By: Mark Lane

Carolina

Cowboys at Panthers

SERIES FACTS (10)

The Dallas Cowboys are 9-4 against the Carolina Panthers with a 5-2 record on the road. All road games have been played at Bank of America Stadium.

The Cowboys are 67-67-1 in their blue jerseys with a 3-2 record at Carolina.

This is the first time since 2009 the Cowboys will wear their blue jerseys on Opening Day. The Cowboys are 7-3 in their blue jerseys on Opening Day.

The Panthers are the 21st different NFL team the Cowboys will face on Opening Day. In initial Opening Day encounters, the Cowboys are 11-8-1.

The Cowboys are 38-19-1 (.664) on Opening Day while the Panthers are 9-14 (.391).

The Panthers are 1/6 teams to have an undefeated record against Dallas in the playoffs.

Dallas lost their preseason finale 14-6 to the Houston Texans. Here is a comparative list of preseason finale results and subsequent Opening Day results since 2002:
2002: W-L
2003: W-L
2004: W-L
2005: W-W
2006: T-L
2007: L-W
2008: W-W
2009: W-W
2010: W-L
2011: L-L
2012: W-W
2013: L-W
2014: L-L
2015: W-W
2016: L-L
2017: N/A-W


The Panthers lost to the Steelers 39-24. Here is a comparative list of preseason finale results and subsequent Opening Day results since 2002:
2002: W-W
2003: W-W
2004: W-L
2005: L-L
2006: W-L
2007: L-W
2008: L-W
2009: L-L
2010: L-L
2011: L-L
2012: L-L
2013: W-L
2014: W-W
2015: W-W
2016: W-L
2017: L-W

On Opening Days following seasons where the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs, they are 12-12-1.

On Opening Days following seasons where the Panthers made the playoffs, they are 2-5.


DAK PRESCOTT FACTS (10)

Last season, with a minimum of 100 passes, Prescott had the 14th-best passer rating on third down at 84.8.

Prescott had the 17th-highest yards per pass attempt on third down in 2017 at 6.7.

Prescott had the 13th-highest completion percentage last season at 62.9 percent.

Even though former Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn had his way with Chaz Green and Byron Bell last year on Nov. 12, Prescott was sacked a total of 32 times last year, the 14th-most in the NFL.

In 2017, Prescott was tied with Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Trevor Siemian, and Jay Cutler for the 11th-most interceptions on third down with four.

As disastrous as Prescott’s season seemed in 2017, his 13 interceptions were still only tied for the 29th-most in Cowboys single-season annals.

Prescott’s four game-winning drives last year were tied for the most in the NFL.

Prescott was tied with Tyrod Taylor and Cam Newton for the 11th-most third-down conversions last year with 58.

Prescott and Newton were also tied for the 12th-most passing touchdowns last season with 22.

Last year, Prescott and Newton were tied for the most quarterback rushing touchdowns inside the 20-yard line with six.


CAM NEWTON FACTS (10)

Newton’s three game-winning drives last season were tied for the sixth-most in the league last year.

Newton had a 57.6 passer rating on third down last year, the 26th-best in the NFL.

Newton had the 14th-highest yards per pass attempt on third down last year at 7.0.

Newton was tied with Philip Rivers for the 10th-most touchdowns on third-down last season with seven.

Newton led the NFL in interceptions on third down with 12.

Newton threw the second-most interceptions in the NFL last year with 16.

Newton’s 16 interceptions were the second-most of his career, one below the single-season high set in his rookie season.

Newton was tied with Brett Hundley and Eli Manning for the 11th-most sacks on third down with 14 last year.

Last year, Newton led the NFL for the most quarterback rushing touchdowns inside the 10-yard line with five.

Among expansion teams since 1995, Newton is in third place for most wins with 62. A win would tie him with Mark Brunell (Jaguars) for second place. Joe Flacco has the most such wins with 92.



JASON GARRETT FACTS (11)

Garrett is 33-33 against playoff-winning head coaches with a 16-18 record on the road.

When coaching against playoff-winning quarterbacks, Garrett is 25-33.

Garrett is 4-3 in season openers. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches:

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

Garrett is 15-8 in the month of September with a 7-5 record on the road.

Garrett is 23-22 in late afternoon games with a 13-8 record on the road.

Garrett is 24-15 in the Eastern Time Zone.

