Here are the main 2011 statistics for offense and defense for the Cowboys and the Giants:
Total Offense – yards/game: 375.5
NFL Rank: 11th
Rushing Offense: 112.9
NFL Rank: 18th
Passing Offense: 262.6
NFL Rank: 7th
Total Defense – Yards Allowed: 343.2
NFL Rank: 14th
Rushing Defense: 99.1
NFL Rank: 7th
Passing Defense: 244.1
NFL Rank: 23rd
New York Giants:
Total Offense – yards/game: 385.1
NFL Rank: 8th
Rushing Offense: 89.2
NFL Rank: 32nd
Passing Offense: 295.9
NFL Rank: 5th
Total Defense – Yards Allowed: 376.4
NFL Rank: 27th
Rushing Defense: 121.2
NFL Rank: 19th
Passing Defense: 255.1
NFL Rank: 29th
How the statistics tell the tale
The Dallas Cowboys had three or four (I’ve had a long day, cut me some slack on the specifics on this one, thanks) games last year when they were leading in the second half and lost because they couldn’t stop the pass. Thus, trading up for Claiborne. Teams that are behind in the second half don’t run much, and the Cowboys were tied for 11th with 4.1 ypc allowed. Doing the math, that means the other team ran only 25 times against your defense…6 plays per quarter, and much of that probably coming in the first half as teams threw in the 4th quarter to catch up…and often win.
The Dallas defense slid to 14th overall with 347 points allowed. Middle of the road there.
The Giants’ defense gave up 400 points….good for only 25th overall.
But the Giants outscored the Cowboys 394 to 369. 9th in the league for the Giants; 15th in the league for the Cowboys. The Giants had a marginal edge in turnovers, +7 to +4.
This is striking then: The Giants were outscored by their opponents by 6 points while the Cowboys outscored theirs by 22. Hold that thought.
The real discrepancy comes in touchdowns scored. That figure is 47 for the Giants (6th in the NFL) and 39 (tied for 14th with Minnesota) for the Cowboys. 8 more TDs is an extra TD every other game, and that’s a 3.5 point per game advantage right there.
Eli had more 29 TDs and 16 much-publicized INTs, but had a whopping 4,933 yards passing for an 8.4 yds/att. Romo was 4,184 yards for 8.0 yds/att. He had 31 TDs to 10 INTs and a very high 102.5 QB rating to Manning’s still very nice 92.9 rating.
What I’m reading into this season is that the Giants have a WR corps that is a little more explosive than that of the Cowboys. The Cowboys lost Laurent Robinson to Free Agency since; the Giants added talented rookie Rueben Randle. Last season, Eli had a fair amount more attempts than Romo, more yards, more INTs, all of which you would expect. It also meant fewer rushing attempts since 3.5 yds/carry won’t cut it. Simply put, the Giants had to be more one-dimensional and even so, they kept pace with the other team’s scoring with an opportunistic defense. They had the Cowboys record-wise 9-7 to 8-8, winning the division and getting that playoff spot.
It sounds like Eli’s Giants were the ones making the second-half comebacks as Dallas was losing them.
Then again, Tom Coughlin wasn’t the one icing his own kicker!
Strange, isn’t it?