That did not go as I expected. Though I hit on all five of my stats in the Buffalo Bills versus Dallas Cowboys game, this is not the game I was expecting to witness. Surprisingly, neither team's quarterback seemed to be able to get it going, and James Cook was the only part of either offense that seemed to be able to get anything done.
Tyler’s team crushed it on rushing attempts, and first downs, and Nathan’s team hit on most offensive plays, but both Nathan and Tyler were hamstrung by ties in big plays, field goal and extra point attempts and two point conversions. Interestingly, the Bills were even able to win with Josh Allen only scoring a 53.9 quarterback rating.
I was correct in my projection that the team that played the cleaner game would win as evidenced by me winning both least penalties and least penalty yards by a significant margin. The impact of their successful running attack kept them moving the chains. Tyler got in on some of that action with his most first downs, a stat that the Bills dominated. I was surprised that the maligned Bills secondary was able to get more passes defended than the Cowboys by a 7-2 margin. I really got lucky pulling out a win on most yards per pass as the Bills only out gained the Cowboys 3 yards to 2.9.
This can be what the playoffs look like
We’ve really been attempting to spotlight matchups that we think will simulate playoff scenarios. I think this game is a great example of how even when teams aren’t being able to do the things they normally can, being able to avoid giving away yards with penalties and turnovers is often going to be the storyline of the playoffs. As the margins keep getting tighter, these teams are going to keep having to grind out wins so they can continue advancing.
Early in the regular season, teams can get caught up in the look of things as opposed to the outcome. Now it’s definitely the time when we start seeing the teams willing to do the grunt work and get down and dirty have a significant advantage, especially when they execute with discipline.
Of course, another factor that hasn’t been mentioned is the weather in Buffalo. As the playoffs play out, dealing with conditions might end up being the difference between success and failure for many of these teams. The old adage goes “the ground game travels well” because weather conditions impact rushing less. I’ve always believed that the teams that can run the ball are the most successful, as these last few weeks before the playoffs play out, we might start seeing a trend towards that style of play prevailing. Especially with the down year many teams have had at the quarterback position, this could be the season where a running back really shines.
Nathan's viewpoint on Buffalo Bills versus Dallas Cowboys
This game was a complete shock. I wasn’t too surprised that the Bills won, but the fact that both teams had quality quarterbacks and both were so ineffective was astounding. Dak Prescott was a big letdown to me. I thought he was set for a big game, but the Bills defense showed up to play, although I would have appreciated it if they were better defending third downs. I was leaning toward a Cowboys win with Prescott throwing way more than the 134 yards that he threw.
The only stat I hit on was most offensive yards wins, which Buffalo won by a 156-yard margin. The lack of offense really doomed my selection of 40+ yard passes selection. Both teams made a field goal, neutralizing my selection of least field goals wins. I knew the 40+ yard pick was risky, but I felt confident that the team that made more of their advanced offensive possessions would win this game. I was sadly mistaken on both.