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Soft Schedule Helps Explain Cowboys’ 13-Win Season

To most observers, the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots are in a class by themselves. I certainly don’t dispute that the Green Bay Packers’ Sunday opponent should be the top seed in the NFC entering the postseason. You can’t argue with their 13-3 regular season record, which really should be viewed as 14-2 since Dallas rested its starters in the final game.

Or can you?

Actually, I would argue that the 13-win season is inflated. Dallas played a soft schedule of teams.

The high point of the Cowboys’ season was when they went on the road and beat the formidable Pittsburgh Steelers, an 11-win team, by a 35-30 score.

The next best team that Dallas defeated was the 10-6 Packers, but that was when Aaron Rodgers wasn’t himself. That Green Bay team bears little resemblance to this Packers’ postseason group.

The competition drops off rapidly from there. The only nine-win teams that Dallas beat were Detroit and Tampa Bay, neither of which are powerhouses.

Six times the Cowboys’ opponents were middle-of-the-roaders: Washington and Philadelphia twice, along with Minnesota and Baltimore. The rest were scrubs: Cincinnati (6-9-1), Chicago (3-13), San Francisco (2-14), and Cleveland (1-15).

The cumulative win percentage of the Cowboys’ adversaries was .470 – 119 wins, 134 losses, and three ties.

I’m not arguing that Green Bay’s schedule was extremely tough, but you probably want to see that comparison anyway. Packers’ opponents accumulated a record of 129 wins, 125 losses and two ties – a .504 win percentage. Remember when the Packers’ schedule, based on 2015 win-loss records, was the NFL’s easiest? It didn’t turn out that way.

Here’s a final take: Dallas played five teams during the season that made the playoffs: the Giants (twice), and the Steelers, Lions, and Packers. The Boys went only three and two against this more talented group. Both losses came to the Giants, who the Packers just thrashed.

Rob Born

Someone else said it first but I popularized it: “Athleticism is important in athletic pursuits.” It took three years, but the Packers finally listened. My new mantra: “Trading down is fine, but never trade up.”



  1. PF4L January 13, 2017

    Based on 2015 Nfl team standings, the Packers were given the easiest NFL Schedule with opponents having a .457 winning percentage.

    Green Bay Packers : 117-139, .457

    You don’t count the strength of schedule after the season is over. Because the metrics change throughout the season. It’s based on the standings where the teams ended the previous season at.

    Unless you need to spin it of course. Then carry on.

    1. Robster January 13, 2017

      So, doing it your way, we should consider that the 2016 Cowboys have a schedule strength of a 4-12 team?

    2. PF4L January 13, 2017

      You don’t determine the strength of schedule of a season, after the season is over
      Simply because draft picks, picked before the start of the season, can have a huge effect as to the strength of a team.

      Let me try to clear it up a little. No one know’s for sure how draft picks are going to effect the strength pf teams in the upcoming season. therefore, the only way to truly set a strength of schedule, is from the previous season’s results.

      Example: Both Eliot and Prescott are 1st year rookies. With Prescotts 104 passer rating, and Eliots 1600 yards rushing. those 2 draft picks had a profound effect on the Cowboys winning 13 games. Without those 2 draft picks, what would be the Cowboys record this season? 5-7 wins? Get my point?

      The Cowboys also had the 4th easiest schedule based on 2015 results. But they were 4-12 last season.

      If were gonna judge performance against strength. How did the Packers defense perform against top 10 offenses in wins, and points given up per game. Hint: It’s not good. FYI…The Dallas offense is ranked 5th. The Cowboys are also ranked 5th in scoring, a sliver below Green Bay which is 4th.

      Seriously man. some of you need to get a grip and stop trying to convince everyone everything is roses and gold and just ignoring reality. Your setting the gullible fans up for a hard fall.

      Yes…the Packers could win this game, but it won’t have anything to do with an easy schedule, or rookie players, or coaching, or the defense shutting the Cowboys down.

      The only way the Packers win this game, is the only way they win all their games……on the arm of Aaron Rodgers.

      By Aaron Rodgers carrying this team and it’s pathetic defense on his back. But if he can’t do it by himself, and the Packers lose. I’m sure there will be plenty of writers in here ready to take a heaping shit on him.

      My angst isn’t really directed at you. It’s directed at the 3 stooges for not having a defense strong enough to go all the way. TT would rather keep the 10 million under the cap, then use all his resources to field the best team possible. McCarthy for not replacing Capers even though we suffer through this shit every year since 2010.

      I’m tired of wasting away years of opportunity. There is plenty of time for that once Rodgers retires and were looking for our next franchise QB.

      The Packers have about a 15% percent chance of winning this game. And i’m sorry for having to be the voice of reason to say that.

      1. PF4L January 13, 2017

        Here Robster, hope this clears it up for you from NFL.com…….Its ranked #1 as the hardest, to #32 as the easiest…..


      2. Tony January 13, 2017

        I guess it was Aaron Rodgers who kept The Packers in the game the 1st 27 minutes last week.
        7 yards of offense.

        Without the performance of the defense and special teams, this argument would not be going on.


        7 weeks ago The Packers were given a 2% chance of just making the playoffs as a wild card.
        I guess that’s why they play the games.
        Please tell me what players Ted Thompson could have signed with 10mil this year that would have them any farther thane they have went to this point?
        And At what cost of signing The current Packers that will be FA’s after this season?
        This is not Madden, “The 3 Stooges” as you call them have won more games than any other NFL Team except for New England the past 10 years.
        You being “The Voice of Reason” should know that winning The Super Bowl every year is just plain nonsense.
        You can’t appreciate what The packers have done, as a team, the last 7 weeks, I really feel bad for you.
        There will be 31 teams whose fan bases are dissapointed when The Super Bowl is over, I’m happy The Packers aren’t one of those teams yet.
        Should they not reach their ultimate goal this year, unlike about half of the teams in the NFL, I know they will retool and be in the mix next year.
        You can thank “The 3 stooges” for that!

