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2023 NFL Preview FREE! (2024 Coming Late June)

With this guide you get a recap of the 2022 season including statistical visualizations, a review of luck factors that can potentially improve/decline in 2023, schedule analysis, offseason moves and more! You also get an in depth look at the 2023 season via each team’s strengths and weaknesses, vegas odds and schedule analysis. And of course Predictions!

ARTICLES

Data Insights & Analysis

2023 NFL Preview

4th Q Win % Over Expected

2023 NFL Schedule w/Spreads

Transparent NFL Track Record

2023 GM Trends

GAME ANALYSIS

Individual Game Write-ups, Betting Angles, and Matchup Stats

2023 Thanksgiving Preview Writeup

THURSDAY 4:30 PM EST
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS @ DALLAS COWBOYS (-10.5, 48.5)
TA Pick: DAL/WAS over 48.5
Source: Widely Available

ATS Pick 'Em: Commanders +11
MATCHUP STATS
Pass/Rush Ranks
WAS (O) DAL (D) DAL (O) WAS (D)
Passing
Pass Efficiency 18 5 3 30
Explosive Pass% 21 19 4 26
Rushing
Rush Efficiency 17 11 14 13
Explosive Rush% 14 9 15 10
OL/DL Adj Line Yards (FO) 5 8 11 14
QB v. Pressure Ranks
Sam Howell Dak Prescott
Pressure
PFF Grade v. Pressure 25 1
OL Pressure 25 4
Opp DL Pressure 16 19
Blitz
PFF Grade v. Blitz 23 2
Opp Blitz Rate 6 17
Team Ranks
WAS DAL
Net Success 17 8
Offense Pace 20 5
Neutral Pass% 3 5
TO Margin 24 8
OFF TO EPA 24 9
DEF TO EPA 19 11
ANALYSIS
  • This game profiles pretty similarly for me to the Washington/Philly games earlier this season that ended up 34-31 and 38-31 final scores. Those games closed with a total of 43 and both flew over those bad numbers, so the market is finally catching up to this Commanders team. But even in that 2nd matchup, the Eagles fumbled twice inside the Commanders five yard line or there could have easily been over 80 combined points.
  • When we talk about this game, lets first discuss their perception and position in the market. Washington games have on average closed with a total of 41.5 against final scoring output average of 49.1 Six of 11 games have gone over the total and 4/5 that went under involved terrible offenses (Arizona in opener with Dobbs, NE with Mac Jones, NYG with Tyrod Taylor, ATL with Desmond Rider).
  • Washington has the single largest gap in the final total points scored in their games and the stated over/under in the NFL, at +7.6 points. The Cowboys are 4th at +4.0, so these are two teams that the market has been consistently incorrect about when it comes to scoring outputs.
  • It should be noted that this is going to be by far the highest point total in a Commanders game this season. However, in the five Washington games with a total above 42, four have gone over and all of them reached at least 55 total points. Three finished with 60+ points and all of the games at 42.5+ have gone over the total by at least 14 points.
  • Six of the Cowboys 10 games have gone over the total and three of their four home games have gone over. Their home games have also been against maybe the three worst QBs in the NFL in Zach Wilson, Mac Jones and Tommy Devito. These guys rank 33, 39 and 40th out of 40 QBs in EPA this season. The fourth was against Matthew Stafford and the Rams but he got hurt in the 2nd quarter. Assuming he plays the whole game, Sam Howell will be by far the best QB the Cowboys will have faced at home this season.
  • What is interesting is as good as the Dallas defense has performed this season, they have only faced three top 30 ranked QBs by EPA (Purdy, Hurts, Herbert) who finished at least a half (Stafford knocked out in Q2). The Cowboys defense allowed Purdy to generate his 2nd best EPA of the season, Hurts his 2nd best as well while holding Herbert to his 2nd worst. To be fair Herbert was playing his first game back from his finger injury but nonetheless that was the only time they held a non-terrible QB to an EPA below expectations. Not only has Dallas faced Wilson, Mac Jones and Devito at home but they also got the luxury of facing Daniel Jones, Josh Dobbs and Bryce Young on the road this season. Based on EPA, the Cowboys defense have faced the single easiest overall schedule of opposing QBs and even then, five of 10 opponents have gone over their team totals. So it has not been a one sided case where the Dallas offense has carried these games over.