Garrett is 5-9 against the NFC South with a 2-5 record on the road.

Garrett’s 2-5 record against the NFC South on the road is the worst compared to the other NFC divisions sans the East:
NFC West: 6-3
NFC North: 3-4
NFC South: 2-5

Garrett went 1/5 (.200) on challenges in 2017, the second-worst of his career.

Garrett’s .200 overturn rate on challenges in 2017 was also the sixth-lowest in team history.

Garrett and Ron Rivera are the only full-time head coaches hired in 2011 that are still in the league at their original posts.



RON RIVERA FACTS (10)

Rivera is 1-1 against the Cowboys. Here is how he compares to other Carolina coaches:
Dom Capers: 2-1
Ron Rivera: 1-1
John Fox: 1-6
George Seifert: 0-1

In terms of winning percentage, Rivera’s 1-1 record against the Cowboys is tied for the worst among NFC East opponents:
Washington: 4-0
NY Giants: 2-1
Philadelphia: 2-2
Dallas: 1-1

Rivera is 9-4 against the NFC East with a 4-3 record at home.

Rivera’s 4-3 record at home versus the NFC East is the worst among other divisions sans the South:
NFC West: 6-4
NFC North: 5-3
NFC East: 4-3

Rivera is 3-4 in Opening Day games with a 0-1 record at home.

Rivera’s 3-4 record on Opening Day is the best winning percentage among Panthers head coaches:
Rivera: 3-4
Fox: 3-5
Seifert: 1-2
Capers: 1-3

Rivera is 11-12 in September with an 8-6 record at home.

Rivera is 11-7 in late afternoon games with a 2-1 record at home.

Rivera is 38-33 against playoff-winning coaches with a 19-14 record at home.

The Rivera-Newton coach-quarterback Opening Day combination is one of five current streaks that has been going since 2011. The other four pairs are Tomlin-Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, Lewis-Dalton in Cincinnati, Harbaugh-Flacco in Baltimore, and McCarthy-Rodgers in Green Bay. Only the Baltimore and Green Bay streaks extend beyond 2011.


BROADCAST FACTS (10)

Dallas is 127-119 all-time on FOX.

This is the 15/25 time FOX will broadcast a Dallas Week 1 game since 1994.

The Cowboys are 18-17 in their blue jerseys on FOX.

This is the eighth time FOX will broadcast a game in the Cowboys-Panthers series. Here is the breakdown by network:
FOX: 7
ABC: 2
NBC: 1
NFL Network: 1
ESPN: 1
CBS: 1

This week’s commentators are Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, making it the eighth time this crew has called a Cowboys Opening Day game.

On Sunday, Buck and Aikman will break a tie with Summerall and Aikman for the most games called in the series with two. Strangely, in 2002 Summerall called a game without Madden, and in 2003, Madden called one without Summerall. Therefore, the game will also re-tie Buck with Summerall for most by a play-by-play. However, Madden did four games total as a color commentator, so Aikman will remain in second with now three such games.

The Cowboys are 34-39 when Buck calls their games.

Dallas is 40-45 when Aikman calls their games.

The Cowboys are 5-7 in their blue jerseys when Buck & Aikman call their games.

This is the first time since Dec. 24, 2005 that Buck and Aikman will have the call in this series.


WALT ANDERSON FACTS (12)

This week’s referee is Walt Anderson, a native of Sugar Land, Texas. Anderson has refereed 16 Cowboys games in his career. Dallas is 8-8 with a 2-2 record against Washington. Here are the results:

2005 – @NYG, 10-17 – L 2006 – TB, 38-10 – W 2006* – @SEA, 20-21 – L 2007 – Rams, 35-7 – W 2007 – WAS, 28-23 – W 2008 – WAS, 24-26 – L 2008 – NYG, 20-8 – W 2009 – @DEN, 10-17 – L 2009* – @MIN, 3-34 – L 2011 – @NYG, 31-14 – L 2012 – CHI, 34-18 – L 2012 – @WAS, 18-28 – L 2013 – WAS, 31-16 – W
2013 – @NYG, 24-21 – W
2015 – @WAS, 19-16 – W
2017 – @WAS, 33-19 – W
2017 – @NYG, 30-10 – W

*Playoff game


The Cowboys have won the penalty battle 8/16 times with Walt Anderson:

