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Week 12 Rundown 2013

Each week we rundown every game using our advanced play-by-play statistics to examine exactly how each game was won and what it means going forward. Our expected points added (EPA) analysis assigns a net point value gained or lost to every single play so we can see exactly on which types of plays teams excelled or failed, and ultimately where games were won. The EPA while each team was on offense gives a more representative measure of offensive efficiency than real life score by separating offensive success from advantages gained or lost by defensive stops, takeaways, and scores. View our complete stats for every play type each week on the Games page.

Because of some paired results like the Broncos and Chiefs both losing and the Lions and Bears both losing, the playoff picture was again not heavily affected in Week 12. The ugly fashion of Denver's loss has lowered their rating almost a full point though, bringing them back closer to the pack. Week 13 is likely to factor more heavily into the playoff picture as the Chiefs and Broncos, and Saints and Seahawks face off for pole position in each conference. Several other games are likely to have big impacts on division and wild card races as well.

(9-2) Saints 17 - 13 Falcons (2-9)
Offensive EPA: NO (7.4) - (3.4) ATL
Both offenses in this game were effective, but limited the other's starting field position which lead to a low scoring game. The Saints were propelled by net passing (12.5) that was above average in all 3 categories, while the Falcons had less effective but solid net passing (7.0) and rushing (2.3). Both teams lost a few more points in the lesser categories than average.

(6-5) Bears 21 - 42 Rams (5-6)
Offensive EPA: CHI (-2.5) - (18.5) STL
Josh McCown was again very good in net passing (10.1) but the Bears weren't able to do much with their large number of kick returns (-4.9), and lost ground on turnovers (-6.7) from a Forte fumble and a failed 4th and goal from the 1. The Rams were about average in net passing (4.7) but had the 2nd best rushing mark (15.8) in the NFL this season thanks to consistently strong RB rushes and a long Tavon Austin TD run. The Chicago rush defense has had major issues for much of the season due to an injury depleted front 7.

(5-6) Jets 3 - 19 Ravens (5-6)
Offensive EPA: NYJ (-18.4) - (-2.4) BAL
Geno Smith started out the season hot and cold, but he's been terrible for 4 straight games now. The Jets had very bad net passing (-7.9) due to totally ineffective normal pass plays (-1.3). They also rushed poorly (-3.5) and lost a fumbled snap (-3.1). The Ravens were near average in net passing (2.3) and continued to rush very poorly (-6.8), but were a solid 4/4 on field goals (2.3) and had success in the lesser categories.

(2-8-1) Vikings 26 - 26 Packers (5-5-1)
Offensive EPA: MIN (8.5) - (8.3) GB
The Vikings were solid in net passing (4.5) and very good in rushing (4.4). They were also positive on kickoff returns (1.4), field goals (2.4), and punting (1.6), but a lost Adrian Peterson fumble (-5.2) was costly. Between Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn, the Packers were actually solid in net passing (4.8) by minimizing negative plays. They also rushed very well (8.4).

(2-9) Jaguars 13 - 6 Texans (2-9)
Offensive EPA: JAC (-4.2) - (-10.8) HOU
The Jaguars were near or just below average in most offensive categories. This was a 3rd straight poor game for Case Keenum following his strong first 2, and was his worst net passing (-8.9) yet due to very poor normal pass plays (-3.3). It seems clear now that his fast start was a fluke due to some lucky success on long 50/50 balls, and Schaub would likely be the better choice going forward. We now project 3.8 wins on the season for both of these teams, tied for worst in the league, with the Texans still the better team but facing a tougher schedule.

(5-6) Steelers 27 - 11 Browns (4-7)
Offensive EPA: PIT (-3.8) - (-18.9) CLE
The Steelers had good passing despite subpar normal pass plays (6.6) by totally avoiding sacks and interceptions, but ran the ball very poorly (-5.9). Pittsburgh has jumped to 2nd most likely in our odds to grab the highly contested #6 seed in the AFC. The Browns net passing (-12.0) was terrible due to 5 sacks (-12.4) including a lost fumble each by Campbell and Weeden, and a Weeden pick-6 (-6.6).

(3-8) Buccaneers 24 - 21 Lions (6-5)
Offensive EPA: TB (-4.5) - (-7.5) DET
The Buccaneers were good in net passing (9.3) again as Mike Glennon has been much better recently. However, they rushed very poorly (-7.1) and went just 1/3 on field goals (-3.9). The Lions offset their very good normal pass plays (18.0) with 4 interceptions (-16.9) including a pick-6, for subpar overall net passing (-0.7). Detroit was also generally below average in other areas.

