Percentages On Cowboys’ Side
It always helps to back up a story with a few facts. I realize that a lot of people don’t think journalists and facts necessarily go together, but in this instance they do. Even though the Cowboys are just seven games into this season, it’s not too early to look at some statistics that will paint a pretty bright picture for the team at the end of this season. After seven games there are percentages that can be calculated and give us a look into where all of the NFL teams are heading. For instance, since the league went to the 12-team playoff format in 1990, the teams that were unbeaten after seven games had a 93-percent chance of making it to the playoffs. Since there aren’t any unbeaten teams left in the league, let’s go to the one-loss teams, such as the Cowboys. Thanks to Elias Sports Bureau for the numbers.
Teams with just one loss at this point, which include the Cowboys, Eagles, Cardinals and Broncos, have an 88-percent chance of making the playoffs, not much less than the unbeaten. That means the Cowboys would have to have an epic collapse from this point through the rest of the season to miss the playoffs. With Jacksonville, Chicago and two Redskins games still ahead, that seems remote. Of the teams with just one loss at this point in the season, there is a 29-percent chance that they will make it to the Super Bowl. Considering that three of the four one-loss teams are in the NFC, those odds will go down and the Broncos odds of going to a second-straight Super Bowl go up quite a bit. Of the one-loss teams, there is a seven-percent chance that they will win the Super Bowl. That might not seem like enough to bet your mortgage on, but it’s about 20 times higher than the Cowboys’ chances of winning a Super Bowl in the past seven years.
That’s the good news for Cowboys fans, but if you’re a Bears, Falcons or Giants fan the numbers aren’t looking good. Teams that are below .500 after seven games have an eight-percent chance to reaching the playoffs, let alone think about the Super Bowl (which you know die-hard Bears and Giants fans are still thinking about). Now, we know that all stats are based on the law of averages and sometimes freaky things happen to throw it all off. Teams will suddenly win or lose eight games in a row or a team that struggles to barely qualify for the post-season (Giants…twice) will get hot at the right time and go all the way. But if I were a betting man, I’d say the teams that have gotten off to a good start, like the Cowboys, have bonded as a team, overcome a lot of adversity and possibly injuries and believe in their coaches are the teams I’d bet on. Even if they hit a road bump, which is almost unavoidable, they won’t let it diminish all of the positives that have accumulated over the past three and a half months, counting training camp.
And by the way, don’t worry about the defending Super Bowl champs; at 3-3 the likelihood of them making the playoffs is just 38-percent and winning a second straight Super Bowl…just one percent. Get excited about that Pete Carroll.