We have already completed our eight divisional previews this year including the NFC East. But in the world of the NFL, things are always changing. In this instance, Tony Romo has a broken bone in his back and is expected to miss an indefinite amount of time. Jason Garrett recently called Romo “day-to-day” although most medical reports expect a 6-10 week recovery time.
So Romo will miss some time, but we don’t know how much. Dak Prescott will be the new starter but we don’t really know how good he is. These two statements make it very hard to project exactly what will happen. Admittedly there is going to be some guesswork and adjustments as we get new information. We do have one tangible piece of evidence though:
The Cowboys Week 1 implied odds of winning dropped from 61.5% to 50% with the news of the Tony Romo injury @LVSuperBook
— Bet Labs Sports (@Bet_Labs) August 29, 2016
This gives us a reasonable estimate for the dropoff in talent between Romo and Dak. The next estimate I had to use was how long Romo would be out. In this instance, I picked the starting quarterback to make his return in Week 9 at Cleveland. Again, this is mostly guesswork but we have to start somewhere. This means that Dak would start 7 games and Romo would start 9 in this scenario. So let’s take a look at the results.
And for comparison’s sake, here was the original Cowboys projection with Romo healthy:
I don’t know about you, but I was surprised by the results. The results dropped, but not as much as I imagined. The most likely result for the Cowboys is now 8-8, only a one game drop from their most likely result of 9-7 when Romo was healthy. This leads to an even more surprising result; the Cowboys are still the favorites to win their division:
Again, this is predicated that Romo ends up playing more games than Dak, and there’s always the chance of a complication and he misses the whole season. And if you actually look at the graph, the spectrum of a Cowboys season span from 2-14 to 14-2. There’s a variety of results that we could see this season in Dallas, but if Tony Romo can come back in a reasonable amount of time, the Cowboys may not be that far behind in the standings after all and could wind up on top by season’s end.