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Old 22nd January 2019   #1
linchao
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Five plays that shaped the Cowboys game against the Houston Texans Talk about heartbreaking. The Cowboys went into Houston with a chance to put themselves in front of Philadelphia in the NFC East. After the Eagles lost to the Vikings earlier in the day Womens Sean Lee Jersey , Dallas was gifted an opportunity to jump out to the front of the division early on, especially if the Redskins lose to the Saints on Monday Night Football. But Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt stood in their way, and in the end the Cowboys walked away with an overtime loss that dropped them to 2-3, squandering their opportunity. Truth be told, there were probably ten or fifteen plays that shaped this game, but here’s our best attempt at narrowing it down to just five. Dak gets picked off and stirs up the blame gameAfter limiting the Texans to a field goal to make it a 10-6 Houston lead, the Cowboys offense was stringing together a really nice drive. Ezekiel Elliott was gaining momentum and Dak Prescott was making plays with his feet and arm. After a questionable spot, the Cowboys drew up a QB sneak on fourth and one and converted, keeping the drive alive on Houston’s 39-yard line with under two minutes in the first half. On the very next play, Dak took a shotgun snap and had Tavon Austin in lax man coverage. He rightly targeted the speedy receiver and the play very well could have turned into six points. Instead, the pass was high and it ricocheted off Austin’s fingertips and into the defender’s hands. The pick killed all momentum for the Cowboys, who were hoping to at least make it a one-point game, and it also raised the question of who was more responsible for the turnover. Watch it again, and you be the judge: Jaylon Smith stops Deshaun Watson on fourth and goalAfter the interception, Deshaun Watson moved the Texans offense right down the field in a two-minute drill that seemed destined for a touchdown to take a 17-6 halftime lead. After Jeff Heath stopped Deandre Hopkins a yard short of the endzone on third down, Houston decided to go for it instead of taking the field goal. Watson took the shotgun snap and had nowhere to throw to, so he decided to use his legs. That’s when Jaylon Smith decided to prove how great he is: The stop was not only very impressive and a complete and total justification for drafting Smith in the first place, but it kept the Cowboys in the game. Giving up a touchdown would have made it a two score game with the Texans getting the ball in the second half, and doing so after a momentum-killing interception could have killed any chance of a comeback as well. Instead, it was a 10-6 score at half with some positive momentum for Dallas. Dak pulls a Tony Romo and hits Tavon for 44 yardsMuch later, in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Texans had just kicked a field goal to go up 16-13 and the Cowboys were trying to respond. Starting at their own 25-yard line, the Cowboys called a play-action pass for Prescott and when J.J. Watt came with the pressure, Dak did his best to one-up Tony Romo’s iconic spin move. After getting away from the pressure, Dak threw up a prayer to Tavon Austin and hit him for a huge completion: The play unfortunately didn’t serve as a spark for a touchdown, but it did put the Cowboys in position for a game-tying field goal, which they ended up hitting after the rest of the drive fizzled out. And after an otherwise rough outing, Prescott showed that he’s still capable of big plays. Pressure gets to Watson and Xavier Woods picks it off to force OTThe Texans got the ball back with under two minutes in the game and Watson was doing his best to move his offense into field goal range with a tie game. A big 18-yard pass to Keke Coutee to convert on third down set the Texans up on Dallas’ own 49-yard line. On the next play, DeMarcus Lawrence and a blitzing Jaylon Smith created pressure that nearly sacked Watson, but he tossed up a ball that overthrew his receiver and fell right into the hands of Xavier Woods. With only ten seconds left after the pick Womens Connor Williams Jersey , the Cowboys weren’t really given enough to try and win the game, but Woods’ interception defeated any efforts by Houston to win the game, giving the Cowboys one last shot to win in overtime. Cowboys opt to punt on fourth and one in OTThe Cowboys got the ball first in overtime and started moving the ball and picking up steam. On third and one at Houston’s 42-yard line, Zeke got the handoff and was stuffed for no gain after a blitzing Zach Cunningham came in unblocked. Faced with a fourth and one around midfield in Houston territory, many fans were calling for them to go for it. After all, the Cowboys had done something similar with success in the first half. But instead, Jason Garrett opted to punt it away. Chris Jones pinned the ball at the 10-yard line, but the Texans still drove down the field to kick a game-winning field goal. Naturally, Garrett has since taken a lot of heat for the decision, and even Jerry Jones was critical. Given how well the defense had played thus far, it makes sense to have faith in the defense, but there’s also something to be said for taking risks and trusting the league leading rusher and Great Wall of Dallas.Cowboys Poll: How many games must Jason Garrett win to keep his job? Things have not been going the Cowboys’ way this year, and that’s not just a knee-jerk reaction to the last games.No, things have been out of kilter for one reason or another since Week 1. In fact, things have been out of kilter since the Atlanta game in Week 10 last year. How much out of kilter? Just look at these stats over the last 13 games:Points scored: 211 (NFL rank: 31st)Pass