Mike McCarthy has looked every bit the man who missed a full season of NFL coaching in his return to the sideline this year, getting outmaneuvered in several Cowboys losses you could pin directly to his coaching ability.
And yet in the lowly NFC East, every team is still in playoff contention, including the 2-4 Cowboys. Despite losing Dak Prescott for the season to a broken/dislocated ankle and embarrassing themselves in their last game against the Cardinals, a 38-10 loss, the Cowboys would retake the division lead over the 2-4-1 Eagles with a win over the Washington Football Team today. That would also make the Cowboys 2-0 in the division, which, according to a deep analytics dive McCarthy did, would be halfway to the necessary wins needed to claim the division crown.
Kim Jones, reporting for ESPN, revealed McCarthy's focus is on getting to four division wins this year. Why? Because, "there's research that once a team gets to four division wins, it's likelier to win the division."
Truly eye-opening insight from McCarthy and his analytics team.
Joking aside, the Cowboys have squandered leads in all four of their losses this year. They rank 32nd in defense, giving up over 36 points per game, and have not formed any semblance of an identity on either side of the ball. That all comes down to coaching. McCarthy was out of football for a season after getting fired as Packers head coach and it's showed this season.
Analytics are an important part of the game. McCarthy gets that. But to put the Cowboys back on a winning track, he might need to dig deeper than this.