By: Edward Egros

Bills at Cowboys Preview

Pasted GraphicSERIES FACTS (10)

This is the seventh time the Cowboys have started 6-5. 3/6 of those previous teams made the playoffs with the 2018 the lone one that won the division.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, 68/124 teams that started 7-5 made the playoffs with 24 of them having won the division.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, 36/124 teams that started 6-6 made the playoffs with 13 of those teams having won the division.

This is the sixth time in Bills’ history the team has started 8-3. All five of those teams made the playoffs with two of them having won the division.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, 79/81 teams that started 9-3 made the playoffs with 56 of them having won the division.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last reformatted, 83/102 teams that started 8-4 made the playoffs with 44 of those teams having won the division.

The Cowboys are 8-4 against the Bills, including Super Bowls, with a 4-1 record at home. Here is the breakdown by venue:
Texas Stadium: 3-1
AT&T Stadium: 1-0

The Cowboys are 4-1 against the Bills in November with a 4-0 record at home.

The Cowboys are 27-22 against current AFC East teams with a 14-10 record at home.
Dolphins: 4-5
Bills: 4-1
Patriots: 4-2
Jets: 2-2

The Bills are 1/8 teams the Cowboys have not played on Thanksgiving. The others are the Falcons, Lions, Colts, Jaguars, Bengals, Ravens, and Texans.


DAK PRESCOTT FACTS (10)

Prescott is tied with Kirk Cousins for the fourth-most touchdown passes in the NFL with 21.

Prescott’s 3,433 passing yards are the most in the NFL.

Prescott is tied with Matthew Stafford and Cousins for the third-highest yards per pass attempt overall at 8.6.

Stafford actually edges out Prescott for passing yards per game by 0.3 yards: 312.4 to 312.1.

Prescott’s 100.8 passer rating is the 10th-highest in the NFL.

Prescott’s 2.9 sack percentage is the lowest in the league.

Prescott is 1/7 quarterbacks to have thrown at least 40 red zone passes this season without an interception.

Prescott is tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Brady, Jacoby Brissett, Andy Dalton, and Russell Wilson for the fourth-most red zone rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with three.

Prescott’s 45 third down conversions in the air are tied with Deshaun Watson for the fourth-most in the NFL.



JOSH ALLEN FACTS (10)

Allen has the most red zone rushing touchdowns by a quarterback this season with seven.

Allen is the 10th different Bills quarterback to face the Cowboys. Here is how the other nine fared, including postseason:

Dennis Shaw: 0-1
Gary Marangi: 0-1
Joe Ferguson: 0-1
Jim Kelly: 0-1
Todd Collins: 1-0
Drew Bledsoe: 0-1
Trent Edwards: 0-1
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 0-1
Tyrod Taylor: 1-0

Allen is the fourth quarterback drafted from Wyoming and the only one to play in an NFL game.

Allen is the first Bills quarterback since Jim Kelly in 1995 to lead the Bills to an 8-3 record and start all of the first 11 games.

Allen is tied with Jacoby Brissett, Derek Carr, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady for the 14th-most touchdown passes with 15.

Allen is tied with Kyler Murray for the 10th-lowest yards per pass attempt in the league at 6.9.

Allen is tied with Deshaun Watson for the second-most fourth quarter comebacks in the NFL with three, and he is in sole possession of the second-most game-winning drives with four.

Allen has the third-most rushing yards for a quarterback this season with 387.

Allen is tied with Gardner Minshew and Jameis Winston for the second-most fumbles in the league with 11.

Allen’s seven rushing touchdowns are tied with running backs Nick Chubb, Josh Jacobs, Todd Gurley, and Ezekiel Elliott for the sixth-most in the NFL.

EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS (8)

Elliott is 81 yards away from his third 1,000-yard rushing season. If he gets to that mark, he will join Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett as the only Cowboys running backs with three-plus seasons of 1,000 yards rushing.

Elliott hasn’t had a play go over 30 yards since Nov. 18, 2018, when he caught a 34-yard pass against the Atlanta Falcons. He hasn’t had a 30-plus or greater rush since Nov. 11, 2018, when he had two (35, 32) against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Elliott has the third-most carries this season with 215.

Elliott is tied with Carson Wentz for the fourth-most third down conversions on the ground with 11.

Among running backs with at least 15 third down carries, Elliott’s 5.80 yards per carry is the highest in the NFL.

Elliott has the second-highest rushing yards on third down with 87. Only Chris Carson’s 96 are higher.

Elliott has gained 18 first downs on first down carries, the fourth-most overall.

Elliott has the most first down carries in the NFL with 139.


JASON GARRETT FACTS (10)

This is the 40th week of Garrett’s career that the Cowboys have been in undisputed first place in the NFC East.

