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Week 14 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.

The overall playoff picture was not largely affected by the Week 14 games, but several close finishes and a lot of snow made for one of the best sets of early Sunday game finishes in recent memory. On Monday night, the Bears put up the best passing performance in our 5 years of data in the NFL. Considering the long term trend of increasing pass efficiency, the game may well have been statistically the greatest passing effort in NFL history. As a reward, Josh McCown will man the bench in Week 15.

(2-11) Texans 20 - 27 Jaguars (4-9)
Offensive EPA: HOU (-0.2) - (6.8) JAC
The Texans were actually solid in net passing (5.6), but struggled a bit in rushing (-2.2) and some lesser categories. They were a little better with Schaub than Keenum, but each contributed an interception. The Jaguars have now managed their best net passing (8.8) of the season 2 weeks in a row, although only by avoiding negative plays.

(8-5) Colts 28 - 42 Bengals (9-4)
Offensive EPA: IND (11.4) - (24.4) CIN
The Colts were disappointing again, but this time the defense was to blame as the offense rebounded from their recent woes. They combined good normal pass plays (15.3) with no sacks or interceptions for a very good net passing mark. The Bengals also rebounded from poor passing efforts in recent weeks. Their normal pass plays (18.6) were even a bit better, and they also totally avoided sacks and interceptions. Cincinnati also added a strong running game (7.5) for the 2nd week in a row. The Bengals still need to gain just a game on New England for the #2 seed, while the Colts would now need to gain 2 games on the Bengals or Patriots to move out of the #4 seed.

(3-10) Falcons 21 - 22 Packers (6-6-1)
Offensive EPA: ATL (-3.9) - (-2.9) GB
The Falcons passing issues returned with a bit poor net passing (1.4) due to subpar normal pass plays (6.7). Missing their only field goal (-2.1) was also costly. The Packers net passing (-7.1) was terrible due to 5 sacks (-9.1) including a lost fumble, and a devastating long pick-6 (-8.9). However, Green Bay gained an edge with good rushing (3.1) and generally positive marks in lesser categories. The Lions loss keeps the Packers in the NFC North race, but not having Rodgers back this week could be the final blow.

(4-9) Browns 26 - 27 Patriots (10-3)
Offensive EPA: CLE (15.1) - (12.0) NE
The Browns were surprisingly great in net passing (20.1). With Campbell at QB, they have been incredibly inconsistent, with 2 great games, 1 decent one, and 2 horrible games. Cleveland had poor rushing (-4.6), but was generally good in lesser categories. The Patriots were again good in net passing (9.9), although surprisingly most of the success came after Gronkowski was injured. They overcame 4 sacks (-7.4) including a lost fumble with very good normal pass plays (18.8). New England was also positive in most other areas. The Patriots had a lower overall offensive mark than the Browns because their onside kick recovery is not counted, but gave them about a 4 point edge. The Patriots remain just a net game away from moving to the #1 or #3 seed due to head to head tiebreakers.

(4-9) Raiders 27 - 37 Jets (6-7)
Offensive EPA: OAK (2.9) - (11.6) NYJ
This game was not only surprisingly high scoring, but the high scores were actually generated by strong offense as opposed to turnovers. The Raiders net passing (8.1) and rushing (2.2) were good, but their punting (-4.9) was terrible because of a blocked punt that was recovered for a touchdown. Although the Raiders decided to let Terrelle Pryor play some in this game, Matt McGloin has actually been decent in his 4 starts, having played better in recent weeks. The Jets had their first above average net passing (10.5) since Week 5, and were also generally positive in the lesser categories. The Jets remain theoretically in the wild card race, but their low quality of play and tough schedule make their odds very slim.

(7-6) Lions 20 - 34 Eagles (8-5)
Offensive EPA: DET (-7.0) - (5.0) PHI
This was the probably the only game this week that was actually greatly affected by the snow, as unlike others there were multiple inches of snow on the field. Field goals and extra points were made impossible, and the standing snow affected scrimmage plays as well. The Lions normal pass plays (3.9) were poor, but they completely avoided sacks and interceptions, so the mark made for about average net passing. They had a great kick return mark (6.6) mostly thanks to a touchdown return. However, they fumbled 5 snaps (-7.4) including 1 that was lost. The Lions also lost points in our turnovers category (-7.6) from 2 Joique Bell fumbles on consecutive drives and a late failed 4th down attempt. The Eagles also managed decent net passing (4.5), while rushing extremely well (11.9). Philadelphia had poor punting (-4.7) due to Jeremy Ross's other return touchdown. This game result now makes both teams slight favorites in their divisions. If both held on to win them, Philadelphia would be the #3 seed and Detroit the #4 almost certainly.

(7-6) Dolphins 34 - 28 Steelers (5-8)
Offensive EPA: MIA (4.0) - (-2.0) PIT
The Dolphins were decent in net passing (2.8) and had success rushing (3.4). The Steelers also had near average net passing (4.1) but were slightly below average in other areas. This game (and Antonio Brown's toe) had a huge impact on the race for the #6 seed in the AFC, as Miami jumped from 44% to 59% odds and Pittsburgh dropped from 18% to just 1%. Almost every realistic scenario where the Steelers could have made the playoffs included them winning this game, as they are now 2 games and tiebreaker behind the Dolphins.

