DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys welcome 2021 with an opportunity that no one was expecting. After starting the season 3-9, and then winning three games in a row to close out December, the Cowboys sit tied atop the NFC East standings with a Week 17 matchup against the New York Giants ahead of them.
Dallas still needs to win and get help to finish off the improbable run to the NFC East title. The Washington Football Team owns a head-to-head tiebreaker after sweeping the Cowboys in 2020. Therefore, should Dallas win, they’ll need their hated rivals from Philadelphia to beat Washington to claim the East.
Even at 5-10, the Giants are in a similar boat as the Cowboys as they can still win the East with a win on Sunday and a Washington loss. With that in mind, here are 100 facts and stats as the Cowboys and Giants close out the regular season looking to see who will be in the catbird seat come Sunday night.
SERIES FACTS (12)
1. The Cowboys are 6-9 for the third time in team history. The 1997 and 2004 teams finished 6-10 and produced the No. 8 and No. 11 overall NFL Draft picks respectively.
2. A win would give Dallas their third 7-9 record in team history, and a Washington loss would give them their first playoff qualification with a losing record.
3. Since 1990, only the 2010 Seattle Seahawks have qualified for the playoffs with a losing record, winning the NFC West. In 2014, the Carolina Panthers finished 7-8-1 and won the NFC South. Both teams won a wild-card playoff game.
4. The Giants are 5-10 for the fourth time in team history. The 2004 team finished 6-10 by beating the Cowboys.
5. New York has not won the NFC East since 2011, the longest division-winning drought among the four teams. Even Washington has won the NFC East twice since then.
6. Dallas is going for their 24th sweep of the Giants in series history. With 23 sweeps so far, it is the most sweeps against a divisional foe in Cowboys history. For the Giants, it is also the most they have sustained against a divisional opponent since 1960.
7. Dallas is 31-25-1 against the New York Giants on the road. Here is the record broken down by venue:
Yankee Stadium: 7-3-1
Yale Bowl: 2-0
Shea Stadium: 1-0
Giants Stadium: 14-19
MetLife Stadium: 7-3
8. The Cowboys’ 7-3 record against the Giants at MetLife Stadium is the second-best among NFC East opponents:
9. The Cowboys are 2-3 against the Giants in January, including playoffs, with a 1-2 record on the road.
10. The Cowboys are 4-7 in January regular season games with a 2-5 record on the road.
11. The Giants are 5-5 in January regular season games with a 2-3 record at home.
12. Since 1970, the Cowboys have a 67-63 mark in early afternoon games played in the Eastern Time Zone.
ANDY DALTON FACTS (12)
13. Among quarterbacks with at least eight starts, Dalton has the fifth-lowest passing yards per game at 192.6.
14. 6.5% of Dalton’s passes have been dropped, tied with Aaron Rodgers for the most in the NFL.
15. For whatever it is worth, Dalton has 78.9% “on target throws,” according to Pro Football Reference, tied with Josh Allen for the ninth-most in the NFL.
16. Dalton has been pressured on 16.2% of his drop backs, the sixth-most in the NFL.
17. Dalton has 2.3 seconds of pocket time, tied for the fourth-most in the league.
18. Dalton is now tied with Ben DiNucci for the most runs out of the run-pass option for the Cowboys with two.
19. Dalton has 10 passes out of the run-pass option. Dak Prescott still leads the way for Dallas with 32, which are also the 11th-most in the NFL.
20. Dalton has had 50 passes out of play-action. Prescott still leads the way with 58.
21. Dalton is tied with Joe Burrow for the 10th-lowest yards per pass attempt at 6.7.
22. Dalton has the ninth-lowest intended air yards per pass attempt at 7.0.
23. Dalton is tied with Drew Lock and Justin Herbert for the sixth-lowest completed air yards per pass attempt at 3.5.
24. Dalton is tied with Daniel Jones for the eighth-lowest yards per completion at 10.3.
DANIEL JONES FACTS (8)
25. Jones has the seventh-lowest yards per pass attempt at 6.4.
26. Jones is tied with Cam Newton for the fifth-lowest passer rating at 78.9.
27. Jones has been sacked 43 times, the fourth-most in the league.
28. Among quarterbacks with at least 10 starts, Jones’ nine passing touchdowns are the third-fewest behind Cam Newton (five) and Sam Darnold (eight).
