AccuScore: Romo injury hurts, but not devastating

AccuScore has simulated the next three Dallas Cowboys games to see how much the Tony Romo injury (out four weeks, Week 10 is a bye) might hurt the team. Each game is simulated one play at a time and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages, player statistics and a variety of game-changing scenarios. The Cowboys’ winning percentage declined by an average of 4 percentage points without Romo, but the drop-off with Brad Johnson is not devastating.

Here’s’s analysis of the Romo injury.

Dallas winning % at Rams vs. Bucs at Giants Avg
w/Romo 77% 74% 43% 65%
w/Johnson 74% 69% 40% 61%
Difference -3% -5% -3% -4%

The Cowboys will be more conservative in its offense. Expect them to run the ball more and throw short passes that will help protect Johnson, who has a history of taking a lot of sacks. Over his career, Johnson has been sacked at a rate that is 36 percent more than Romo (rate based on sacks / pass attempts). The more conservative, ball-control offense will result in fewer points (2 to 4 fewer per game), but the team is still a solid favorite in 2 of the 3 games.

Avg simulation score Romo Johnson
at Rams Dal 30, Stl 17 Dal 26, Stl 17
vs. Bucs Dal 26, Tam 20 Dal 23, Tam 19
at Giants NYG 26, Dal 23 NYG 25, Dal 20

Romo is more accurate with more passing yards and touchdowns per simulation in these three games, but Johnson is turning the ball over less than Romo.

Romo 20 32 252 1.98 1.02 0.53
Johnson 19 33 236 1.38 0.86 0.35

While the Giants lead the NFC East in winning the division and making the playoffs, the Cowboys are still forecasted for a second-place finish with a 66 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Playoff % Win division Make playoffs
w/Romo 29% 70%
w/Johnson 25% 66%
Difference -4% -4%

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Updated Monday, Oct 13, 2008