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Week 13 Rundown 2012

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.

Week 13 provided several significant upsets, but no immediate significant changes to the playoff outlook. The only real race remaining in the AFC is that between the Steelers and Bengals for a final playoff spot. In the NFC, the Seahawks upset win means other wild card contenders who mostly lost now face dire odds of reaching the playoffs. Perhaps the most consequential game of the week was the Redskins defeat of the Giants, which gives both the Redskins and Cowboys a reasonable chance of still winning the NFC East in spite of slim chances either makes the playoffs as a wild card.

(5-7) Saints 13 - 23 Falcons (11-1)
Offensive EPA: NO (-10.3) - (-0.3) ATL
Surprisingly, neither of these offenses were very effective, with both being let down by their usually high-powered passing. The Saints moved the ball about average on normal pass plays (10.4), but their 5 interceptions (-14.5) were indeed enough alone to change the outcome of the game. New Orleans did run the ball well (2.7), but their bungling of the final plays of the 1st half by allowing the clock to run out a few yards from the Falcons end zone cost them in our final plays of the halves category (-4.3). The Saints 2 worst net passing efforts have now come in their past 2 games. The Falcons followed suit, posting their 2nd worst net passing (-1.4) result of the season, due to very poor normal pass plays (-0.4). Atlanta did post their 2nd best rushing game (3.6), but much of it was counteracted by a Michael Turner fumble lost (-3.1). They were also very good on field goal attempts (3.1). This game seriously hurt the Saints small playoff hopes, and with the 49ers and Bears losing, the Falcons jump significantly to a 92% chance of attaining the 1 seed in the NFC.

(8-3-1) 49ers 13 - 16 Rams (5-6-1)
Offensive EPA: SF (-9.0) - (-7.9) STL
The 49ers were a little subpar on normal pass plays (6.5) including some successful scrambles but also a safety, but by avoiding interceptions were about average in total net passing (3.4). They were surprisingly bad on run plays (-6.8), their worst mark all season. San Francisco also lost a fumble on an option play that was returned for a touchdown (-6.0). Overall so far our metrics show Kaepernick has been pretty similarly effective compared to Alex Smith. The Rams were somewhat poor in net passing (-0.4) due to ineffective normal pass plays (1.9). Like their opponents, they were very poor rushing (-5.6), but still managed to win. The 49ers loss and Seahawks upset win means the door is still open in the NFC West.

(2-10) Jaguars 18 - 34 Bills (5-7)
Offensive EPA: JAC (-8.9) - (7.1) BUF
Chad Henne's hot streak predictably slowed a bit this week. The Jaguars were a bit poor in each passing category for a bad overall net passing performance (-5.9). Jacksonville scored well on punts (5.1) with help from recovering a muffed punt return, but also lost several points on turnovers (-5.2) from 3 late game failed 4th down attempts. The Bills were slightly better than average in net passing (5.6) by avoiding any sacks. They were also successful rushing (3.8).

(6-6) Vikings 14 - 23 Packers (8-4)
Offensive EPA: MIN (2.0) - (11.0) GB
The Packers net passing (15.5) was sensational for really the first time in the last 5 games. The run game was again a little poor (-2.9), but again overwhelmed by the passing game. The Vikings net passing (-4.5) was poor again as a result of 2 interceptions (-7.6) and bad normal pass plays (3.1) despite avoiding sacks. The offense made up for poor passing with an incredible rushing effort (10.4). This game exemplified the fact that passing is more important than rushing in the NFL. The results of the Seahawks-Bears game and this game together put the Packers as big favorites in the NFC North now, and kills most of the small playoff hopes the Vikings had.

(9-3) Patriots 23 - 16 Dolphins (5-7)
Offensive EPA: NE (0.3) - (-5.1) MIA
The Patriots were successful again on normal pass plays (14.1), but only slightly above average in total net passing (5.5) because they suffered 4 sacks (-5.3). They were also subpar on runs (-2.7) for the first time in their last 5 games, making this their 2nd worst overall offensive performance of the season. The Dolphins net passing (-1.0) was a little poor. They were just below average in most other categories as well, while their biggest failure was a fumbled snap on a punt attempt (-2.8).

(11-1) Texans 24 - 10 Titans (4-8)
Offensive EPA: HOU (0.4) - (-13.6) TEN
The Texans were poor on normal pass plays (0.9), but ended only slightly below average by avoiding any sacks or interceptions. Houston was average in rushing (-0.9) but good on special teams. In Jake Locker's worst game yet, the Titans were bad in net passing (-6.1) due to 3 interceptions (-7.0) and 5 sacks (-7.5) including a fumble lost. Tennessee lost further points on fumbles lost from a Locker scramble and Chris Johnson run, and 2 late failed 4th down tries all together (-7.6).

(7-5) Seattle 23 - 17 Bears (8-4)
Offensive EPA: SEA (14.7) - (9.1) CHI
The Seahawks net passing (15.0) has now been very impressive for the 5th straight game after some struggles early in the season. The run game (3.6) was good, but cancelled out by a Marshawn Lynch lost fumble (-3.4). The Bears stats almost exactly matched the Seahawks in this game, with the only real difference being worse rushing (-2.4). Both teams remain wild cards in our playoff projections, but their status there became much more solidified by the result.