(5-6) Chargers 41 - 38 Chiefs (9-2)
Offensive EPA: SD (21.9) - (18.9) KC
This game featured the 2 most effective offenses of Week 12, and the teams had remarkably similar stats. The Chiefs had slightly better rushing (4.0) than the Chargers (2.9), but San Diego more than made up the difference with a bit better net passing (19.0) than Kansas City (15.7) and a slight edge in lesser categories. It was by far the best game statistically for the Chiefs offense and worst by their defense. The Chiefs odds to win the division remain about the same due to the Broncos loss, while the Chargers move into pole position by a slim margin in the race for the #6 seed in the AFC.

(8-3) Panthers 20 - 16 Dolphins (5-6)
Offensive EPA: CAR (-1.5) - (-5.5) MIA
Despite all the praise being heaped on Cam Newton lately, he hasn't played any better this season than his previous 2 solid years. Also ignored is the fact that the Panthers were a bit lucky to have converted on a 4th and 10 on their final drive to save the game. Their net passing (-6.0) was terrible, but with some help from Newton they were very good on called runs (6.0). The Dolphins net passing (1.5) was slightly subpar, but their terrible rushing (-5.1) was their main problem.

(7-4) Colts 11 - 40 Cardinals (7-4)
Offensive EPA: IND (-11.1) - (16.2) ARI
The Colts were very poor in net passing due to ineffective normal pass plays (3.4) and a costly pick-6 (-6.2). They also lost points in our turnover category (-3.8) from two 2nd half failed 4th down attempts. Our rating for the Colts has dropped nearly 2 points in the past 3 weeks, and they now are unlikely to make a run in the playoffs. The Cardinals have now had their 2 best net passing (19.9) marks of the season the past 2 weeks, but ran poorly (-3.6).

(5-6) Titans 23 - 19 Raiders (4-7)
Offensive EPA: TEN (4.2) - (0.2) OAK
The Titans put together a 2nd consecutive good net passing (13.8) performance, though their rushing was subpar (-3.2). Tennessee's "if the season ended today" playoff spot sounds good, but realistically there are 4 teams more likely to grab the #6 seed. The Raiders were about average overall in net passing (3.9) despite below average normal pass plays (7.7) because they avoided sacks. Oakland lost considerable points in our final plays of each half category (-4.3) because they didn't have enough time to take advantage of good field position at the end of the 1st half, and ended up missing a short field goal.

(6-5) Cowboys 24 - 21 Giants (4-7)
Offensive EPA: DAL (4.4) - (1.4) NYG
The Cowboys were close to league average in most categories, but excelled in rushing (3.2). The win tips the NFC East scales back in the Cowboys favor, about 60/40 thanks to their superior tiebreaker status compared to the Eagles. The Giants had their worst normal pass plays (-1.2) in our 5 years of data, but still only somewhat poor net passing (-3.8) overall because they avoided interceptions. They stayed above average overall on offense because of very good rushing (5.3) and punting (3.6).

(9-2) Broncos 31 - 34 Patriots (8-3)
Offensive EPA: DEN (-2.7) - (0.3) NE
This game was expected to be high scoring because of good offenses, but was actually only that way due to turnovers. The Broncos had their first below average net passing (-3.9) of the season and by far their worst normal pass plays (2.6) mark under Manning, partly due to windy and cold weather. Denver ran the ball extremely well (10.0), but also lost a Montee Ball fumble (-4.3). The Patriots were good in net passing (11.0), but lost about a net 13 points between poor rushing and 2 lost fumbles including a touchdown return. Much of that was offset by their great mark in punting (8.2) due to recovering 2 muffs. While the Broncos remain favorites for the #1 seed and Super Bowl, this result as well as it's impact on our ratings had a significant impact on playoff odds.

(7-4) 49ers 27 - 6 Redskins (3-8)
Offensive EPA: SF (2.0) - (-19.0) WAS
The 49ers were good in net passing (11.9) but poor in rushing (-4.3), and also lost points in our turnovers category (-3.7) from a Vernon Davis lost fumble and a failed 4th down attempt. The Redskins were very bad in net passing (-9.2) due to 4 sacks (-4.9) and their worst normal pass plays (-1.1) in the past 2 seasons. They also had their worst rushing (-3.7) effort of the season.

Byes: Bills (4-7), Bengals (7-4), Eagles (6-5), Seahawks (10-1)

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