29. Jones is tied with Taysom Hill, Lamar Jackson, and Carson Wentz for the second-most fumbles in the league with 10.
30. Jones is tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Mullens, and Russell Wilson for the most red zone interceptions with three.
31. Jones is tied for the ninth-most sacks on first down with 10.
32. Jones’ 79.0 passer rating on first down is the sixth-lowest in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 80 pass attempts.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS (11)
33. Elliott has the fifth-most carries in the NFL with 230.
34. Elliott has taken the sixth-most first down carries in the league with 133.
35. Among running backs with at least 100 first down carries, Elliott’s 4.44 yards per carry are the 11th-most in the league.
36. Elliott’s 937 rushing yards are the eighth-most in the NFL.
37. Elliott’s 590 rushing yards on first down are the seventh-most in the league.
38. If Elliott gains 63 yards, he will join Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett as the only Cowboys running backs with at least four 1,000-yard rushing seasons through their first five seasons.
39. Elliott is tied with Jonathan Taylor for the third-most first downs on the ground with 59.
40. Among running backs with at least 200 carries, Elliott’s 4.1 yards per carry are the third-lowest (eight qualifiers).
41. Among running backs, Elliott still leads the NFL with six fumbles. Dalvin Cook is second with five.
42. Elliott has the 11th-most rushing yards per game at 66.9. The Patriots’ Damien Harris is at No. 10 at 69.1.
43. Even if Elliott hits the century mark rushing, he will finish 2020 with the fewest 100-yard games of his career (two through Week 16).
MIKE MCCARTHY FACTS (9)
44. McCarthy is 9-3 in Week 17s with a 4-2 record on the road.
45. McCarthy is 13-9 in January, including playoffs, with a 7-5 record on the road.
46. McCarthy is 15-12 against the NFC East with a 7-8 record on the road.
47. McCarthy is 6-4 against the Giants with a 3-2 record on the road.
48. McCarthy is 1-2 against the Giants in January with all of those games being played at home in the playoffs.
49. McCarthy has extended a winning streak 54 of 81 times.
50. McCarthy is 23-10 against rookie coaches with a 10-4 record on the road.
51. McCarthy is 10-20-1 with a backup quarterback with a 5-7 record on the road.
52. McCarthy is 48 for 95 on challenges for his career with a 1 for 2 record in 2020.
JOE JUDGE FACTS (5)
53. With a loss, Judge would become the first Giants rookie coach since Bill Parcells to be swept by the Cowboys.
54. Judge is the third New York coach to have a 5-10 record in his first season, and the first rookie coach to do so.
55. Judge is 2-0 against the NFC East at home with wins against Washington (Oct. 18) and Philadelphia (Nov. 15).
56. If the Giants win, and Washington loses, Judge would be the first New York rookie coach to win the division since Jim Fassel in 1997.
57. Judge is 0 for 1 on challenges when his challenge of an onside kick against the Cleveland Browns in Week 15 was upheld.
BROADCAST FACTS (9)
58. CBS has broadcast the most games in the series with 38, but in 2016, NBC surpassed ABC as the third-highest broadcaster of the Cowboys vs Giants rivalry:
59. The Cowboys have completed a series sweep of a NFC East opponent 25 of 45 times on FOX.
60. Dallas is 145-132 all-time on FOX, including the postseason.
61. The Giants are 151-143 all-time on FOX, including the postseason.
62. Overall, the Cowboys are 15-16 against the Giants on FOX.
63. The Cowboys are 42-49 when Buck does play-by-play for their games.
64. Dallas is 48-55 when Aikman does color commentary for their games.
65. This is the 41st early game in the series and the 16th to be broadcast by FOX.
66. The Cowboys are 7-11 in season finales on FOX with a 4-8 record on the road.
BRAD ALLEN FACTS (11)
