By: Mark Lane

Cowboys at Falcons

SERIES FACTS (11)

The Cowboys are 5-3 for the 11th time in franchise history. 7/10 of the previous teams made the playoffs with five of those teams having won the division.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last realigned, 98/150 teams that started 5-3 made the playoffs with 48 of those teams having won the division.

This is the eighth time the Falcons have started 4-4. 2/7 of their previous teams made the playoffs with none of them having made the playoffs.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last realigned, 53/162 teams that started 4-4 made the playoffs with 18 having won the division.

Atlanta is on a two-game winning streak against the Cowboys, their fourth in the series. Comparatively, Dallas has strung together five multi-game winning streaks against Atlanta.

The Cowboys are 7-6 in Atlanta. Here is a breakdown by venue:
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium: 4-3
Georgia Dome: 3-3

The Cowboys are 10-19 when playing their first game in each of the current NFL venues.

The Cowboys are 9-4 against the Falcons when they have the better record with a 5-3 record on the road.

Dallas is 1-4 against the Falcons in November with a 0-4 record on the road.

The Cowboys are 28-29 in late afternoon games in the Eastern Time Zone.

Atlanta is 9-7 in late afternoon home games against teams from the Central Time Zone.


DAK PRESCOTT FACTS (12)

Prescott is facing the Falcons for the first time. Here is how other Cowboys quarterbacks have fared in their first starts against Atlanta:

Don Meredith: 1-0
Craig Morton: 1-0
Roger Staubach: 1-0
Danny White: 1-0
Steve Pelluer: 1-0
Steve Beuerlein: 1-0
Tony Romo: 1-0
Troy Aikman: 0-1
Babe Laufenberg: 0-1
Bernie Kosar: 0-1
Ryan Leaf: 0-1
Quincy Carter: 0-1
Brandon Weeden: 0-1


Prescott’s record is 18-6 with a 9-3 record on the road. However, he has a 101.1 passer rating on the road versus 103.4 at home.

Prescott is 5-0 in November with a 121.4 passer rating.

Prescott has a career 102.4 passer rating. Here is a breakdown by snap type and huddle type with 2017 totals in parenthesis:
Huddle: 101.9 (98.9)
No huddle: 108.0 (86.7)
Shotgun: 98.7 (95.6)
Under center: 114.8 (103.7)


On first down Prescott has a 107.1 passer rating with 7.6 yards per attempt. His most targeted receiver is Dez Bryant with 29. Through the first eight games of 2016, Prescott had a 106.9 passer rating and 8.0 yards per target on first down with Jason Witten his most targeted receiver.

On second down Prescott has a 103.0 passer rating with 7.4 yards per attempt and Bryant his most targeted receiver with 25 passes. Through the first eight games of 2016, Prescott has a 106.9 passer rating and 8.0 yards per attempt with Cole Beasley his most targeted receiver with 21.

On third down Prescott has an 87.8 passer rating on third down with a 5.9 yards per attempt and Bryant his most targeted receiver with 18. Through the first eight games of 2016, Prescott was 96.2 with 7.9 yards per attempt and Beasley his most targeted receiver with 19 passes.

Prescott has a 63.9 percent completion percentage on third down, the 10th-best in the league with a minimum of 20 attempts.

With a minimum of 20 pass attempts, Prescott has the 15th-best passer rating on third down at 87.8.

Prescott’s 11 rushing attempts on third down are the fifth-most for a quarterback in 2017.

Prescott is tied with Jacoby Brissett, Marshawn Lynch, and Derrick Henry for the most rushing touchdowns on third down with two.

With a minimum of 100 pass attempts, Prescott is tied for the fifth-fewest sacks in the league with 10.


MATT RYAN FACTS (12)

This is the third time in Ryan’s career he has started at .500 or lesser at the midway point of the season.

Ryan is seventh in the league with 269.6 passing yards per game.

Ryan is tied for the eighth-most interception in the league with seven.

Ryan is seventh in the NFL in yards per completion with 12.2 yards.

Ryan is ninth in the NFL in pass completions with 65.6 percent.

Among quarterbacks taken since 1999, Ryan is one of the 8/22 quarterbacks taken within the first three picks of the draft to play in a conference title game.

Ryan is 51-24 at home compared to 40-37 on the road.

Ryan is 56-11 when he has a passer rating of 100.0 or greater.

Ryan is 32-46 when he throws an interception compared to 58-20 when he does not.