Garrett is 4-7 against the AFC East with a 3-2 record at home.

Garrett’s 1-1 record against the Bills is his second-best record against an AFC East opponent:
Dolphins: 3-0
Buffalo: 1-1
Patriots: 0-3
Jets: 0-3

This is the ninth Thanksgiving game of Garrett’s coaching tenure. Here is how his teams have performed in the pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving games:

2010 – DET(W), NO (L)
2011 – @WAS (W-OT), MIA (W)
2012 – CLE (W-OT), WAS (L)
2013 – @NYG (W), RAI (W)
2014 – @NYG (W), PHI (L)
2015 – @MIA (W), CAR (L)
2016 – RAV (W), WAS (W)
2017 – PHI (L), SDG (L)
2018 – @ATL (W), WAS (W)


Garrett is 4-5 on Thanksgiving. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches on Turkey Day:

Tom Landry: 14-6-1
Jimmy Johnson: 3-2
Barry Switzer: 3-1
Wade Phillips: 3-0
Bill Parcells: 2-2
Jason Garrett: 4-5
Chan Gailey: 1-1
Dave Campo: 1-2


All-time, as a player and a coach, Garrett is 12-5 on Thanksgiving.



Garrett is 26-16 in November with a 13-11 record at home.

Garrett owns the most 6-5 starts in team history with three.

Garrett kicks a field goal 82.5% of the time on fourth down in the red zone.

Garrett is 23/44 on challenges for his career with a 2/3 record in 2019.


SEAN MCDERMOTT FACTS (10)

McDermott, Joe Collier, and Wade Phillips are the only Bills head coaches to lead their teams to the playoffs in their first seasons with the team.

McDermott is facing the Cowboys for the first time. Here is how other Bills coaches fared, including postseason:
Harvey Johnson: 0-1
Lou Saban: 0-1
Chuck Knox: 0-1
Kay Stephenson: 1-0
Marv Levy: 0-1
Gregg Williams: 0-1
Dick Jauron: 0-1
Chan Gailey: 0-1
Rex Ryan: 1-0

McDermott is 2-1 against the NFC East with a 1-0 record on the road.

McDermott is 9-13 on the road.

McDermott is 0-1 on Thursdays. His lone game was Week 9 of 2017 when the Bills lost 34-21 at the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football.

McDermott is 3/14 on challenges for his career with a 2/4 overturn rate in 2019.

McDermott challenged possible pass interference in Week 4 against the Patriots and lost. He has not challenged since.

The Bills are tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the ninth-most penalties in the league with 85.

McDermott is 1/10 former Andy Reid assistants who went on to become NFL head coaches.

McDermott is 1/7 former Reid assistants who have led their teams to the playoffs. He joins John Harbaugh and Matt Nagy as the only ones to do it in their first seasons.


THANKSGIVING FACTS (10)

Since 2006, when Thursday NFL games ramped up, home teams are 100-77 on Thursdays, including Thanksgiving games.

Only the Detroit Lions have played more Thursday games (79) than the Dallas Cowboys (56). However, the Cowboys have the most wins with 38.

The Dallas Cowboys are 31-19-1 on Thanksgiving. Here is a breakdown by decade:

1960s: 3-0-1
1970s: 5-3
1980s: 6-4
1990s: 7-3
2000s: 6-4
2010s: 4-5


Buffalo is 3-4-1 on Thanksgiving.


Here’s a list of Cowboys quarterback Thanksgiving records:

Most Touchdowns: 5 (Romo, ’06)
Most Passing Yards: 455 (Aikman, ’98)
Most Completions: 37 (Romo, ’12)
Most Attempts: 62 (Romo, ’12)
Best Completion Percentage: 77.4 (White, ’83)
Most INTs: 3 (Morton, ‘69; White, ’87; Aikman, ’89; Carter, ’03; Romo, ‘15)
Best Passer Rating: Tony Romo, 148.9
Worst Passer Rating: Roger Staubach, 1.7
Youngest Starter: Troy Aikman, 23 years, 2 days
Oldest Starter: Jon Kitna, 38 years, 65 days


Here’s a list of the Top 10 Cowboys Passer Ratings on Thanksgiving:
1. Tony Romo — 148.9 (2006)
2. Roger Staubach — 141.4 (1971)
3. Dak Prescott — 121.6 (2018)
4. Tony Romo — 121.2 (2009)
5. Tony Romo — 113.7 (2008)
6. Troy Aikman — 113.0 (1995)
7. Don Meredith — 110.0 (1967)
8. Jason Garrett — 109.6 (1994)
9. Danny White — 109.2 (1983)
10. Dak Prescott — 108.9 (2016)


In 1975 and 1977, the St. Louis Cardinals replaced the Cowboys as a Thanksgiving game host with unfavorable results. Even St. Louis-area high school football was a bigger draw than the Cardinals on Thanksgiving, thus moving the game back to Dallas.

