE

Last week: 38

Poll rating: 2.38

vs. Seattle: Bowen recorded two tackles and an assist. He was also credited
for a pass defense when he knocked down a pass on a third down play early in the
game. The play forced Seattle to settle for a field goal.

33. Pat Watkins, S

Last week: 32

Poll rating: 2.47

vs. Seattle: Watkins recorded two assists on special teams. He is constantly
around the ball on returns.

32. Deon Anderson, FB

Last week: 27

Poll rating: 2.47

vs. Seattle: Anderson is a solid blocker, but Dallas also tends to use tight
ends in the fullback spot in some plays. Other players above him had more
notable games, so Anderson slipped a bit this week.

31. Bobby Carpenter, LB

Last week: 33

Poll rating: 2.63

vs. Seattle: Carpenter recorded his first sack since 2006. He also had three
tackles, an assist, and a QB hurry. Solid game.

30. Roy Williams, WR

Last week: 26

Poll rating: 1.82

vs. Seattle: Williams scored a touchdown against Seattle on one of his two
receptions. He was the target of seven passes, and though several of those were
not on the money, he hasn’t proven that he can catch anything that isn’t thrown
right at him. In fact, he drops passes thrown right at him, and he nearly
bobbled the pass that he caught for a touchdown.

The Fox sideline reporter noted that Williams was very hard on himself last
week. However, he also said that he thought the Cowboys could use him like the
Cardinals use Larry Fitzgerald. Huh?

 

29. David Buehler, K

Last week: 30

Poll rating: 3.79

vs. Seattle: Seven kickoffs, four touchbacks. He is also playing on the punt
coverage unit.

28. Sam Hurd, WR

Last week: 29

Poll rating: 1.79

vs. Seattle: Hurd scored a touchdown on a 36-yard pass play. He also recorded
three assists on special teams, including nice tackle on a punt return in the
third quarter. However, he was called for illegal block in the
back on a punt return. More than one person has commented that I have Hurd
ranked too high, but so I did not move him any higher this week. However, he had
a very good game.

27. Anthony Spencer, LB

Last week: 28

Poll rating: 2.79

vs. Seattle: Spencer is still getting close ("Almost Anthony") but
isn’t quite making the big plays. He was credited, though, with two quarterback
hurries against Seattle.

26. Ken Hamlin, S

Last week: 31

Poll rating: 2.42

vs. Seattle: Last week, I erred in referring to Hamlin as a strong safety.
Ranking him #31 last week was also a bit too harsh, but he has missed a bunch of
plays this season. He recorded three tackles and an assist against Seattle, and
I did not see him miss anything. He made a nice play breaking up a pass in the
third quarter.

25. Martellus Bennett, TE

Last week: 25

Poll rating: 3.12

vs. Seattle: Bennett caugth two passes for 18 yards, giving him nine
receptions on the season. He was also called for holding on a third-down play at
the end of the first quarter, negating what would have been a first down.

24. Nick Folk, K

Last week: 24

Poll rating: 4.29

vs. Seattle: Folk missed a 48-yard field goal in the second quarter, but he
was later successful on a 40-yarder.

23. Orlando Scandrick, CB

Last week: 23

Poll rating: 3.62

vs. Seattle: Scandrick recovered a fumble in the first quarter and recorded
two tackles. He was also credited with two pass defenses. Scandrick was the
defender on one of Seattle’s touchdown passes, but Matt Hasselbeck made a nearly
perfect pass to Deion Branch, and Branch made a great catch right over
Scandrick’s shoulder.

22. Igor Olshansky, DE

Last week: 19

Poll rating: 3.27

vs. Seattle: Olshansky had one tackle. His job is not likely to generate much
buzz, but it’s hard to see a big difference when others in the rotation replace
him.

21. Tashard Choice, RB

Last week: 16

Poll rating: 3.08

vs. Seattle: Choice deserves more touches, but at the moment, he is being
used mostly to block on third down. He did not touch the ball until late in the
game.