(8-4) Colts 35 - 33 Lions (4-8)
Offensive EPA: IND (10.2) - (7.5) DET
The Colts were again great on normal pass plays (16.4), but 3 interceptions (-10.3) mitigated the success and reduced them to an average overall passing effort (3.6). They ran (2.0) reasonably well, punted (2.5) well, and gained a huge advantage in our final play of each half category (5.0) by converting a big 4th down on the last play of the game. The Lions had some success passing (5.0) by avoiding sacks, and were a great 4/4 on field goals (3.4), but with another subpar defensive effort it was not quite enough.

(3-9) Panthers 21 - 27 Chiefs (2-10)
Offensive EPA: CAR (12.4) - (18.4) KC
In a surprise shootout of sorts, the Panthers had successs through the air (7.9) by avoiding interceptions, and finally turned around a struggling run game (7.3) with great success on the ground including some successful called runs for Cam Newton. The Chiefs were similarly successful passing (8.8) by avoiding interceptions and sacks. They also ran well (2.6) and had success on field goals (2.5). Perhaps the determining factor in the game was a conversion on 4th and goal from the Carolina 1 on the final play of the 1st half (4.0). Interestingly, though coaches should probably go for it on 4th downs more than they do, if there was ever a 4th and goal from the 1 to not go for, it is at the end of a half, because you miss out on the benefit of the great field position advantage should you fail to score.

(4-8) Cardinals 6 - 7 Jets (5-7)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-17.1) - (-16.1) NYJ
What was perhaps the worst game of the season was highlighted by the fact that the Cardinals normal pass plays (-12.9) were the single worst performance in that category in any game in our records back to 2009. The Jets were only marginally better with terrible net passing (-8.0) thanks to subpar normal pass plays (3.8) and 3 interceptions (-8.1). They did run (2.7) decently, but also were terrible on field goal attempts (-4.3) and lost a fumble (-2.9).

(6-6) Buccaneers 23 - 31 Broncos (9-3)
Offensive EPA: TB (-4.8) - (2.1) DEN
The Buccaneers were a bit poor in net passing (-2.1) and rushing (-1.3), but made up some ground with good field goals (3.5). The Broncos were somewhat successful in net passing (7.1), but not quite to the extent that you might expect from the score or their other performances. Otherwise, they had slight minuses in most other categories.

(7-5) Steelers 23 - 31 Ravens (9-3)
Offensive EPA: PIT (4.6) - (1.6) BAL
For the first time since the injury to Roethlisberger, the Steelers were actually average in net passing (3.0). In other categories, Pittsburgh was generally a little above average. The Ravens passing inconsistency continued, following up success last week with bad net passing (-3.3). They made up for it a bit with good rushing (3.7) and punting (3.0), but it wasn't quite enough.

(4-8) Browns 20 - 17 Raiders (3-9)
Offensive EPA: CLE (9.3) - (8.9) OAK
Despite the relatively low score, both offenses were very efficient. The Browns had one of their best games in both net passing (9.2) and rushing (2.6) to put together their best offensive game. The Raiders were also very effective in total passing (14.3) but didn't get quite as much support from other areas.

(7-5) Bengals 20 - 13 Chargers (4-8)
Offensive EPA: CIN (-3.9) - (-10.5) SD
The Bengals were poor in net passing (-0.7) due to 2 interceptions (-9.1), an area they had done well at the previous 4 games. Cincinnati ran well (2.3) but also lost a fumble (-3.4). For the 3rd straight week, the Chargers net passing (-2.3) was poor because of sacks (-7.8), which this week included 4 sacks and a fumble lost. San Diego was generally a bit below average in other areas.

(3-9) Eagles 33 - 38 Cowboys (6-6)
Offensive EPA: PHI (9.2) - (11.8) DAL
For the first time under Nick Foles, the Eagles net passing (10.5) was good. They also ran the ball very well, but a fumble returned for a Dallas touchdown counteracted much of the success. The Cowboys outdid the Eagles success with a huge net passing (23.7) game that was by far the best of the week. Their punting (-5.3) was poor due to a return touchdown.

(7-5) Giants 16 - 17 Redskins (6-6)
Offensive EPA: NYG (7.8) - (8.8) WAS
Despite the low score, both offenses were very efficient compared to league averages. The Giants net passing (9.6) was good by avoiding negative plays, while their run game (2.8) was also relatively effective. Robert Griffin deserved praise over the past 2 weeks. This week he was still good mostly due to rushes, but his impact has been a little overstated. The Redskins normal pass plays (4.6) were unimpressive, but meant an average result in net passing because they avoided sacks and interceptions completely. Their rushing (10.4) was their bigger area of success, including successful RB and QB designed runs. The success was mitigated slightly by a lost Alfred Morris fumble (-3.5), but still just enough to edge out the win. The Giants remain favorites to win the NFC East, but the division is now very much up for grabs for either of these teams or the Cowboys. All 3 are much more likely to make the playoffs by winning the division rather than as a wild card.

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