Monday, September 23, 2013

Can Cowboys Beat Chargers? Yes, But Don't Bet On It.

Many a skeptical comment has been offered up toward the high throne of numerous indomitable statisticians of this world from the humble paradise of self-proclaimed realists.  Football, it has been argued, isn’t a game of numbers – such as completion percentage and rushing attempts – but rather a game defined by the almighty alphabet – as in Ws and Ls.
Personally, I’ve always wondered if the realists would care to define the amount of Ws and Ls in some measure that defies numerical process.  But that’s splitting straws, so I’m told, so I feel compelled to bring the conversation back to present reality in a fashion that pleases far more than one, and certainly not less than all.
So let’s talk some Cowboys football.
What about the Cowboys? you ask. Will they run their record to 3-1 for the first time in five years with a win over San Diego on Sunday?
Well, according to statistical analysis of previous games, it has been concluded that their hopes of getting away from the sleepy .500 doldrums that the patrons of Valley Ranch have so long loved are... [drum roll] ...next to nil.  Nada, as in zero.  Zero as in L.  L as in .500.  .500 as in Jerry World.
The 21st Century has been unkind to the Cowboys in a plethora of fashions, but particularly when it comes to winning a season’s fourth game.  For what it’s worth, in thirteen attempts since 2000, the Cowboys have managed a woeful 3-10 mark in the fourth contest of a season. 
The only wins during that span have come against woefully inferior opponents.  Dallas nipped the Kurt Warner-less Rams 13-10 in 2002 on a late Billy Cundiff field goal, manhandled Arizona a year later by a 24-7 score, and then annihilated a poor St. Louis club 35-7 in 2007.
The losses, while plentiful, have certainly not lacked for drama.  Included in the list is Terrell Owens’ dance on the star at Texas Stadium in 2000, and Tony Romo’s second-half collapse against the Lions in 2011.
Among the ten defeats is an 0-3 mark against AFC West opponents, which should attract attention considering the divisional locale of this week’s foe.
San Diego may not be a playoff team this year, but then again they might be.  Each of their three games has come down to the final seconds, and if not for a fourth quarter meltdown in the secondary against Tennessee, they would share an identical 2-1 record with Dallas.
Will the Cowboys get the W this weekend?
Just look at the numbers to find the likely letter.