The longest Thanksgiving winning streak the Cowboys had was from 1980 to 1985. Their longest losing streak is from 1986 to 1989.

The Cowboys’ biggest Thanksgiving win was a 51-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

The Cowboys were shutout by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1989 and then pitched their own against the Miami Dolphins in 1999. Aikman started both contests.


BROADCAST FACTS (13)

The Cowboys are 18-8-1 on CBS on Thanksgiving. Here is how they fare on all networks involved since 1966:

CBS: 18-8-1
FOX: 8-5
NBC: 5-6


The Detroit Lions are 5-6 on FOX on Thanksgiving. Here is how they have performed on all networks involved:

NBC: 11-4
Dumont: 2-0
ABC: 1-0
FOX: 5-6
CBS: 11-22-2


Since CBS took over the AFC package, the Dallas Cowboys are 24-16 on that network. Overall, the Cowboys are 291-193-6 on CBS.

The Cowboys are 20-13 when Nantz calls their games, playoffs included.

Dallas is 2-3 when Romo calls the action.

Troy Aikman was the first former Cowboys player to cover a Thanksgiving game on Nov. 28, 2002 when he was with FOX. Dallas beat Washington 27-20.

The Cowboys have the most Thanksgiving game awards with 27. Here is a breakdown by network:

CBS (All-Iron): 11 – Dexter Coakley, Tony Romo (3), Chris Canty, DeMarcus Ware, Terence Newman, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, and Lance Dunbar.

CBS (Madden Turkey Leg): 7 – Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and the Dallas offensive line

FOX (Galloping Gobbler): 6 – Emmitt Smith, Julius Jones, Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, Dak Prescott (2016), Ezekiel Elliott (2016)

FOX (Madden Turkey Leg): 2 – Emmitt Smith and Jason Garrett

FOX (Game Ball): 1 – Amari Cooper


BILL VINOVICH FACTS (14)

This week’s referee is Bill Vinovich. Dallas is 7-5 with Vinovich. Here are the results:

2004 – @CIN, 3-26 – L
2004 – WAS, 13-10 – W
2005 – PHI, 33-10 – W
2006 – Colts, 21-14 – W
2012 – @CIN, 20-19 – W
2013 – @DET, 30-31 – L
2014 – @NYG, 31-28 – W
2015 – NYG, 27-26 – W
2015 – @TB, 6-10 – L
2016 – @WAS, 27-23 – W
2017 – PHI, 9-37 – L
2018 – HTX, 16-19 – L-OT



The Cowboys have had fewer penalties than their opposition 7/12 times with Vinovich:

2004 – CIN: 4/20; DAL: 7/46
2004 – WAS: 8/69; DAL: 1/13
2005 – PHI: 8/54; DAL: 5/48
2006 – Colts: 5/35; DAL: 7/53
2012 – CIN: 8/70; DAL: 6/49
2013 – DET: 8/61; DAL: 2/31
2014 – NYG: 5/30; DAL: 7/63
2015 – NYG: 5/44; DAL: 3/35
2015 – TB: 7/62; DAL: 6/68
2016 – WAS: 8/51; DAL: 6/39
2017 – PHI: 3/30; DAL: 2/10
2018 – HTX: 5/25; DAL: 7/72


Vinovich is tied for the fifth-lowest home team winning percentage in the NFL:
Alex Kemp: .727
Carl Cheffers: .700
Brad Allen: .600
John Hussey: .600
Ron Torbert: .600
Jerome Boger: .600
Scott Novak: .591
Walt Anderson: .546
Shawn Smith: .546
Clete Blakeman: .500
Tony Corrente: .500
Craig Wrolstad: .500
Bill Vinovich: .500
Brad Rogers: .400
Adrian Hill: .400
Shawn Hochuli: .364
Clay Martin: .273


Vinovich is tied for the second-lowest percentage of home teams having fewer penalties:
Scott Novak: .818
Clay Martin: .727
Tony Corrente: .700
Clete Blakeman: .600
Shawn Smith: .546
Alex Kemp: .546
Adrian Hill: .500
Brad Rogers: .500
Brad Allen: .500
Ron Torbert: .500
Craig Wrolstad: .500
John Hussey: .500
Walt Anderson: .455
Jerome Boger: .400
Carl Cheffers: .400
Bill Vinovich: .400
Shawn Hochuli: .364

The Bills are 1-6 with Vinovich. Here are the results:
2005 – @NO, 7-19 – L
2012 – @HTX, 9-21 – L
2013 – @TB, 6-27 – L
2014 – @HTX, 17-23 – L
2016 – @RAI, 24-38 – L
2017 – @KC, 16-10 – W
2018 – @GB, 0-22 – L