attempts: 376 (30th)Passing Yards per Attempt: 5.91 (29th)Offensive Passer Rating: 73.9 (27th)And if things remain the same as they’ve been for those 13 games, the team will be lucky to finish this year with an 8-8 record. The Pythagorean Formula (for more details, go here) was developed to measure overall team strength on the hypothesis that a team’s true strength could be measured more accurately by looking at points scored and points allowed, rather than by looking at wins and losses. The interesting thing about the formula, at least for our purposes today, is you can calculate a projected season win total after every single game. Which is exactly what I did with the cumulative points differentials after each game: Obviously, the results here get more robust with every additional data point. After some wild swings in the first two game, the win projection has settled in at around six to seven wins since. And this far into the season, the data is robust enough to suggest that the Cowboys are not suddenly going to go on a six-game win streak.Another method to calculate projected wins is via passer rating differential (PRD). We know that PRD is one of the stats most closely linked to winning in the NFL. And PRD can be plugged into a very simple formula to predict win totals in the NFL. The PRD formula (Projected Wins = PRD*0.16+8) has shown a fairly close correlation with the Cowboys’ actual wins over the last decade or so, but has been oddly off the last few years: Overall, the PRD formula generates a mean average error of 1.9 games over the last four seasons, which isn’t great, and is off significantly more in the last two years. This suggests that unlike previous years, the performance in the passing game for the Cowboys is not as big a determinant in their W/L loss as in the previous year.Coincidentally, with the arrival of Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas and the departure of Tony Romo in 2016, the Cowboys became a much more run-oriented team Youth Byron Jones Jersey , so I figured that I had to find a way to account for the running game in the PRD formula. So I played around withe the data a bit came up with a modified PRD Formula that includes a team’s rushing yards differential (RYD) as follows: Projected Wins = (PRD + RYD/50) * 0.16 + 8.In statistics, the relationship between two variables is called a correlation, and the strength of that correlation is measured by the “correlation coefficient”. This coefficient (r虏) is expressed as a number between 1 and -1. The closer the r虏 number is to 1 or -1, the stronger the relationship between the two variables. The closer it is to zero, the weaker the relationship. I ran the original PRD formula against the 2017 regular season results for all 32 teams, and r虏 between Passer Rating Differential (PRD) and wins in 2017 was 0.62. Not bad, but not great either. Rushing yards differential for 2017 was a decidedly unimpressive 0.17, which is one reason why so many stat heads poo-poo the running game and suggest teams need to pass more. But after a little tinkering, something interesting happened. The modified PRD, which now includes rushing yards differential, came back with an r虏 of 0.77 which is one of the strongest correlations you’ll find outside of points differential. Here’s a graph that illustrates the correlation between the modified PRD formula and wins for all 32 NFL teams in 2017:In terms of Mean Average Error, the original PRD Formula was off by 1.6 games on average in 2017, the modified PRD reduced that 1.3 games. And once applied to the last few Cowboys season, the modified PRD also delivered much better results: With the modified PRD, the mean average error for the Cowboys improved from 1.9 to a very impressive 0.9 wins. So what does the modified PRD project as the final record for the 2-3 Cowboys? With a PRD after five games of -22.5 and a RYD of +200, the formula projects 5.5 wins for the Cowboys this year.So the Pythagorean Formula has the 2018 Cowboys at 6.6 wins, the modified PRD sees them at 5.5 wins (both projections already factor in the Cowboys’ two wins). The modified PRD tells basically the same story as the Pythagorean formula, even if the projected win totals are a little lower. Want more projection? Fivethirtyeight.com has the Cowboys at 7.5 wins. Football Outsiders project the Cowboys for 7.4 wins.Looks like the 2018 Cowboys are likely headed to a six- or seven-win season, with eight wins as a clear ceiling. Which brings us to the titular question of this post. How many games must Jason Garrett win to keep his job?Many fans would like to fire Garrett regardless of his record this year, but that’s not the way the Cowboys operate, as Tom Ryle pointed out the end of last season: Jason Garrett is in his ninth season as a head coach with the Cowboys, and has had plenty of time to mold the team to his wishes. Yet all he has to show for it is one playoff win, a 65-59 career record, and another season that that looks to be his fifth non-winning season. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the ineptness of the father-son duo playing GM. Yet those two will be the final arbiters of Garrett’s fate, and as Tom points out, they might wimp out at firing Garret just as Garrett wimped out on the 4th-and-1 in Houston.No such wimping in Vegas, where Garrett is now listed as the mostly likely head coach to be fired first.And Jerry Jones wasn’t too happy about his coach on Sunday either. RJ Ochoa pointed out that Jones publicly contradicting Garrett’s decision to punt doesn’t bode well for the coach. So how many wins will it take for Jerry Jones to hang on to Garrett for yet another season?Give your answer in the attached poll or in the comments section below. Custom San Francisco 49ers Jerseys
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