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Week 14 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.

As usual this late in the season, many Week 14 games had significant individual impacts on the playoff chances of the teams involved. However, amazingly the most newsworthy story coming out of the week is that so little has actually changed. Because the Steelers and Bengals both lost, and the NFC East teams all won, our playoff odds appears almost unchanged from last week. Different results in any of those games would have had a strong impact. The biggest actual change that occured was due to the Bears upset loss in Minnesota. As a result, the Bears drop to just a 57% chance of making the playoffs, opening the door on a variety of scenarios in which an NFC East team or even the Vikings claim a wild card spot.

(10-3) Broncos 26 - 13 Raiders (3-10)
Offensive EPA: DEN (10.8) - (-1.0) OAK
The Broncos were very good in net passing (12.1) and average otherwise, while the Raiders were close to league averages in every category of our stats.

(6-6-1) Rams 15 - 12 Bills (5-8)
Offensive EPA: STL (-3.7) - (-6.7) BUF
The Rams were pretty average in net passing (4.3) while struggling in rushing (-3.0), but it was just enough. The Bills were a little subpar on normal pass plays (6.2) and took a costly 4 sacks (-5.6). A Fred Jackson fumble lost (-4.1) was also a bigger impact than the difference in final score.

(2-11) Chiefs 7 - 30 Browns (5-8)
Offensive EPA: KC (-16.9) - (6.1) CLE
It appears Brady Quinn's success last week was a fluke as expected, as the Chiefs were bad in all facets of the pass game this week for a terrible net passing (-9.3) effort. They did run the ball (5.9) very well, but also had a bad punting mark (-5.3) because of a return touchdown. The Browns had a solid but unimpressive offensive performance with average net passing (3.4) and good rushing (3.4), and avoided many of the usual negatives in other areas.

(4-9) Titans 23 - 27 Colts (9-4)
Offensive EPA: TEN (-3.7) - (0.3) IND
The Titans made up for 2 interceptions (-8.8) including a pick-6 by avoiding sacks and having solid normal pass plays (11.9) for about average net passing (3.3) overall. But their run game (-4.1) let them down. A positive takeaway for Tennessee is that the defense has been much better so far in the 2nd half of the season. The Colts finished with negative net passing (-1.4) because of 2 interceptions of their own, also including a pick-6. Their biggest success actually came from impressive field goals (2.4) and punts (2.3). Losses for the Steelers and Bengals essentially clinched the playoffs for the Colts. Meanwhile, the Texans loss doubled the Colts chance of still winning the division to 14%, which would require them to beat the Texans in both of their remaining 2 matchups in 3 weeks.

(6-7) Jets 17 - 10 Jaguars (2-11)
Offensive EPA: NYJ (-1.4) - (-7.9) JAC
The Jets were terrible on normal pass plays (0.4), but avoiding interceptions meant their overall passing (-2.7) was just bad and not horrible. They did manage to run well again (3.0), but also lost a Jeremy Kerley fumble (-2.8). Chad Henne has gotten worse for the Jaguars each week. This game the pass attack was bad in all facets for a terrible net passing result (-8.7). Jacksonville did run well (3.6), but it wasn't enough to make up for the poor passing. The Jets are now just a game behind the Steelers and Bengals in the wild card race, but our projections show them making the playoffs just 3% of the time.

(5-8) Chargers 34 - 24 Steelers (7-6)
Offensive EPA: SD (5.5) - (-4.1) PIT
The Chargers were a little below average on normal pass plays (7.9) again, but this week reducing sacks and interceptions meant their net passing (7.5) was actually good. However, they were poor rushing (-4.4). The return of Ben Roethlisberger did see a big boost to the Steelers net passing (9.7) this week, but their rushing (-3.1) was bad. The biggest issue for Pittsburgh was an incomplete backward pass that was returned for a Chargers touchdown (-7.2), categorized as an aborted play in our stats. With losses by the Bengals and Ravens, the Steelers outlook remains about the same as last week.

(7-6) Cowboys 20 - 19 Bengals (7-6)
Offensive EPA: DAL (4.7) - (3.7) CIN
The Cowboys were successful in net passing (9.9) by avoiding sacks and interceptions. The Bengals net passing (-0.9) was a little poor, but they had some success rushing (2.4) and on field goals (2.1). Both teams remain in similar positions to last week, as the Bengals competition mostly lost while the Cowboys competition mostly won as well.

(4-9) Eagles 23 - 21 Buccaneers (6-7)
Offensive EPA: PHI (4.5) - (2.7) TB
3rd round rookie Nick Foles was again great this week after struggling in his first 2 starts. The Eagles were very good in net passing (13.6) despite 6 sacks (-7.3). Meanwhile the run game (-6.3) was shut down after seeing success in 2 previous starts by 7th round rookie Bryce Brown. The Buccaneers struggled on normal pass plays (3.9) but their overall passing (2.1) was still decent by avoiding negative plays. Tampa Bay scored well on punts (2.8) by recovering a fumble. The result kills the slim playoff hope the Bucs had.