20. Marc Columbo, T

Last week: 18

Poll rating: 3.47

vs. Seattle: The running game against the Seahawks wasn’t great, but it
wasn’t bad. Columbo gave up a sack when linebacker David Hawthorne came on a
blitz. However, Patrick Kearney was not a factor.

19. Mat McBriar, P

Last week: 20

Poll rating: 3.87

vs. Seattle: Two of McBriar’s punts were downed inside the 20. Of his 30
punts this season, 17 have been downed inside the 20. That is effective punting.

18. Felix Jones, RB

Last week: 17

Poll rating: 3.05

vs. Seattle: Jones showed a little bit of his big-play ability by taking a
Tony Romo pass underneath and gaining 30 yards. Hard not to think, "Oh, Felix, just don’t
hurt yourself," though it turned out that Jones injured Ken Lucus by
running over Lucas at the end of the play. At some point, Jones is going to break a huge play.

17. Marcus Spears, DE

Last week: 14

Poll rating: 3.42

vs. Seattle: Spears had one tackle and one assist.

16. Flozell Adams, T

Last week: 15

Poll rating: 3.69

vs. Seattle: Surely Adams couldn’t have two consecutive games without a
penalty, could he? Yep. Romo was rarely pressured against the Seahawks. Doug
Free replaced Adams late in the game, but that is probably not a sign of
anything.

15. Patrick Crayton, WR

Last week: 13

Poll rating: 3.90

vs. Seattle: Crayton’s second punt return for a touchdown in as many games
put the game away. He also had three receptions for 39 yards, including a key
reception early in the second quarter on a 3rd-and-11 play. His reception set up
Marion Barber’s two-yard touchdown run. Of course, he also dropped a punt in the
third quarter, but he recovered it. He later fumbled a handoff on an end-around,
losing ten yards in the process.

14. Gerald Sensabaugh, S

Last week: 22

Poll rating: 3.92

vs. Seattle: Sensabaugh was constantly around the ball, and he recorded five
tackles. His form on tackles is probably the best on the team.

13. Terence Newman, CB

Last week: 21

Poll rating: 3.16

vs. Seattle: Newman made a huge play early in the game when he drilled Justin
Forsett and caused a fumble. Newman had six tackles and an assist, along with
two pass defenses. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was frustrated most of the game.

12. Mike Jenkins, CB

Last week: 12

Poll rating: 4.32

vs. Seattle: Jenkins continued to play like the team’s top corner, though the
Seahawks went after Newman and Scandrick more often than Jenkins. Jenkins made a
nice play on Nate Burleson on one of Seattle’s drives in the third quarter.

11. Marion Barber, RB

Last week: 7

Poll rating: 3.03

vs. Seattle: Barber rushed 14 times for 53 yards with a short touchdown. It
certainly wasn’t a bad game for Barber, but he is not making his trademark
bounce to the outside like he did earlier in the season.

10. Kyle Kosier, G

Last week: 9

Poll rating: 3.50

vs. Seattle: Kosier handled the rotation of Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole
pretty well, though the tandem finished with seven total tackles combined.

9. Andre Gurode, C

Last week: 10

Poll rating: 3.45

vs. Seattle: The Seahawks never made a push up the middle, which reflects
well on Gurode as well as Kosier and Davis. On a 3rd-and-10 play late in the
first half, Seattle brought five, running a couple of stunt in the interior. The
Dallas line completely smothered the pass rush, giving Tony Romo more than
enough time to find Miles Austin for a first-down reception. Two plays later,
Romo hit Williams for the Cowboys’ third touchdown of the game.

8. Leonard Davis, G

Last week: 11

Poll rating: 3.56

vs. Seattle: Davis had a solid game along with the other interior linemen.

Blogging the Boys
nominated Davis for a game ball, so at the least I could
put him above Kosier and Gurode. Davis’ best play game on Barber’s two-yard TD
run in the second quarter.

