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Are the Dallas Cowboys Bullies or Elite Contenders?


The Dallas Cowboys have been the subject of a prevailing myth that suggests they possess a "bully element" due to their perceived dominance over weaker opponents while struggling against stronger teams. This narrative is rooted in the stark contrast between the margins of victory in games against lower-caliber teams versus those against more formidable opponents. However, a closer analysis reveals that this myth fails to capture the full picture of the Cowboys' performance and the capabilities of quarterback Dak Prescott.


Dallas' resounding victories over teams such as the Giants, Jets, Patriots, Panthers, and Commanders (twice) this season, winning by an average of 30.4 points in those matchups, have contributed to the perception that they excel at overpowering weaker opponents. In contrast, their performances against stronger teams, such as the 49ers, Eagles, Bills, and Lions, have not yielded similarly lopsided results, fueling the notion that the Cowboys may be less effective against elite competition.



However, it is essential to dispel this myth by examining the underlying statistics and performances. While it is true that Prescott has posted better numbers against teams with losing records, this trend is not unique to him. His Total QBR against such teams this season was 80.7, compared to 63.4 against teams with winning records. Nonetheless, even the latter QBR would still rank seventh in the league on its own, underscoring Prescott's consistent performance across different opponents.


It is worth noting that Prescott's touchdown passes were evenly distributed between games against sub-.500 and winning teams, with 19 touchdown passes in nine games against losing teams and 17 in eight games against winning teams. This balanced distribution challenges the notion that the Cowboys exclusively excel against weaker opponents while faltering against stronger competition.



Furthermore, when examining Prescott's performance against teams with winning records, his 66.4% completion percentage and 17 touchdown passes to six interceptions illustrate his effectiveness even in challenging matchups. These statistics underscore the fact that Prescott's success is not solely a product of facing weaker opponents; rather, it reflects his overall excellence as a quarterback throughout the season.


While it is natural for players to elevate their performance against weaker opponents, it is evident that Prescott's capabilities extend beyond merely capitalizing on favorable matchups. His consistent performance against teams with winning records and his overall statistical achievements throughout the season highlight the caliber of the season he has had. Therefore, the notion of the Cowboys possessing a "bully element" falls short in capturing the depth and versatility of their performance, as well as Prescott's prowess as a quarterback.



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