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Bold Predictions Part 1: Myth Busting

Dec 16, 2005, 12:17 AM EDT

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Bold Predictions, Part 1: Myth Busting

There are a lot of myths floating around out there surrounding Sunday’s game. Since you can only break down a game if you’re looking at the facts, not at popular misconceptions, here are a few of those myths and where they fall apart:

Myth #1: The Cowboys dominated for the first 55 minutes the first time the two teams played.

The Facts: Dallas led just 3-0 after 30 minutes of play. At that time, they had gained 105 yards, 42 of them on their opening drive that resulted in a missed field goal. The Redskins had gained 84 yards. Certainly advantage Dallas, but nothing remotely resembling domination. Early in the third quarter, the statistical tide turned when the Cowboys scored on a trick play, the flea flicker with Bledsoe to Jones to Bledsoe to Glenn for a 70-yard touchdown. When the Redskins took possession with 5:58 to play following a Cowboy field goal to make it 13-0, Dallas had outgained the Redskins 282-178. A solid advantage, one that pretty well reflected the 13-0 score. That’s hardly anyone’s definition of domination, however, especially considering that a fourth of Dallas’ yards had come on one trick play.

Myth #2: The Redskins were lucky to win the last time the two teams played.

The Facts: Regardless of whatever supposed domination did or did not take place beforehand, I’m not exactly sure how you can say that the Brunell’s two touchdown passes to Moss were lucky or flukes or anything other than well-designed, well-executed football plays. The Redskins took advantage of the fact that safety Roy Williams isn’t very good in pass coverage. On its lone touchdown, Dallas took advantage of the fact that Sean Taylor likes to support against the run. Why to many the Redskins’ passes were somehow tainted and Dallas’ was just smart football I can’t figure out.

Myth #3: The Redskins won’t be able to run against the Dallas defense.

The Facts: The Cowboys went nuts in free agency and in the draft to try to shore up their defensive front seven. The conventional wisdom is that this was a wise investment and it may prove to be, but the results just aren’t showing this year. They are giving up an average of 4.4 yards per carry. That’s a worse performance than all but four NFL teams. It’s worse than Arizona, worse than Chicago, worse than Tampa Bay, worse than San Francisco, all teams that Clinton Portis gained over 100 yards against. Yes he gained just 57 yards the last time the two teams played, but if you give me that as the over-under for this week I’ll bet the ranch on the over.

Myth #4: Parcells owns Gibbs

The Facts:  Parcells has a 13-7 advantage over Gibbs lifetime. That’s a pretty shaky definition of “ownership” if you ask me. Besides, what happened in the 1980’s is of dubious relevance today. The more relevant stat is 14-13, what Gibbs’ team beat Parcells’ team by in September.

None of the above should be interpreted as putting down the Cowboys. They are a good team and will be an extremely tough opponent on Sunday. But Dallas does not need to be over-hyped and Redskins fans don’t have to blow them up to point where they think that even staying on the field with them is an impossible task.

Tomorrow, the prediction.

  1. mbarnes202 - Dec 16, 2005 at 2:22 AM

    Rich,
    Key stats gleaned from the Redskins Game Report PDF file (an incredible source of info):

    1. ‘Skins record when opponent scores 0-17 points: 7-1
    2. ‘Skins record when opponent scores 18+ points: 0-5

    Hmm. Well, this is a trend. And one which points to the fact that the ball-control, conservative, great defense approach is how we win. When we deviate, or are forced to deviate from this plan, we lose.

    The Cowboys have played 6 away games, in 3 of them, they have scored fewer than 17 points: @ Oakland (13), @ Seattle (10), and @ NYG (10). Our defense is better than each of these teams, and in their last 3 road games, the Cowboys only scored more than 17 once, against Philadelphia (21– 7 of those by Roy Williams at the end of the game). In the three games they scored more than 17 points, you had SF (34, week 3), SD, week 1, 28, and the aforementioned Philly game. We can hold them below 17, I think.

    I believe the Defense will again contain the Cowboys. It will be up to Brunnel not to turn the ball over, and for our special teams to win their battle.

    I also believe, though, that Parcells does seem to have some trick plays up his sleeve which amazingly always work to perfection (hb option passes that are so accurate 9 of 10 QBs could not complete it), which scare me.

    Earlier in the week, my prediciton was DAL 21, WAS 17. My new, optimistic prediction: WAS 16, DAL 10.

    Go ‘Skins!!

  2. Rich Tandler - Dec 16, 2005 at 2:34 AM

    Wow, if you think the Skins are going to win, I’m flying to Vegas tonight to load up on them!

    I haven’t come up with my final score yet, but it’s probably going to be in the neighborhood of yours. Not a lot of scoring and a close, to the wire game.

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