Dallas Cowboys: AFC South

Cowboys preview: Make-or-break stretch

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
The end of the season has not been kind to the Dallas Cowboys in recent years. It's not been just a Jason Garrett problem, but the Cowboys lost three of their last four in 2013, their final two in 2012 and four of their last five in 2011 to finish 8-8 all three years. This year's late-season schedule is difficult -- five of the last seven away from home -- but the pivotal stretch will be early in the year to make sure the end of the year is relevant. Six of the Cowboys' first nine games are at AT&T Stadium, which has not provided the greatest of home-field advantages since opening. The Cowboys have a three-game homestand from Oct. 19-Nov. 2 against three NFC teams that they almost have to sweep to stay in contention in the division or help in the wild-card standings.

Complete Cowboys season preview.

Countdown Live: 2013 NFL draft, Rds. 4-7

April, 27, 2013
Join our ESPN.com NFL experts for Rounds 4-7 of the 2013 NFL draft.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at noon ET. See you there.

Countdown Live: 2013 NFL draft, Rds. 2-3

April, 26, 2013
Join our ESPN.com NFL experts for Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2013 NFL draft.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 6 p.m. ET. See you there.

Countdown Live: 2013 NFL draft, Round 1

April, 25, 2013
Join our ESPN.com NFL experts for the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

We'll be analyzing every pick from 1 to 32. We'll get started an hour early at 7 p.m. ET, so submit your questions and comments and we'll see you there.

Live: ESPN.com #bloggermock draft

April, 23, 2013
Join our ESPN.com NFL experts as they play general manager for their divisions and execute a 2013 first-round mock draft.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at noon ET. You can also participate via Twitter using the hashtag #bloggermock. See you there.

Countdown Live: NFL Draft 2011

April, 29, 2011
Join our ESPN.com NFL Nation bloggers, Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson, Fantasy's Christopher Harris, the folks from Stats & Information and a slew of other NFL experts as they break down the 2011 NFL draft round-by-round.

We'll pick your mind for polls and take as many of your questions and comments as we can starting at 12 p.m. ET. Saturday. See you there!

Chalkboard Stats: Peyton's pick sinks Colts

December, 7, 2010

A closer look at Peyton Manning's decisive interception against the Colts in overtime

In the Indianapolis Colts' overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the critical play was a third-down interception thrown in overtime by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Using the diagram above, let's take a closer look at the play and the statistical analysis that led to specific decisions and results.

A) The Cowboys line up with five defensive backs
Dallas put at least one extra DB on the field for every one of Peyton Manning's 48 pass attempts in the game. Entering this play, their nickel-dime-quarter packages had allowed 10 passing touchdowns and recorded 10 interceptions (for an 85.5 opponents' passer rating), while their 3-4 pass defense had allowed 15 touchdowns and recorded only two interceptions (for a 120.7 opponents' passer rating)

B) Manning takes the snap out of the shotgun
Entering Week 13, Peyton Manning had attempted 51 more passes out of the 'gun than the next closest quarterback, and had completed 43 more than the runner-up (Shaun Hill was second to Manning in both categories with 309 and 189, respectively). However, nine of his 11 interceptions entering the game had come out of the shotgun.

C) Play selection puts the odds in the Colts’ favor
Manning and the Colts attempt a "safe" 11-yard pass down the left sideline, a play the Cowboys defense had struggled with entering Week 13. Dallas ranked dead last in the NFL in touchdowns allowed (20) and opponents' passer rating (103.5) on passes of 14 yards or less. Manning loves the left sideline, and entering this play he was 6-12 for 89 yards and a touchdown (102.4 passer rating) in the game to that part of the field.

D) Mike Jenkins creates the tip drill
Cowboys corner Mike Jenkins (No. 21) bumps receiver Reggie Wayne (No. 87) within five yards of the line, then breaks off and gets into position to break up the pass intended for Jacob Tamme (No. 84). The pass defensed becomes Jenkins' second of the game and fifth of the season on attempts of 14 yards or less, breaking a tie with linebacker Keith Brooking for the team lead. Linebacker Sean Lee (#50) trails the play and finds himself in perfect position to snatch the tipped ball and turn the tide in the Cowboys' favor.