7. Jason Witten, TE

Last week: 5

Poll rating: 3.81

vs. Seattle: Witten had four receptions for 36 yards, which has become a
typical game for him. He is not a big option on third down (though he caught one
in the third quarter), and he dropped at
least one pass that he should have had. Witten has scored only one touchdown
this season.

6. Bradie James, LB

Last week: 8

Poll rating: 3.61

vs. Seattle: James had four tackles and five assists, along with a pass
defense in another solid game. He stripped Nate Burleson on a pass play late in the game, and Victor Butler recovered the fumble.

5. Keith Brooking, LB

Last week: 6

Poll rating: 4.00

vs. Seattle: Eight tackles, three assists, a sack, and a QB hurry. That’s a
good game for the leader of the Dallas defense.

4. Jay Ratliff, NT

Last week: 4

Poll rating: 4.36

vs. Seattle: Ratliff had a huge play early in the game when he stuffed Julius
Jones inside the Seattle 5. He was relatively quiet after that. He was called
for defensive holding early in the second half on a running play.

3. DeMarcus Ware, LB

Last week: 1

Poll rating: 4.78

vs. Seattle: Ware recorded yet another sack along with a QB pressure. His
recent play has not been as important as the play of Tony Romo or Miles Austin,
but he is heading up.

2. Miles Austin, WR

Last week: 3

Poll rating: 4.73

vs. Seattle: Austin was Romo’s target on the very first pass play of the game
He finished with five receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. Austin is very
clearly the #1 receiver and biggest offensive weapon for the Cowboys

1. Tony Romo, QB

Last week: 2

Poll rating: 4.62

vs. Seattle: Yes, the Cowboys would not be where they are without Austin, but
Romo’s play has been vital to the team’s three-game winning streak. He completed
passes to ten different receivers, and his 119.8 passer rating in the past three
games is amazing. Romo’s fumble in the fourth quarter was an ugly reminder of his play earlier in the season, but the positives far outweigh the negatives (and to be fair, Austin also fumbled on an end-around, though the Cowboys recovered that one).

New History: Three Games Without a Pick

Tony Romo has gone three games without an interception.

Tony Romo has gone three games without an interception.

After going three straight games without throwing an interception, Tony Romo
finds himself in some good company in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. In
eight previous seasons, a Dallas starting quarterback has gone three full games
without throwing an interception. The names include those you would expect: Don
Meredith, Craig Morton, Roger Staubach, and Troy Aikman.

Get this: the years during which Dallas QBs have accomplished this feat were
1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1977, 1991, 1993, and 1998. During those eight seasons,
the Cowboys made the playoffs eight times, won their division seven times,
reached the Super Bowl four times, and won the Super Bowl three times.

Romo’s passer rating during this three-game stretch has been 119.8. Very few
quarterbacks in team history have maintained a QB rating that high over three
games. Of those QBs who have gone three or more games without a pick, only Craig
Morton’s three-game total in 1969 resulted in a higher rating. Of course, Romo
has thrown 42 more passes during the last three games than Morton did in 1969.

Aikman (1993) and Staubach (1971) both had six-game stretches where they did
not throw an interception.

Here is the list in chronological order. Note that I excluded streaks that
stretched over more than one season or streaks where the starter was injured or
otherwise did not play for a significant portion of one or more games. Thus, I
excluded stretches were Danny White and Steve Pelleur did not throw
interceptions (in 1981 and 1987, respectively) because neither played in three
complete games consecutively during those years.

Name, Games w/o int., Weeks, Season: Total stats over relevant games (Comp.-Att.,
Yds., TD, Int., Rating)

Don Meredith, 3 Games, Weeks 11-13, 1966: 29-59, 289 yards, 2 TD, 0 Int.,
74.8 Rating.

Craig Morton, 3 Games, Weeks 3-5, 1969: 42-57, 747 yards, 7 TD, 0 Int., 155.2
Rating.

Craig Morton, 3 Games, Weeks 11-13, 1970: 32-55, 376 yards, 3 TD, 0 Int.,
97.2 Rating.

Roger Staubach, 6 Games, Weeks 8-13, 1971: 77-137, 1102 yards, 9 TD, 0 Int.,
104.3 Rating.