67. This week’s referee is Brad Allen. The Cowboys are 1-4 with Allen making the calls. Here are the results:
2015 – @NO, 20-26 – L-OT
2015 – @GB, 7-28 – L
2016 – @GB, 30-16 – W
2017 – @DEN, 17-42 – L
2020 – @RAV, 17-34 – L
68. The Cowboys have had fewer penalties than the opposition 2 of 5 times with Allen:
2015 – NO: 8/64; DAL: 6/30
2015 – GB: 8/69; DAL: 6/30
2016 – GB: 5/23; DAL: 7/60
2017 – DEN: 8/61; DAL: 8/69
2020 – RAV: 4/23; DAL: 7/58
69. Allen has the eighth-lowest home team winning percentage at just .467.
70. Allen is tied for the eighth-lowest percentage of home teams with fewer penalties at .467 as well.
71. The Giants are 2-5 with Allen:
2015 – ATL, 20-24 – L
2016 – @MIN, 10-24 – L
2017 – KC, 12-9 – W-OT
2017 – PHI, 29-34 – L
2018 – @CLT, 27-28 – L
2019 – @NE, 14-35 – L
2020 – WAS, 20-19 – W
72. The Giants have had fewer penalties 5 of 7 times with Allen:
2015 – ATL: 6/65; NYG: 6/35
2016 – MIN: 6/37; NYG: 8/69
2017 – KC: 9/87; NYG: 5/48
2017 – PHI: 7/44; NYG: 5/67
2018 – CLT: 6/29; NYG: 6/24
2019 – NE: 3/20; NYG: 5/40
2020 – WAS: 8/50; NYG: 4/30
73. Allen’s games have the 10th-most sacks per game with 4.1.
74. Allen calls the second-fewest offensive holding calls per game at 1.0.
75. The Cowboys have yet to challenge one of Allen’s calls and neither has Replay Assistant. But opponents are 1 for 1.
76. The Giants have gone 0 for 4 challenging Allen. Opponents are 0 for 1. Replay Assistant has not been a factor.
77. Allen has the fourth-lowest challenge overturn rate at .333 (3 of 9).
MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (23)
78. New York has the second-worst red zone conversion rate at 45.0%.
79. The Giants are tied with the Denver Broncos for the second-fewest red zone trips with 40.
80. Dallas has the fourth-lowest red zone conversion rate at 52.0%.
81. New York has the fifth-worst third down conversion rate at 37.7%.
82. Dallas still has the third-highest turnover percentage per drive at 14.9%.
83. The Giants score on 33.5% of their drives, the sixth-lowest in the league.
84. The Giants average the second-fewest points per game at 17.1. Only the New York Jets average fewer at 15.3.
85. The Cowboys and Giants are tied with the Rams, Saints, and Seahawks for the ninth-most takeaways with 21.
86. The Giants have generated 150 pressures, the eighth-most in the NFL.
87. The Cowboys have generated 124 pressures, the 10th-most in the NFL.
88. Opponents have compiled a 100.0 passer rating against the Cowboys defense, the seventh-highest in the NFL.
89. The Cowboys are tied with the Houston Texans for the most yards per carry surrendered at 5.0.
90. The Cowboys give up the most rushing yards in the NFL with 161.1 per game.
91. The Giants are tied with the Chicago Bears for the eighth-fewest yards per carry surrendered at 4.1.
92. New York gives up 52.7% red zone conversions, the third-fewest in the NFL.
93. The Giants have allowed 55 red zone trips, the 10th-most in the league.
94. Dallas linebacker Jaylon Smith has the second-most combined tackles in the NFL with 144.
95. New York linebacker Blake Martinez is tied with Tampa Bay’s Devin White for the third-most combined tackles with 140.
96. The Cowboys have three players with three forced fumbles including defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, defensive end Randy Gregory, and safety Donovan Wilson.
97. Giants cornerback James Bradberry has the fourth-most pass breakups with 17. He is also tied with Cowboys rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs for the 14th-most interceptions with three.
98. The Cowboys are 2-3 on Jan. 3. Here are the results:
1970 – @SF, 17-10 – W*
1982 – @MIN, 27-31 – L
2003 – @CAR, 10-29 – L*
2009 – PHI, 24-0 – W
2015 – WAS, 23-34 – L
99. The Giants are 0-3 on Jan. 3. Here are the results:
1981 – @SF, 24-38 – L*
2009 – @MIN, 7-44 – L
2015 – PHI, 30-35 – L
100. The Cowboys have three birthdays to celebrate on Jan. 3:
1965 – Danny Stubbs, DE, 1990-91
1993 – Antwaun Woods, DT, 2018-present
1996 – Chris Covington, LB, 2018-19
What are your favorite Week 17 memories for the Cowboys? Share ‘em with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.