        1. PF4L January 13, 2017

          Correction #1) It wasn’t until McCarthy finally made changes to the play scheme after 27 minutes, that the offense started clicking.

          Correction #2) I’m not so sure the Giants receivers dropping passes left and right, had anything to do with the Packer defense. You gloat about the performance of the defense? They were only on the field for about 7 minutes of the 2nd half. But still managed to give up 300 yards of passing offense. …GOOD CALL!!

          Correction #3) It’s not my job to find players, i thought that was Ted’s JOB. Maybe i’m missing something, isn’t that why they pay him millions? Casey Hayward had a pretty decent year huh?

          Correction #4) Tell me how many games the 3 stooges win without holding the lottery ticket? Oops, without Rodgers? (Get back to me on that one, no rush).

          Correction #4) I never said, that the Packers should win the Super Bowl every year….DID I? No, i fucking didn’t, and i don’t need a pinhead like you speaking for me. Lets ask Fat Mike what he thinks the goal is every year. Is that ok with you pinhead?

          Here’s how McCarthy stated it.

          “Division titles are important,” McCarthy said, “but I don’t lose any sleep over it. Because we have a bigger goal. We don’t hang divisional title banners around here. So, frankly, once you cross the threshold into the playoffs, it’s about getting to the final game and winning.

          Does that clear things up for you pinhead? Been awhile since we got to that final game, hasn’t it sparky?

          Correction #5) After shitting the bed…It’s cool that the Packers won 7 in a row. To a pinhead like you, maybe you call that a successful season. Obviously McCarthy and i have larger goals than Division titles. Maybe you can visit the vikings and gawk at their hanging Division banner in AWE.

          Correction #6) What does retooling mean to you? More underperforming high draft picks. Sitting on 10 million you could have spent on talent, instead of putting it in the Packers rainy day fund? Your secondary sucks. You have a 1st round, and 2nd round cornerback on your team. But the undrafted cornerback you have is playing better than both.

          THANK YOU 3 STOOGES!!……..How was that Gomer?

          Any other concerns pinhead? Did you learn anything here?

          If you want to come at me Nancy. You’ll have to do a lot better than that.

          Thank you for understanding.

          1. PF4L January 15, 2017

            That’s about the response i expected Anthony. Now go run upstairs and eat, before your mac n cheese gets cold.

  2. TyKo Steamboat January 13, 2017

    Soft schedule or not…
    That run game is stout.
    Id prefer to have a power-running team that will bludgeon you as opposed to a finesse passing offense.

    1. Nick Perry January 13, 2017

      I don’t doubt a bit Dallas is a talented team. The Cowboys have drafted in much higher than the Packers have for a number of years. With that said don’t pretend the Packers are anywhere near the same team the Cowboys beat in week 6 because their not. Dallas will get their yards and points, but so will the Packers. Ask the Giants how fast the Packers put up points, something the Cowboys couldn’t seem to do. The Packers just hung over 30 points on the Giants, Seahawks, and Vikings all top teams in scoring defense. This time I wouldn’t count of the Packers turning over the ball 4 times either. Either way it will should be a great game. Then again the said that about the Giants and Packers too. Well it was for Packers fans anyways.

      1. PF4L January 13, 2017

        Not many are questioning if the Packers will put up points. The real issue is the Packers defense. Has that changed much from week 6?

        You can name all the teams the Packers hung 30 points on. But how many teams put up 30 and 40+ points on the Packers?

        Or how many teams with shit offenses and 2nd rate players, tore our defense apart?

        No one wants to look at that shit though do they?….lol

        Stay blind and hopeful i guess.

  3. I Steal Fish January 13, 2017

    who gives a shit man. look they are 13-3. they will be 13-4 after this weekend. WE. GOT. THIS.

    1. PF4L January 13, 2017

      lol…Well then!…I guess we got this. That was easy.

  4. Tucson Packer January 14, 2017

    Man, I guess everyone else is just lucky enough to be able to fumble around and find this website. Let’s just call this “Total PF4L’s Packers” He is just obviously the only guy that understands ya’ll, just ask him.

    1. PF4L January 14, 2017

      Changing it to my name? I’m ok with that but…….

      When you get done whining, we have to talk royalties. Let me me when your done being sad.

      We’ll talk.

      1. Tucson Packer January 14, 2017

        Talk about what exactly?

        1. PF4L January 15, 2017


  5. KILLER January 14, 2017

    So Rob is going way out of his way to try to persuade everyone Dallas is not as good as they appear according to their record.

    This is hypocrisy because he sure as heck never did an article making the exact same point about the Packers. The Packers had the NFL’s easiest schedule this year. They turned that into 10-6. The Cowboys had a tougher schedule and they turned that into 13-3. Rob, when are you going to put up your article “Soft Schedule helps explain Packers 10-Win Season”?

  6. KILLER January 14, 2017

    There is also hypocrisy within the hypocrisy. Rob is basically saying the Cowboys record is not an accurate representation of how good they are as a team… but is using their record as part of the justification for why the Packers had a more difficult schedule…. Do you see it? Do you see the hypocrisy there?

    Also, by defeating more teams the Cowboys give their opponents a worse win-loss record that do the Packers… thus undermining their own strength of schedule. The Packers “gave” their opponents 3 more wins thus augmenting their strength of schedule. So, if the Cowboys were 8-8 you would respect them more because their opponents had a tougher strength of schedule but, since they are 13-3, screw them and their soft schedule?

    In sum, you are really making an argument that a possible Packer win is of less value.