(9-4) Ravens 28 - 31 Redskins (7-6)
Offensive EPA: BAL (5.8) - (8.8) WAS
The Ravens were relatively successful in both net passing (5.0) and rushing (4.3). But it wasn't quite enough to keep up with a Redskins team that was even better in net passing (13.7) and good in rushing (2.3), but lost an Alfred Morris fumble (-4.2). The loss makes the Ravens claiming a seed higher than 4 unlikely, but combined with Steelers and Bengals losses actually helps to solidify the division championship for Baltimore. Because of Giants and Cowboys wins, the Redskins chances remain almost unchanged in our projections, but their hopes will be seriously challenged if Robert Griffin misses games.

(11-2) Falcons 20 - 30 Panthers (4-9)
Offensive EPA: ATL (10.5) - (19.1) CAR
The Falcons offense held up their end of the bargain in this game, with very good net passing (12.2) and average results in other areas. But the Panthers were even better, with great results in both net passing (15.8) and rushing (5.7). The Panthers have been great in net passing for 4 straight weeks, and haven't thrown an interception in that time. 2 of their 3 best rushing games this season were the past 2 weeks. Despite the loss, the Falcons remain heavy favorites for the 1 seed in the NFC.

(8-5) Bears 14 - 21 Vikings (7-6)
Offensive EPA: CHI (-5.3) - (0.4) MIN
The Bears were solid on normal pass plays (11.4) and avoided many sacks, but 2 interceptions (-12.2) including a pick-6 reduced their overall passing (-1.1) to poor. The Vikings were also poor in net passing (-1.0), but made up for it with success on the ground (4.2). The loss for Chicago reduces them to a near coin flip to make the playoffs and increases the chances an NFC East team could claim a wild card spot. The Vikings retain slim hopes of still sneaking in.

(5-8) Dolphins 13 - 27 49ers (9-3-1)
Offensive EPA: MIA (0.1) - (14.1) SF
The Dolphins were near average in all offensive categories. The 49ers were about average on called pass plays (3.3), but had great success rushing (9.1) including some runs for Kaepernick. San Francisco also benefitted on punts (4.6) by recovering a fumbled return.

(5-8) Saints 27 - 52 Giants (8-5)
Offensive EPA: NO (-8.2) - (16.8) NYG
The Saints were a bit poor in net passing (-1.3) as a result of interceptions (-9.8) for the 3rd straight week. They did run the ball well (4.0), but also had costly turnovers (-8.0) on 2 lost fumbles and a late failed 4th down conversion. The Giants had 2 costly interceptions (-11.8) as well, including a pick-6, but no sacks and good normal pass plays (15.6) allowed for a decent total passing mark (3.8). They also ran the ball very well (5.1) and netted a huge advantage from kickoff returns (10.8) from several long returns including a touchdown. The kickoff return mark was the best for any team in a game since 2010. The Giants outlook remains about unchanged due to Redskins and Cowboys wins.

(4-9) Cardinals 0 - 58 Seahawks (8-5)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-33.0) - (25.0) SEA
The Cardinals hit a new low with 4 interceptions (-15.5), 3 sacks (-8.1) including 2 fumbles lost, and bad normal pass plays (-2.7) from Skelton and Lindley resulting in an amazingly bad net passing (-26.3) performance. The Cardinals have had just 1 positive overall offensive mark, which came back in Week 3. The Seahawks offensive mark benefitted from Cardinals mistakes as well, scoring very high in punts (10.4) because Patrick Peterson lost 2 fumbled returns and one was recovered for a touchdown. But the Seahawks offense also did well in their own right, with some success in net passing (5.9) and great success rushing (9.7). The Seahawks rating has increased significantly in the past 2 weeks.

(4-9) Lions 20 - 27 Packers (9-4)
Offensive EPA: DET (-2.1) - (4.5) GB
The Lions had good normal pass plays (13.6) but they were negated by the Lions only "sack" (-8.6), a ball that slipped out of Stafford's hand and was recovered for a Packers touchdown. The Lions did run well (3.2), but had slight negatives in several other categories. The Packers net passing (1.0) was a bit below average because of 3 sacks (-6.2) including a lost fumble. They also had a rare successful game rushing (3.1). The results of the week make the Packers heavier favorites in the NFC North, up to 86% from 68% a week ago.

(11-2) Texans 14 - 42 Patriots (10-3)
Offensive EPA: HOU (-4.6) - (23.4) NE
The Texans had one of their worst net passing (0.0) games yet. They also lost some ground on 2 turnovers (-3.4) on downs on early failed 4th down conversions. The Patriots were very effective in net passing (20.2) as we've come to expect. They were also solid in rushing (2.2) and punting (2.5). The Texans remain the more likely team to claim the 1 seed in the AFC, but now just barely. The tiebreakers have now become simple as the Patriots beat both the Texans and Broncos, and the Texans beat the Broncos.

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