2005 – NYG: 6/44; DAL: 7/46
2006 – TB: 5/55; DAL: 2/19 2006* – SEA: 3/15; DAL: 8/74 2007 – Rams: 7/50; DAL: 2/10 2007 – WAS: 3/71; DAL: 7/58 2008 – WAS: 5/30; DAL: 3/15 2008 – NYG: 7/40; DAL: 11/108 2009 – DEN: 7/70; DAL: 10/81 2009* – MIN: 8/50; DAL: 2/10 2011 – NYG: 3/28; DAL: 7/43 2012 – CHI: 4/25; DAL: 2/10 2012 – WAS: 2/20; DAL: 1/6 2013 – WAS: 12/104; DAL: 7/80
2013 – NYG: 11/81; DAL: 11/85
2015 – WAS: 9/73; DAL: 8/70
2017 – WAS: 5/32; DAL: 8/89
2017 – NYG: 7/69; DAL: 8/51

*Playoff game


Last season, Anderson was tied for the fourth-lowest home team winning percentage in the NFL:
Pete Morelli: .786
Gene Steratore: .733
Brad Allen: .733
Ron Torbert: .600
John Parry: .600
Jerome Boger: .600
Walt Coleman: .600
John Hussey: .600
Jeff Triplette: .533
Carl Cheffers: .533
Ed Hochuli: .533
Terry McAulay: .500
Tony Corrente: .500
Walt Anderson: .500
Bill Vinovich: .467
Craig Wrolstad: .400
Clete Blakeman: .400


Anderson had the fourth-highest percentage of home teams having fewer penalties in 2017:
Pete Morelli: .821
Gene Steratore: .733
Brad Allen: .733
Walt Anderson: .686
Clete Blakeman: .667
Jerome Boger: .633
Bill Vinovich: .633
Craig Wrolstad: .600
John Hussey: .600
John Parry: .600
Ron Torbert: .533
Tony Corrente: .500
Carl Cheffers: .467
Jeff Triplette: .400
Terry McAulay: .375
Walt Coleman: .333
Ed Hochuli: .333


The Panthers are 9-8 in Anderson’s games.
2003 – @TB, 12-9 – W-OT
2004 – RAI, 24-27 – L
2005 – NE, 27-17 – W
2005 – @ATL, 44-11 – W
2006 – CLE, 20-12 – W
2006 – @PHI, 24-27 – L
2007 – @CRD, 25-10 – W
2007 – SEA, 13-10 – W
2008 – @SDG, 26-24 – W
2008 – TB, 38-23 – W
2009 – MIA, 17-24 – L
2011 – ATL, 23-31 – L
2013 – @NO, 13-31 – L
2014 – ATL, 17-19 – L
2015 – @OTI, 27-10 – W
2016 – @NO, 38-41 – L
2017 – @CHI, 3-17 – L


The Panthers have had fewer penalties than the opposition 11/17 times in Anderson’s games.
2003 – TB: 17/168; CAR: 16/120
2004 – RAI: 8/53; CAR: 8/83
2005 – NE: 12/86; CAR: 6/45
2005 – ATL: 7/70; CAR: 6/55
2006 – CLE: 7/70; CAR: 4/34
2006 – PHI: 8/72; CAR: 7/67
2007 – CRD: 11/101; CAR: 9/65
2007 – SEA: 3/15; CAR: 5/54
2008 – SDG: 2/12; CAR: 6/29
2008 – TB: 5/34; CAR: 4/26
2009 – MIA: 5/30; CAR: 4/35
2011 – ATL: 5/50; CAR: 5/50
2013 – NO: 5/45; CAR: 5/35
2014 – ATL: 5/58; CAR: 1/15
2015 – OTI: 4/30; CAR: 5/45
2016 – NO: 10/126; CAR: 5/51
2017 – CHI: 5/40; CAR: 4/35


Last season, Anderson’s games were tied for the fifth-fewest sacks on average:
Cheffers: 5.3
Boger: 5.2
McAulay: 5.1
Triplette: 5.0
Wrolstad: 5.0
Corrente: 4.9
Vinovich: 4.9
Parry: 4.8
Morelli: 4.7
Coleman: 4.7
Torbert: 4.5
Hochuli: 4.5
Anderson: 4.5
Blakeman: 4.2
Steratore: 4.1
Hussey: 3.9
Allen: 3.5


Anderson’s games averaged 2.6 offensive holding calls per game last year, which were the sixth-most in the NFL:
Torbert: 3.1
Coleman: 2.8
Cheffers: 2.7
McAulay: 2.7
Wrolstad: 2.7
Anderson: 2.6
Parry: 2.5
Hochuli: 2.5
Corrente: 2.4
Hussey: 2.4
Allen: 2.3
Morelli: 2.3
Boger: 2.2
Steratore: 2.1
Triplette: 1.9
Vinovich: 1.5
Blakeman: 1.5

In addition to refereeing NFL games, Anderson is also the Coordinator of Officials for the Big XII.