Ryan is 71-52 when he gets sacked at least once.

The most times Ryan has been sacked by a Tampa-2 defense was six times on Nov. 29, 2009 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The most interceptions Ryan has thrown against a Tampa-2 defense was two on Dec. 5, 2010 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.



JASON GARRETT FACTS (10)

Garrett is 0-2 against the Falcons. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches:

Tom Landry: 9-3
Barry Switzer: 2-0
Chan Gailey: 1-0
Wade Phillips: 1-0
Bill Parcells: 1-1
Jimmy Johnson: 2-3
Dave Campo: 0-1
Jason Garrett: 0-2


The Falcons are 1/4 teams in the NFL that have defeated Garrett on multiple occasions without a loss to date.

This is the first 5-3 start of Garrett’s career.

Garrett is 23-21 in late afternoon games with a 13-7 record on the road.

Garrett is 22-14 in the Eastern Time Zone with an 8-2 record in November.

Garrett is 19-10 in November with a 9-3 record on the road.

The Cowboys’ 28.25 points per game is the fourth-best in the NFL. It is the second-best in the Garrett era with 2013’s 28.75 holding the top spot.

The Cowboys are tied for the seventh-fewest penalties in the NFL with 51. The total is tied with 2013 and 2016 for the second-fewest in the Garrett era through the first eight games.

Garrett is 19/33 on challenges in his career with a 1/2 mark in 2017.

Garrett is 24-23 without Tony Romo with a 13-9 record on the road.


DAN QUINN FACTS (10)

Quinn is 1-0 against the Cowboys. Here is how he compares to other Falcons head coaches in their first games against Dallas:

Pat Peppler: 1-0
Dan Quinn: 1-0
Marion Campbell: 1-0
Jerry Glanville: 1-0
Leeman Bennett: 0-1
Dan Henning: 0-1
June Jones: 0-1
Dan Reeves: 0-1
Jim Mora: 0-1
Mike Smith: 0-1
Norb Hecker: 0-1
Norm Van Brocklin: 0-1


Quinn is 4-1 against the NFC East with a 2-0 record at home.

Quinn is 2-6 in November with a 1-3 record at home.

Quinn is 8-3 in late afternoon games with a 5-1 record at home.

The Falcons have committed 52 penalties, tied for the 12th-fewest in the NFL. The penalties are the fewest for a Quinn-coached team through the first eight games.

The Falcons have six takeaways, tied with the Bengals for the second-fewest in the NFL. The six takeaways are the fewest for a Quinn-coached team through the first eight games.

Quinn is 1/16 head coaches to guide a team to a Super Bowl in his second year with the team.

Quinn is 9/13 on challenges in his career with a 1/1 mark in 2017.

Quinn is the sixth head coach in Falcons history to lead the team a 4-4 mark. Only Leeman Bennett (1978) and Jerry Glanville (1991) were the only ones to guide the team to the playoffs.

Quinn was the defensive line coach for the 2005-06 Miami Dolphins. That connects him with head coach Jason Garrett (quarterbacks coach), passing-game coordinator Scott Linehan (offensive coordinator), receivers coach Derek Dooley (tight ends), and Director of Pro Scouting Judd Garrett (offensive quality control).


BROADCAST FACTS (9)

This is the seventh game in the series to be broadcast on FOX. Here is a breakdown of games on other networks:

CBS: 15
FOX: 6
ABC: 2
NBC: 1
NFL Network: 1

The Cowboys are 125-117 all-time on FOX.

The Falcons are 154-146 on FOX, including postseason and Super Bowls XXXIII and LI.

Dick Stockton and Al Michaels are tied for doing play-by-play for the most games in this series with three apiece. Aikman will take first place as most games as color analyst with three.

This week’s commentators are Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Buck will tie Al Michaels and Dick Stockton for doing most play-by-play with three apiece while Aikman has already done the most color with four.

The Cowboys are 34-37 when Buck calls their games.

The Falcons are 10-13 when Buck calls their games.

Dallas is 40-43 when Aikman calls their games.

Atlanta is 8-12 all-time when Aikman calls their games.