  • The Commanders defense has struggled badly in the secondary this season themselves. They rank 30th in EPA per dropback but rank last in my consistency metric where they have only held one team (Arizona in the opener) to an EPA below that offenses season average. They have gone nine straight games of allowing an opposing offense to generate an EPA above their season average and have done so against a top five easiest schedule of opposing offenses. They rank 27th in net yards per pass attempt against the 3rd easiest schedule of opposing pass offenses based on net ypa. Washington has faced five offenses in the top 17 in EPA offense. They have allowed point totals of 33, 37, 34, 38 and 29 points in those games. Based on EPA versus expectations, the Commanders defense ranks last. Dallas ranks 4th best in the NFL in EPA on offense and play like the best offense in the NFL at home.
  • In the three games since the Chase Young and Montez Sweat trades, and against two horrible QBs in Mac Jones and Tommy Devito plus Geno Smith, this defense ranks just 19th in EPA on dropbacks while allowing 20 ppg. That does not sound all that bad until you realize Devito threw for 9.5 ypa with 3 TDs after looking like the worst QB the NFL has ever seen, they allowed Mac Jones to generate an EPA well above his season average and Geno produced his 2nd best EPA game all season against the Washington defense.
  • The Commanders are also dealing with injuries to an already thin defense. ED James Smith-Williams, a starting defensive end, missed their last game with a hamstring injury and did not practice on Monday. Their top reserve ED Efe Odaba, was just placed on IR this week and in the secondary rookie 1st round CB Emmanuel Forbes, hurt his elbow against the Giants and is Questionable as well. This defense cant afford more losses and on a short week, the likelihood of playing for some of these guys is slim.
  • Not much has to be said about this Dallas offense. They destroy everyone at home. Here are the point totals for the last 9 Dallas home games, dating back to mid last season- 49, 43, 38, 30, 40, 27, 54, 28, 49. That is 39.8 PPG! We are talking Big 12 college football type scoring and that has included some top 10 EPA defenses like the Jets this season and the Eagles and Colts last season. Why in the world is it going to be any different against this Commanders defense that is currently bottom five level in the NFL?
  • Dak Prescott is playing like a strong MVP candidate this season and is currently 2nd in the NFL in EPA per drop back. Since week 6, Dak ranks #1 in the NFL in EPA per drop back at +0.351. In the last two seasons, Dak Prescott has faced seven bottom 10 pass defenses by EPA, and the Cowboys have averaged 31 ppg. He has been fairly matchup proof at home as even against three top 10 EPA pass defenses in the Jets this year and the Colts and Eagles last season, Dak has generated three positive EPA games with a cumulative +0.265 EPA per drop back in those games.
  • In terms of the matchup, it is very favorable for Dak and this offense. Not only is Washington potentially the worst pass defense in the NFL right now, but they have allowed a bottom five explosive pass rate and are 31st in EPA allowed over the middle of the field. Dak loves throwing over the middle of the field and is top 10 in EPA. Predicably, the Commanders pass rush has fallen off since the trade of their top Edge rushers as well. After generating a pressure rate of at least 30% in four of their prior five games before the trade and averaging ~35% pressure rate in those pre trade games, they have not generated a pressure rate above 28% and are averaging just 23% in these three post trade games. This Dallas OL should continue to dominate the trenches, giving Dak all day to throw with a clean pocket. Dak is 10th best in PFF grade with a clean pocket and is 8th in PFFs big time throw metric.
  • Expect another monster game from WR Cee Dee Lamb on Thursday. He is 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards and goes up against the Commanders pass defense that has allowed the most receiving yards to opposing #1 WRs, at 103 per game. They are also dead last in DVOA against top WRs so it is both the stats and the impact. No defense has allowed more receiving TDs as well so it is really difficult to envision a scenario where Cee Dee does not explode here.