Roger Staubach, 5 Games, Weeks 4-8, 1977: 78-133, 944 yards, 7 TD, 0 Int.,
81.0 Rating.

Troy Aikman, 3 Games, Weeks 4-6, 1991: 63-88, 714 yards, 2 TD, 0 Int., 103.1
Rating.

Troy Aikman, 6 Games, Weeks 3-8, 1993: 101-145, 1344 yards, 5 TD, 0 Int.,
110.2 Rating.

Troy Aikman, 3 Games, Weeks 8-10, 1998: 44-67, 540 yards, 4 TD, 0 Int., 110.3
Rating.

Tony Romo, 3 Games, Weeks 5-7, 2009: 62-99, 918 yards, 8 TD, 0 Int., 119.8
Rating.

Dallas 38, Seattle 17: Another Confidence Builder

Keith Brooking once again led a strong defensive effort. He recorded a sack along with 11 total tackles.

Keith Brooking once again led a strong defensive effort. He recorded a sack along with 11 total tackles.

On November 2, 2008, the Cowboys traveled to the Meadowlands to face the
World Champion New York Giants. Playing with backup quarterback Brad Johnson
(followed by Brooks Bollinger), the Cowboys suffered a 35-14 rout that ended a
disastrous four-game stretch during which the Cowboys could only manage a 1-3
record. Confidence level at that point was zero as the Cowboys sank to 5-4.

One calendar year later, and the Cowboys are in just a bit better position.
Playing with a healthy and confident Tony Romo, the Cowboys faced a Seattle team
that Dallas was supposed to beat, and the Cowboys’ 38-17 win improved their record to 5-2. In this win,
the Cowboys did what a good team should do: they put away an inferior team.

The early going against Seattle looked like it might be a rough first half.
The Seahawks drove from their own 6 to the Dallas 25, facing only two third
downs on a 14-play drive. Dallas finally halted the drive, forcing an Olindo
Mare field goal.

On the next possession, Romo started to heat up. He completed passes to Jason
Witten and Miles Austin, while runs by Austin and Marion Barber put the Cowboys
into Seattle territory. On a second down play, Romo found Sam Hurd on a short
crossing route, and when Hurd broke away from the nearest defender, he was gone
for a 36-yard touchdown reception.

On the next Seattle possession, Terence Newman forced a fumble by Justin
Forsett, and Orlando Scandrick recovered and returned the ball to the Seattle
30. Romo & Co. went to work, moving the ball down to the two, thanks in part to
a pass interference call on Seattle corner Marcus Trufant, which allowed the
Cowboys to convert a 3rd-and-8. With the ball at the two, Marion Barber walked
in for a touchdown to give Dallas a 14-3 lead.

Seattle continued to move the ball pretty effectively in the first half and
was able to cut the lead to 14-10 after a nine-play, 80-yard drive. Nick Folk
missed a field goal midway through the second quarter, but Dallas was able to
hold Seattle to a three-and-out on the next drive.

Dallas took over at its own 35 and started moving the ball again. Trufant was
once again helpful to the Cowboys’ cause, committing his second pass
interference penalty on a 3rd-and-9 from the Seattle 43, giving Dallas the ball
at the 20. A 16-yard pass to Miles Austin helped to set up a seven-yard
touchdown pass from Romo to Roy Williams, who managed to grab the ball with one
hand and move it across the goalline. The score gave Dallas a 21-10 lead at the
half.

The second half was pretty much all Dallas. Midway through the third quarter,
a 30-yard pass play from Romo to Felix Jones helped to set up a three-yard
touchdown pass to Austin, increasing the lead to 28-10. After holding Seattle to
a three-and-out, the Seahawks punted to Patrick Crayton, who has suddenly become
a special teams threat. Crayton returned the ball 82 yards for his second punt
return touchdown in two games.

Dallas managed a field goal to open the fourth quarter. Seattle scored once
more when Romo fumbled deep in Dallas territory with just over nine minutes left
to play, but by that time, the game was already over.