ED HOCHULI FACTS (10)

This week’s referee is the renowned Ed Hochuli, unofficial arch-referee of the NFL. He has officiated memorable Cowboys games, from the 1993 Thanksgiving game with Miami to the 1995 NFC Championship game, Dallas’ last conference championship game appearance. Dallas is 13-7 when he referees. Here are the results since 1999:

1999 – @NO, 24-31 – L
2000 – CIN, 23-6 – W
2000 – @Titans, 0-31 – L
2001 – WAS, 9-7 – W
2001 – NYG, 20-13 – W
2002 – Titans, 21-13 – W
2002 – PHI, 3-27 – L
2003 – CAR, 24-20 – W
2004 – CLE, 19-12 – W
2004 – PHI, 21-49 – L
2005 – DET, 20-7 – W
2007 – NYG, 45-35 – W
2008 – Ravens, 24-33 – L
2009 – PHI, 34-14 – W
2011 – WAS, 18-16 – W
2011 – @WAS, 27-24 – W-OT
2012 – CLE, 23-20 – W-OT
2013 – @SD, 21-30 – L
2014 – @CHI, 41-28 – W
2015 – PHI, 27-33 – L-OT



Since 1999, when Ed Hochuli has refereed a Cowboys game, Dallas has won the penalty battle 8/19 of the contests:

1999 – NO: 6/32; DAL: 11/86
2000 – CIN: 7/94; DAL: 13/100
2000 – Titans: 7/51; DAL: 7/51
2001 – WAS: 7/60; DAL: 3/22
2001 – NYG: 2/15; DAL: 6/45
2002 – Titans: 6/55; DAL: 2/15
2002 – PHI: 10/67; DAL: 7/69
2003 – CAR: 11/68; DAL: 10/123
2004 – CLE: 6/31; DAL: 11/120
2004 – PHI: 9/59; DAL: 7/50
2005 – DET: 17/129; DAL: 5/40
2007 – NYG: 4/45; DAL: 7/55
2008 – Ravens: 3/19; DAL: 10/86
2009 – PHI: 9/116; DAL: 14/112
2011 – WAS: 4/35; DAL: 6/55
2011 – WAS: 6/59; DAL: 9/48
2012 – CLE: 12/129; DAL: 9/92
2013 – SD: 7/85; DAL: 5/33
2014 – CHI: 9/54; DAL: 8/97
2015 – PHI: 10/70; DAL: 8/58



Hochuli has the fifth-worst home team winning percentage:

Gene Steratore: .875
Pete Morelli: .833
John Hussey: .750
Brad Allen: .714
John Parry: .625
Terry McAulay: .500
Carl Cheffers: .500
Walt Anderson: .500
Walt Coleman: .500
Tony Corrente: .500
Ron Torbert: .500
Bill Vinovich: .444
Ed Hochuli: .429
Jeff Triplette: .375
Clete Blakeman: .375
Jerome Boger: .375
Craig Wrolstad: .286


Under Hochuli, home teams also have the worst percentage of having fewer penalties:

Pete Morelli: .917
Gene Steratore: .750
Walt Anderson: .750
Brad Allen: .714
Bill Vinovich: .667
Ron Torbert: .625
John Hussey: .625
Clete Blakeman: .625
Craig Wrolstad: .571
Jerome Boger: .563
Carl Cheffers: .500
John Parry: .500
Walt Coleman: .500
Tony Corrente: .500
Jeff Triplette: .375
Terry McAulay: .250
Ed Hochuli: .167


Since 1999, the Falcons are 3-10 when Hochuli referees their games:

1999 – SF, 34-29 – W
2000 – @NO, 7-23 – L
2002 – @MIN, 30-24 – W-OT
2006 – @NO, 3-23 – L
2007 – SEA, 44-41 – W
2008 – @CAR, 24-9 – L
2009 – PHI, 7-34 – L
2010 – NO, 14-17 – L
2011 – @CHI, 12-30 – L
2012 – @CAR, 20-30 – L
2013 – @TB, 28-41 – L
2014 – @NYG, 20-30 – L
2015 – @TB, 19-23 – L


Atlanta has had fewer penalties than the opposition 9/13 times:

1999 – SF: 16/118; ATL: 6/40
2000 – NO: 7/50; ATL: 5/73
2002 – MIN: 10/95; ATL: 5/34
2006 – NO: 4/40; ATL: 5/43
2007 – SEA: 9/85; ATL: 5/41
2008 – CAR: 11/90; ATL: 5/45
2009 – PHI: 8/62; ATL: 6/30
2010 – NO: 8/92; ATL: 1/10
2011 – CHI: 8/56; ATL: 9/65
2012 – CAR: 3/10; ATL: 3/15
2013 – TB: 11/121; ATL: 7/45
2014 – NYG: 3/15; ATL: 8/81
2015 – TB: 8/53; ATL: 7/58


