Friday, December 28, 2012
Who wins NFC East: Cowboys or Redskins?
By Michael Bonzagni and Evan Kaplan, ESPN Stats & Information
US PresswireEach week, Stats & Information has a point-counterpoint discussion on a notable NFL topic. This week, two of our stat analysts weigh in on which team will win the NFC East: Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys? Click here for a more in-depth look on the matchup between Robert Griffin III and Tony Romo.
Which QB will lead his team to the NFC East title: Robert Griffin III or Tony Romo?
Redskins will win
The Redskins will beat the Cowboys Sunday night and win the NFC East because RG III is their quarterback.
Griffin is the total package – he can run and throw deep, but the most frustrating thing for defenses might be how accurate he is. He has over- or underthrown only 13.9 percent of his receivers this year (3rd in NFL) and averages an interception once every 75 pass attempts (2nd in NFL).
Griffin’s accuracy is even more impressive given his success with the deep ball this season.
Griffin has a league-best 99.9 Total QBR and has completed 50.0 percent of his passes on throws more than 20 yards downfield, the highest percentage in the league among qualified quarterbacks.
The Cowboys have allowed the second-highest yards per attempt (17.1) and eighth-highest QBR (99.0) on passes more than 20 yards downfield. Look for that trend to continue Sunday as Griffin leads the Redskins to their first division title since 1999.
Cowboys will win
The Cowboys will go into FedEx Field Sunday night and win the NFC East because Tony Romo is peaking at the right time and will be facing a vulnerable Redskins secondary.
Tony Romo is playing some of the best football of his career, throwing 17 touchdown passes and only three interceptions since the start of Week 9. Romo’s plus-14 touchdown-to-interception differential is the best in the NFL over the last eight weeks.
One of the reasons for Romo’s recent strong play is his downfield passing.
Romo has 14 touchdown passes on throws of at least 15 yards downfield this season, tied for the most in the league, and 10 of those touchdowns have come in his last eight games.
Romo will be facing a Redskins defense that has struggled to defend the deep ball this season.
The Redskins have allowed 13 touchdown passes on throws of at least 15 yards downfield, the most in the NFL, and Washington’s Total QBR of 98.4 against such throws is the third-worst in the league.
The play of Dez Bryant is another reason the Cowboys will be able to win in Washington. Over the last seven weeks, Bryant leads the NFL in touchdown receptions (10), yards after the catch (294) and is tied for the most receptions of at least 30 yards (8).
The Redskins may be entering Sunday night on a six-game winning streak, but it will be the Cowboys that leave with a divisional title because of the play of Romo and Bryant.