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News: NFC East Season Preview: Advanced stats tells of coming battle for supremacy

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Qcard, Aug 15, 2020.

  1. Qcard

    Qcard Well-Known Member

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    By Dan Morse Cowboyswire/USA Today

    The NFC East was the only division without a 10-win team in 2019, and one of just two divisions (along with the AFC South) without a 12-win team. Two of the group picked in the top-4 in the 2020 NFL Draft. Overall, it was a year without any great teams, a year without any playoff success, and overall simply a year to forget.

    What should be expected from the division in 2020?

    Looking at the underlying numbers, one might find some very different interpretations of how these teams performed, despite their win-loss records. A peek at the 2019 numbers reveals some clues as to what is coming.

    Quick note; we will be using a stat called Expected Points Added (EPA) fairly heavily from here on out. Expected Points, the foundation of many analytical arguments, uses data from previous NFL seasons to determine how many points a team is likely to come away with on a given play based on down, distance, time remaining, and field position. The difference in expected points at the start of a play and expected points at the end is referred to as expected points added, or EPA.

    A play with a positive EPA means it put the offense in a better position to score, while negative EPA implies the offense is in a worse position.


    The Washington Football Team and the New York Giants are down in the bottom left with the rest of the teams that picked in the top-10 in the draft. There’s the Eagles right in the middle, a somewhat average team by EPA on both offense and defense. And there’s the Cowboys over on the right, sitting beside the Super Bowl winning Kansas City Chiefs.

    Wait, what? The 8-8 Cowboys that didn’t even win the division?

    That’s right.

    Over the course of the entire season, the Cowboys consistently were able move themselves into a better position to score. The knock you’ll often hear is they played really well when they either already had a big lead or when they were already losing big. And we can check that by filtering this same chart down to only plays where they had a win probability between 20% and 80%.


    This does seem to check out, as the Cowboys are now hiding behind the Titans, Texans, and Seahawks, a few tiers below the top teams like the Chiefs. The Eagles also look worse under this constraint, particularly on defense. Meanwhile, Washington and New York are looking about the same

    We can also visualize this by looking at, say, Dak Prescott’s performance (as measured by EPA/play) at each given win probability. This really illustrates that the Cowboys were fantastic when games weren’t close, but below average when the score was tight.

  2. JoeKing

    JoeKing Diehard Zone Supporter

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    I'm sure the same can be said for many teams but the Dallas Cowboys are a completely different team in 2020, they have been overhauled and made a much better team. They are now far from that 8-8 team of 2019. The 2019 version of the Cowboys are a poor measuring stick for what the team is in the present.
    BourbonBalz likes this.
  3. cowboyec

    cowboyec Well-Known Member

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  4. Hawkeye0202

    Hawkeye0202 Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure we can trust the normalcy of any expectation this season coz of CV-19's impact from week to week, players in and out of the lineup.
    Bobhaze likes this.
  5. Bobhaze

    Bobhaze Well-Known Member

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    I can only imagine how erratic the 2020 season may be. The graphs described above may look even crazier this year. Many NFL writers and prognosticators base their “expertise” on patterns of predictability, which in 2020 will probably be way less predictable. This could be a year where the season is only 10 games, and a very unlikely champion is crowned. I don’t have any idea though, lol!
  6. Hawkeye0202

    Hawkeye0202 Well-Known Member

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    +1 ......think about Chiefs missing Mahomes for 2 games or Brees from the Saints, or playing the Packers w/o Rogers. IF there's any good from players missing games is they SHOULD BE safe the remainder of the season.
    Bobhaze likes this.
  7. daboyzruleperiod

    daboyzruleperiod ♡☆

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    "And there’s the Cowboys over on the right, sitting beside the Super Bowl winning Kansas City Chiefs.[​IMG]Wait, what? The 8-8 Cowboys that didn’t even win the division?"

    That’s right."
    Qcard, 817Gill and Bobhaze like this.
  8. Williamsboys

    Williamsboys Well-Known Member

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    "The NFC East was the only division without a 10 win team in 2019 and one of two divisions without a 12 win team"..Well, if the first part of this comment is true of course the second part also has to be true..I mean Really Now.
    Qcard and 817Gill like this.
  9. jazzcat22

    jazzcat22 Well-Known Member

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    Dallas had Garrett, Philly had Wentz.
    Garrett is gone, they still have Wentz.

    Dallas takes the division with at least 10 wins. :D

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