  • The Dallas offense continues to throw the ball well above expectations in neutral game situations (5th highest rate) which is clearly good for an over. When you account for the defenses they are facing, Dallas throws the ball at the 7th highest rate above their opponents average allowance in neutral game situations as well. Opponents have thrown at the 3rd highest rate above their opponents season average on the Commanders defense so clearly it has been a focus of opposing QBs to attack this secondary. So you have a Dallas offense that is throwing the football a ton against a Commanders defense that has been thrown on all season.
  • When Dallas has faced similar defenses that have seen opposing QBs throw the ball at a top 10 rate over average, the Cowboys have thrown the ball at an extremely high rate. Against the Rams (11th), they threw the ball 78% of the time in neutral game situations and against the Eagles (1st), they threw it 72% of the time. I expect much of the same on Thursday.
  • Meanwhile, the Washington offense shows up when they need to step up in weight class but then plays down to competition. They only scored 3 points in the Buffalo game but much of that was due to 5 TOs. Otherwise, against Philly 2x and Seattle, Sam Howell and this offense has scored 31, 31 and 26 points while looking very competent. Against Philly, they generated the highest and fourth highest EPA that the Eagles defense has allowed all season and against Seattle, the 3rd highest and Denver the 2nd highest. But against bad defenses like the Giants and Cardinals, where they were held to the lowest EPA twice and 2nd lowest EPA once, they are awful against the bad defenses. It is really odd how they step up against the good teams and step down to all the bad ones.
  • As we have seen against some of the better competition they have faced, this Washington offense shows some real flashes at times. If you exclude drives that end in a turnover, the Commanders offense ranks league average in success rate and 12th best in drive success rate (2+ first downs or a TD) when starting a drive inside their own territory. Their issue is the offense ranks 30th in turnover EPA given up. Clearly the turnovers are an issue and Howell’s inconsistencies lead to that but some of it is also just bad fumble luck as well.
  • Using my consistency metric, Washington ranks 11th best on offense in EPA, producing offense above their opponents average in 60% of their games. They have actual weapons on the offense and when Howell gets the ball out quickly, they can be dangerous. They are good enough to keep up in a shootout but as seen above, they are also leaving some meat on the bone and can excel even further without the bad turnovers.
  • This Commanders offense continues to throw it at a ridiculous rate as well, in fact the 4th highest rate vs opponent expectations. That has likely led to a lot of why these games have gone over the total at such a high rate for them. It doesnt matter who is playing defense, Eric Bienemy and this offense is going to chuck it around the yard.
  • Howell is going to face a ton of man to man defense that the Cowboys employ at one of the highest rates in the NFL. He has played fairly well against man, ranking top 10 in yards per attempt. There is no reason that this offense is not going to continue to lean on the pass heavily, leading to opportunities for scoring on offense and frankly the potential for defensive TDs as well. No defense can create turnovers that become defensive TDs more than Dallas so that is not a problem for this over. They rank 1st by a mile with six non offensive TDs.
  • My model has this game closer to 51, so I see value here. From a side perspective, the Cowboys are definitely inflated at -11 but its hard to ignore how dominant they have been at home and all of the advantages this offense will have on this Commanders defense. At the same time, Washington is a team you want as an underdog but fade when they are expected to outperform as a favorite. For pools, I would take Washington at anything above double digits but am not interested in putting money on Washington.
GAME TRENDS
  • Thanksgiving favorites of 7+ are 9-5 ATS since 2000 with an average ATS margin of +4.0 pts per game
  • Thanksgiving games with a total of 48+ are 18-15 (55%) to the over since 2000. 12/18 games (67% have gone over between 47 and 49.5 points by an average of 5.8 points per game
INJURY ANALYSIS