The Bills have had fewer penalties with Vinovich 4/7 times:
2005 – NO: 4/26; BUF: 12/79
2012 – HTX: 7/42; BUF: 3/15
2013 – TB: 8/76; BUF: 11/114
2014 – HTX: 8/90; BUF: 8/40
2016 – RAI: 7/65; BUF: 8/73
2017 – KC: 6/50; BUF: 6/50
2018 – GB: 5/60; BUF: 3/20

Vinovich’s games have the highest sack average in the NFL:
Vinovich: 6.7
Hill: 6.5
Smith: 6.3
Anderson: 6.0
Allen: 5.8
Corrente: 5.5
Boger: 5.4
Kemp: 5.4
Rogers : 5.2
Martin: 5.2
Cheffers: 4.8
Hussey : 4.5
Blakeman: 4.4
Wrolstad: 4.8
Novak: 4.2
Torbert: 4.0
Hochuli: 3.5


Vinovich calls the lowest number of offensive holding calls per game:
Cheffers: 5.1
Torbert: 4.1
Rogers: 3.8
Corrente: 3.7
Hill: 3.5
Allen: 3.4
Hochuli: 3.4
Boger: 3.3
Anderson: 3.2
Wrolstad: 3.2
Kemp: 3.1
Smith: 2.9
Martin: 2.6
Novak: 2.5
Hussey: 2.1
Vinovich: 1.7

Under Vinovich, the Cowboys have won 2/7 of their coaches challenges compared to their opponents winning 3/6 coaches challenges. Additionally, Replay Assistant is 2/7 on challenges with only two of those rulings benefiting the Cowboys.

The Bills have won challenges 2/2 times under Vinovich with opponents going 0/1. Replay Assistant is 1/3 with two of those decisions favoring the Bills.

Vinovich has the sixth-highest challenge overturn rate in the league:
Kemp: .600 (6/10)
Blakeman: .600 (6/10)
Allen: .231 (3/13)
Anderson: .333 (4/12)
Novak: .600 (6/10)
Vinovich: .462 (6/13)
Corrente: .429 (3/7)
Torbert : .429 (3/7)
Smith: .400 (2/5)
Hussey : .400 (4/10)
Boger: .333 (1/3)
Cheffers: .333 (1/3)
Rogers: .250 (2/8)
Hill: .167 (1/6)
Hochuli: .143 (1/7)
Wrolstad: .111 (1/9)
Martin: .091 (1/11)


Vinovich is tied for the second-highest overturn rate on challenges related to pass interference:
Cheffers: 1.000 (1/1)
Vinovich: .400 (2/5)
Anderson: .400 (2/5)
Kemp: .200 (1/5)
Smith: .000 (0/1)
Hill: .000 (0/2)
Hussey: .000 (0/2)
Novak: .000 (0/2)
Blakeman; .000 (0/2)
Boger: .000 (0/2)
Corrente: .000 (0/3)
Torbert : .000 (0/3)
Hochuli: .000 (0/4)
Rogers: .000 (0/4)
Wrolstad: .000 (0/4)
Allen: .000 (0/7)
Martin: .000 (0/8)


Vinovich has not only refereed a Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLIX), but also a NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament game in 2007 between Illinois and Virginia Tech.

Just before the ’07 season, a heart condition forced Vinovich to retire from being an on-field official and go upstairs and serve as Ed Hochuli’s replay official from 2007-11.


MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (5)

A sack would give Robert Quinn 10.5 for the year, the most since 2014 when he achieved that same figure for the St. Louis Rams.

The Bills defense has the third-lowest opposing passer rating at 76.8.

The Cowboys are 7-1 on Nov. 28. Here are the results:
1965 – @WAS, 31-34 – L
1968 – WAS, 29-20 – W
1974 – WAS, 24-23 – W
1985 – CRD, 35-17 – W
1991 – PIT, 20-10 – W
1996 – WAS, 21-10 – W
2002 – WAS, 27-20 – W
2013 – RAI, 31-24 – W


The Bills are 4-4 on Nov. 28. Here are the results:
1968 – @RAI, 10-13 – L
1971 – NE, 27-20 – W
1977 – @RAI, 13-34 – L
1982 – CLT, 20-0 – W
1993 – @KC, 7-23 – L
1999 – NE, 17-7 – W
2004 – @SEA, 38-9 – W
2010 – PIT, 16-19 – L-OT


The Cowboys have three birthdays to celebrate on Nov. 28:
1953 – Jim Jensen, RB, 1976
1963 – Loren Snyder, QB, 1987
1974 – Jason Ferguson, DT, 2005-07