Cowboys vs. Broncos (10/21/14)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Cowboys vs. Broncos Super Bowl – which team wins?

The Dallas Cowboys have the best record in the NFL at 6-1. The Denver Broncos have the best record in the AFC at 5-1. Peyton Manning is the 5/2 favorite to win the MVP and DeMarco Murray (3/1) is making a case for himself not only as the best running back in the league but perhaps its most valuable player.

Two of America's favorite football teams appear on a collision course for the Super Bowl. Mark Cuban predicted that the Cowboys would defeat the Broncos in the Super Bowl on Good Morning America. Is the Shark Tank host correct?

After 50,000 simulations of a Dallas vs. Denver title game, the Broncos are the most likely Super Bowl Champions. Peyton Manning wins his second Vince Lombardi Trophy 62.8 percent of the time by an average score of 31-25.

Denver is the No. 1 team in our Power Rankings. The Broncos rank in the top five of every offensive and defensive efficiency category except offensive rushing efficiency. The Broncos average 95.2 rushing yards per game (25th in the NFL).

Jerry Jones' team, despite having the best record in the league, ranks sixth overall in our Power Rankings behind fellow NFC teams Seattle, San Francisco, and Green Bay.

Dallas' greatest strength is controlling the line of scrimmage and running the ball. Denver is able to neutralize that advantage in our simulations as the Broncos rank fifth in defensive rushing efficiency. Denver has only allowed teams to average 74.3 yards per game on the ground.

The Boys lost to Denver as America's favorite team in the Harris Poll mentioned above and in the Super Bowl, Dallas would go down again.

The odds of Dallas and Denver meeting in the Super Bowl are slim, just 6.8 percent. It is the fourth most likely Super Bowl behind Broncos-Packers, Broncos-Seahawks and Broncos-49ers.

NFL Playoff Probabilities

Here are the playoff probabilities for Denver and Dallas including odds to win the division, Wild Card and Super Bowl. For odds on every team click here.

Team Proj. Wins Proj. Losses Div. Win% WC Win% SB Win%
Denver Broncos 12.3 3.7 83.7 13.5 29.2
Dallas Cowboys 10.9 5.1 61.7 19.0 5.5

Rest of Season Fantasy

Can DeMarco Murray handle the workload? That's the question fantasy owners are asking themselves. Murray has been a fantasy stud rushing for over 100 yards in each game and scoring seven touchdowns. Murray has never played a full season and is on pace for 480 attempts, which would shatter the NFL record for rushing attempts in a season of 416 set by Larry Johnson in 2006.

If Murray plays all 16 games, this is what the rest of his fantasy season looks like.

For rest of season projections for every player click here.

Player Rush Yards Rush TDs Rec. Yards Rec. TDs
DeMarco Murray 1,000.3 7.6 224.9 0.9

A full healthy season from Murray results in the third highest rushing total (1,913.3 yards) in the last ten years behind Adrian Peterson's 2,097 yards in 2012 and Chris Johnson's 2,006 yards in 2009.

Other notable rest of season fantasy projections see Peyton Manning finishing with over 4,500 yards and 45 passing touchdowns. Manning is projected to lead the league, once again, in passing touchdowns. Andrew Luck finishes second with an average projection of 40.7 touchdowns, but the Colts young passer leads the NFL in passing yards with 5,028.4.

Before being held out of the end zone for the first time all season against the 49ers, Julius Thomas, with his nine receiving touchdowns through five games, was on pace to break Randy Moss' single season record of 23 receiving touchdowns set in 2007. We project Thomas to lead all players in receiving touchdowns for the season with 17.0 but to fall short of breaking Moss' record.

Player Rush Yards Rush TDs Rec. Yards Rec. TDs Pass Yards Pass TDs
DeMarco Murray 1,913.3 14.6 383.9 0.9
Peyton Manning 4,570.1 45.5
Julius Thomas 853.1 17.0