Romo completed 21 of 36 passes for 256 yards with three touchdowns and no
interceptions. It marked his third consecutive game without a pick, though he
did have the one turnover. Austin caught five passes for 61 yards with a
touchdown. Barber led running backs with 53 yards on 14 carries.

The Cowboys now have a most difficult test as they face the 5-2 Philadelphia
Eagles, who destroyed the New York Giants today in a 40-17 rout.

Simulations Heavily Favor Dallas Over Seattle

Not a single commentator with ESPN
or the

Dallas Morning News
took the Seahawks to beat the Cowboys, and only two
thought the Cowboys would fail to cover the 9 1/2 point spread.

As for the simulations, each of the three we generally cover predict a pretty
easy Dallas win. Here’s a look.

Accuscore:
Dallas 31, Seattle 18

According to Accuscore, the Cowboys are likely to have another big day on
offense against the Seahawks. In Accuscore’s simulations, Dallas won 82% of the
games.

The Cowboys offense is expected to have another strong game with a 58
percent chance of 400+ total yards and if they hit this level the Cowboys
have a 90 percent chance with an average score of DAL 35, SEA 18. However,
if the Seahawks can take away the running game and hold the Cowboys to under
100 rushing yards they improve their chances from 17 to nearly 30 percent.
If Seattle can also force at least 3 Cowboys turnovers they have a 42
percent chance. For Seattle to upset Dallas they need to stop the run, force
Cowboys turnovers and do not turn the ball over more than once. If they do
all 3 the Seahawks have a 52 percent chance.



WhatIfSports
: Dallas 30, Seattle 17

The results of WhatIfSports’ simulations were very similar to those of
Accuscore. Dallas won 81.7% of the simulations on WhatIfSports, as the Cowboys’
rushing attack averaged 180 yards in the games.


Madden Simulation
: Dallas 34, Seattle 24

Tony Romo’s fantasy owners (like my opponent this week) will love the results
in the real game if they are similar to the results of ESPN’s Madden simulation:

Tony Romo has another brilliant day passing, and more importantly, only
turns the ball over once, as Dallas takes out the Seahawks, 34-24.

Romo completed 27 of 42 passes for 353 yards and three scores in the win,
continuing his comeback after suffering through some tough, turnover-plagued
times earlier in the season.

With the loss, Seattle falls to 2-5 on the season, losing just about all
hope for the comeback year TJ and crew had hoped for.

My Guess (4-2 based on win-loss)

Not surprisingly, my predictions are getting worse. After nearly guessing the
actual score of the Dallas-Tampa Bay game, my scores really haven’t come close.
Here was last week’s predition:

This week, I don’t think the bye week will help the Cowboys. I tend to be
more optimistic when making these picks, but immediately after the Cowboys’
last win, I thought the team is set up for a letdown against a superior
Falcon team. It’s possible that Dallas could get on a November roll (as
usual) before having to face a tough December (again), but I don’ t think
the winning will start against the Falcons.

My guess for a final score was
Atlanta 28,
Dallas 17
. At the end of the first half, Dallas led 17-7. Atlanta scored on
its first drive of the second half to cut the score to 17-14. I could have been
correct had Dallas folded and Atlanta scored two more touchdowns, but
fortunately I was wrong.

Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24
(actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)

Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas
14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)

Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21
(actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)

Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14
(actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)

Week 5: Dallas 31, Kansas City
14 (actual: Dallas 26, Kansas City 20)

Week 6: Atlanta 28, Dallas 17
(actual: Dallas 37, Atlanta 21)

 

I made my guess this week before
looking at the simulations, and by some mere coincidence, I was close to
reaching the same conclusion. I think Seattle will move the ball at little bit
on Dallas, but in the end, the Cowboys have too many weapons that the Seahawks
have to shut down. After Dallas takes a 14-10 lead in the first half, the
Cowboys break away and pull out the win. Final score:

 

 

 

personalized greetings

 

Dallas 31, Seattle 17