Hochuli’s games feature the second-fewest sack totals on average:

Vinovich: 5.9
Coleman: 5.8
Parry: 5.6
Triplette: 5.4
McAulay: 5.1
Cheffers: 5
Corrente: 5
Anderson: 4.9
Steratore: 4.8
Wrolstad: 4.8
Boger: 4.6
Torbert : 4.4
Allen: 4.3
Morelli : 4.2
Blakeman: 4.1
Hochuli: 4
Hussey: 3.5


Hochuli is also tied for the sixth-fewest offensive holding calls per game:

Coleman: 3.4
Corrente: 3.1
Torbert : 3.1
Wrolstad: 3.1
Hussey : 2.9
McAulay: 2.9
Morelli : 2.7
Steratore: 2.5
Parry: 2.4
Cheffers: 2.4
Anderson: 2.4
Hochuli: 2.4
Allen: 2.3
Triplette: 2
Boger: 2
Vinovich: 1.8
Blakeman: 1.4


Under Hochuli, the Cowboys have won 1/3 challenges while the opponents have won 4/8 challenges. Replay Assistant is 0/9 with five decisions favoring Dallas.


Atlanta has won 1/5 challenges with Hochuli with opponents going 1/3. Replay Assistant is 1/2 with only one of those calls benefiting the Falcons.


MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (26)

Jason Witten’s first career game was against the Falcons on Sept. 8, 2003. Targeted four times, Witten caught one pass for 13 yards.

Atlanta’s offense has the fourth-best rushing yards per carry at 4.6.

The Falcons defense has the 13th-most rushing yards per game at 114.5.

The Cowboys lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 11.
Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell are tied for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL with five.

Tevin Coleman has the sixth-best yards per carry in the NFL at 5.0.

Julio Jones is fourth in the league with 658 receiving yards.

Jones is third in the NFL with 82.3 receiving yards per game.

Jones’ one touchdown through eight games is no doubt his worst output through the first eight games to start a season.

The Falcons are 23-15 when Jones has 100 yards or more receiving.

Atlanta is 33-29 when Jones catches five or more passes.

The Cowboys defense is third in the NFL with 27 sacks.

The Cowboys defense leads the NFL in yards lost due to sacks with 226.

Dallas is 1/4 teams with multiple pass rushers in the top-20 of sacks in the NFL.

The Cowboys are tied with the Panthers and Bears for the fifth-fewest interceptions in the NFL with four.

Atlanta’s defense is the second-worst in the NFL with just two interceptions.

The Falcons defense is tied for the 10th-most yards per carry at 4.2.

Atlanta’s defense gives up 114.5 rushing yards per game, the 15th-most in the NFL.

The Dallas defense surrenders 4.4 yards per carry, the eighth-most in the NFL.

The Cowboys defense gives up 101.3 rushing yards per game, the 12th-fewest in the league.

The Falcons give up 21.5 points per game, the 14th-fewest in the NFL. 15th belongs to the Cowboys at 22.3 points per game.

Opposing kickers are perfect on field goals at 6/6 and perfect on extra points at 6/6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Falcons kicker Matt Bryant is 4/5 on field goals and 8/8 on extra points at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Cowboys are 5-4 on Nov. 12. Here are the results:

1961 – @PIT, 7-37 – L
1967 – @NO, 27-10 – W
1972 – Cardinals, 33-24 – W
1978 – @GB, 42-14 – W
1979 – PHI, 21-31 – L
1989 – @Cardinals, 20-24 – L
1995 – SF, 20-38 – L
2000 – CIN, 23-6 – W
2006 – @Cardinals, 27-10 – W


Atlanta is 2-5 on Nov. 12. Here are the results:

1967 – Colts, 7-49 – L
1972 – NO, 36-20 – W
1978 – @NO, 20-17 – W
1989 – @SF, 3-45 – L
1995 – @BUF, 17-23 – L
2000 – @DET, 10-13 – L
2006 – CLE, 13-17 – L


Dallas has four birthdays to celebrate on Nov. 12:

Sam Baker, P, 1962-63 – 11/12/1929
Jimmy Harris, DB, 1961 – 11/12/1934
Cliff Harris, S, 1970-79 – 11/12/1948
Alois Blackwell, RB, 1978-79 – 11/12/1954