Walt Anderson was also witness to history as a line judge on Oct. 27, 2002 as Emmitt Smith surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.

The Cowboys are 4/4 on challenges under Anderson while opponents are 1/4. Replay Assistant is 3/5 with none of those decisions having favored the Cowboys.

The Panthers are 2/8 challenging Anderson while opponents are 3/9. Replay Assistant is 2/7 with two of those decisions having benefited Carolina.


MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (28)

The Panthers defense had the third-most sacks in the NFL with 50 in 2017.

The Cowboys defense was tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the 15th-most sacks in the NFL last season with 38.

Dallas and Carolina’s defenses were tied with San Francisco and Denver for the sixth-fewest interceptions in the NFL last year with 10.

The Dallas defense was tied with Tampa Bay for the sixth-highest opposing passer rating with 94.6.

The Panthers defense had the 10th-highest opposing passer rating last year at 92.9.

Carolina had the ninth-worst third-down defense in the NFL in 2017 with a 37.8 percent conversion rate.

Last season, Carolina’s defense was tied for the fifth-most third-down sacks in the NFL with 19.

The Cowboys had the fifth-worst third-down defense in the NFL last year with a 38.9 percent conversion rate.

Last year, Dallas gave up 5.63 yards per play on second down, the sixth-most in the NFL.

Last year, the Panthers gained 4.61 yards per play on second down, the seventh-least in the NFL.

In 2017, the Cowboys produced 119 second-down conversions, the sixth-most in the league.

Last year, the Panthers defense gave up just 87 second-down conversions, the fifth-fewest in the NFL.

Last year, the Cowboys gave up 115 second-down conversions, tied with Atlanta for the fourth-most in the league.

In 2017, the Cowboys ran 159 run plays on second down among their 341, ranking 10th-most running plays in the league.

The Panthers ran 183 run plays among their 362 second down plays, tied with Jacksonville for the most in the NFL last year.

The Cowboys had the seventh-best red zone conversion rate in the NFL in 2017 at 59.6 percent.

Carolina had the 12th-lowest red zone conversion rate in the NFL last year at 51.8 percent.

The Dallas defense had a 57.1 percent red zone conversion rate, the 11th-highest in the NFL.

The Panthers defense had the 14th-lowest red zone conversion rate last year at 51.1 percent.

Dallas and Carolina were tied with Tampa Bay for the 16th-best turnover differential last year at minus-1.

Dallas and Carolina also tied for 16th along with the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans for takeaways last season with 21.
The Cowboys defense was tied with the Ravens, Dolphins, and Falcons for the 16th-best yards per carry in the NFL at 4.1.

The seven rushing touchdowns against the Cowboys were tied with the Panthers and Eagles for the third-fewest in the NFL.

The average drive against the Cowboys lasted 2:47, tied for the eighth-longest in the NFL last year.

This is the first time since Sept. 12, 2010 the Cowboys will roll out someone other than Dan Bailey as their Opening Day kicker.

The Cowboys are 4-3 on Sept. 9. Here are the results:
1979 – @SF, 21-13 – W
1984 – @NYG, 7-28 – L
1985 – WAS, 44-14 – W
1990 – SDG, 17-14 – W
1991 – WAS, 31-33 – L
2001 – TB, 6-10 – L
2007 – NYG, 45-35 – W

The Panthers are 2-1 on Sept. 9. Here are the results:

2001 – @MIN, 24-13 – W
2007 – @RAM, 27-13 – W 2012 – @TB, 10-16 – L


The Cowboys have four birthdays to celebrate on Sept. 9:

1962 – G Derek Kennard, 1994-96
1964 – DT Willie Broughton, 1989-90
1987 – S Andrew Sendejo, 2010
1987 – LB Orie Lemon, 2012