Commanders Injury Report
Player Pos ReturnDate Injury Status
Khaleke Hudson LB Nov 21 Questionable
Antonio Gibson RB Nov 21 Toe Questionable
Cody Barton LB Nov 21 Ankle Injured Reserve
James Smith-Williams DE Nov 21 Questionable
Alex Armah RB Nov 21 Questionable
Efe Obada DE Nov 20 Lower Leg Injured Reserve
De'Jon Harris LB Nov 20 Questionable
Emmanuel Forbes CB Nov 20 Questionable
Jartavius Martin S Nov 20 Questionable
Ricky Stromberg C Nov 7 Knee Injured Reserve
Saahdiq Charles OT Oct 28 Calf Injured Reserve
Jeremy Reaves S Oct 23 Knee Injured Reserve
Darrick Forrest S Oct 10 Shoulder Injured Reserve
Dax Milne WR Sep 8 Groin Injured Reserve
Brandon Dillon TE Aug 29 Undisclosed Injured Reserve
Braeden Daniels G Aug 28 Injured Reserve
David Bada DT Aug 10 Injured Reserve
Curtis Brooks DT Aug 8 Undisclosed Injured Reserve


Cowboys Injury Report
Player Pos ReturnDate Injury Status
Jayron Kearse S Nov 21 Back Questionable
Rico Dowdle RB Nov 21 Ankle Questionable
Peyton Hendershot TE Nov 20 Ankle Injured Reserve
Viliami Fehoko Jr. DE Nov 18 Knee Injured Reserve
C.J. Goodwin CB Nov 14 Pectoral Injured Reserve
Leighton Vander Esch LB Nov 14 Neck Injured Reserve
Trevon Diggs CB Oct 25 Injured Reserve
Matt Waletzko OT Aug 30 Undisclosed Injured Reserve
Josh Ball OT Aug 30 Hip Injured Reserve
DeMarvion Overshown LB Aug 30 Knee Injured Reserve
David Durden WR Aug 30 Knee Injured Reserve
John Stephens Jr. WR Aug 30 Knee Injured Reserve

DEPTH CHARTS


Commanders Depth Chart
Offense
LWR Terry Mclaurin Dyami Brown
RWR Jahan Dotson Byron Pringle
SWR Curtis Samuel Jamison Crowder
LT Charles Leno Jr. Cornelius Lucas
LG Chris Paul Julian Good-Jones
C Tyler Larsen Nick Gates
RG Sam Cosmi
RT Andrew Wylie Trent Scott
TE Logan Thomas John Bates
QB Sam Howell Jacoby Brissett
RB Brian Robinson Jr. Antonio Gibson
FB Alex Armah
Defense
LDE James Smith-Williams Andre Jones Jr.
LDT Daron Payne Phidarian Mathis
RDT Jonathan Allen John Ridgeway Iii
RDE Casey Toohill Kj Henry
WLB Jamin Davis Khaleke Hudson
MLB David Mayo De'Jon Harris
LCB Benjamin St-Juste Emmanuel Forbes Jr.
SS Kamren Curl Terrell Burgess
FS Percy Butler Jartavius Martin
RCB Kendall Fuller Christian Holmes
NB Danny Johnson




Cowboys Depth Chart
Offense
LWR Michael Gallup Jalen Brooks
RWR Brandin Cooks Jalen Tolbert
SWR Ceedee Lamb Kavontae Turpin
LT Tyron Smith Chuma Edoga
LG Tyler Smith Asim Richards
C Tyler Biadasz Brock Hoffman
RG Zack Martin T.J. Bass
RT Terence Steele
TE Jake Ferguson Luke Schoonmaker
QB Dak Prescott Cooper Rush
RB Tony Pollard Rico Dowdle
FB Hunter Luepke
Defense
LDE Demarcus Lawrence Dante Fowler Jr.
NT Johnathan Hankins Mazi Smith
DT Osa Odighizuwa Chauncey Golston
RDE Micah Parsons Dorance Armstrong
WLB Markquese Bell Rashaan Evans
MLB Damone Clark
LCB Stephon Gilmore Nahshon Wright
SS Jayron Kearse Donovan Wilson
FS Malik Hooker Juanyeh Thomas
RCB Daron Bland Noah Igbinoghene
NB Jourdan Lewis




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