(4-9) Bills 6 - 27 Buccaneers (4-9)
Offensive EPA: BUF (-22.3) - (-1.3) TB
E.J. Manuel had an epicly disastrous net passing (-19.3) game for the Bills, with poor normal pass plays (3.3), 4 interceptions (-15.3), and 7 sacks (-7.3). Buffalo also struggled in rushing (-4.9). The Bills did have success on field goals (2.0) and punts (3.2) to no avail. The Buccaneers were a bit poor in net passing (-2.1) and rushing (-3.0) despite an 80-yard TD run. Tampa also had success on field goals (1.9) and punts (4.0) because they recovered a muffed punt, and avoided some usual negatives in lesser categories.

(3-9-1) Vikings 26 - 29 Ravens (7-6)
Offensive EPA: MIN (2.7) - (6.2) BAL
The Vikings normal pass plays (6.8) were a bit below average, but made for good overall net passing because they avoided any sacks or interceptions. However, Minnesota lost points in rushing (-2.6) and from a Gerhart lost fumble (-3.2). The Ravens were a mixed bag on offense. Their net passing (5.0) was solid despite including 3 interceptions (-5.9), kick returns (5.4) were great due to a touchdown, and punting was good (2.4). But their rushing (-3.7) was poor yet again, and they suffered from 2 failed 4th down attempts (-4.6). The Ravens playoff odds increased slightly with the win, but they remain less likely than the Dolphins to claim the #6 seed. Although they have the tiebreaker over Miami, their final 3 opponents are very difficult.

(10-3) Chiefs 45 - 10 Redskins (3-10)
Offensive EPA: KC (9.3) - (-25.2) WAS
The Chiefs normal pass plays (7.0) were a bit poor, but they managed solid net passing (5.0) by avoiding sacks. Kansas City also ran very well (6.4) and had great kick returns (5.9) because of a touchdown, but struggled in some lesser categories. The Redskins were bad in all 3 net passing (-9.6) categories, with a 3rd straight disappointing game from Robert Griffin after a promising few games prior. Washington also had poor rushing (-2.3), but their biggest issues were punts (-9.1) where they gave up a touchdown and other big returns, and turnovers (-6.0) from a Paulsen lost fumble and a couple of late failed 4th down attempts.

(5-8) Titans 28 - 51 Broncos (11-2)
Offensive EPA: TEN (6.1) - (29.5) DEN
The Titans were near average in net passing (2.6). They had good rushing (6.6) and kick returns (2.2), but lost points from turnovers (-6.5) on a Chris Johnson lost fumble and a late failed 4th down. The Broncos net passing (26.3) and rushing (9.5) were both great, combining for the 4th best overall offensive EPA in the NFL this season. To remain in the #1 seed, the Broncos will have to win as many of their final 3 games as the Patriots do.

(5-8) Rams 10 - 30 Cardinals (8-5)
Offensive EPA: STL (-13.5) - (6.5) ARI
The Rams were terrible in all 3 net passing (-12.6) categories. The Cardinals hot passing streak continued, with very good net passing (15.2). Arizona would have won by even more if not for going 0/2 on field goals (-4.7) and a Jim Dray lost fumble (-3.4). The 49ers division win over Seattle makes it impossible for the Cardinals to win a tiebreaker with the 49ers now, although they do have the tiebreaker over the Panthers. Arizona faces a tougher schedule though, and their playoff chances are just 15%.

(5-8) Giants 14 - 37 Chargers (6-7)
Offensive EPA: NYG (-7.3) - (15.7) SD
The Giants were poor in net passing (-3.7) due to 2 interceptions (-9.8) including long returns. They ran well (3.9), but also struggled in several lesser categories. The Chargers offense was dominant due to their great net passing (17.6). Despite an impressive win, the Chargers playoff odds decreased because the Dolphins and Ravens both won. The Chargers would need a big upset win in Denver this week to keep any realistic playoff hopes alive.

(11-2) Seahawks 17 - 19 49ers (9-4)
Offensive EPA: SEA (-0.6) - (1.4) SF
The Seahawks were near league average in almost every offensive category. The 49ers net passing (-1.7) was a bit poor, but would only be marginally below average if you include their final plays of each half category (3.6) which included a passing TD to end the 1st half. Their success came from being 4/4 on field goals (2.5) and avoiding some usual negatives in other lesser categories. The Seahawks remain a game and a tiebreaker ahead of the Saints for the #1 seed, while the 49ers boosted their playoff chances from 71% to 87%. San Francisco now is guaranteed to win any tiebreaker with Arizona, meaning a big meltdown would be necessary for them to miss the playoffs.

(9-4) Panthers 13 - 31 Saints (10-3)
Offensive EPA: CAR (-2.5) - (14.1) NO
The Panthers net passing (-3.7) was bad due to poor normal pass plays (3.3) and 5 sacks (-7.0). Carolina was a bit above average in rushing (1.9) and punting (1.5) and avoided some usual negatives, but it wasn't enough. The Saints had great net passing (18.3). The Saints jump to an 87% chance of winning the division, because even if they lost at Carolina they would have the tiebreaker if they won their other 2 games.

(7-6) Cowboys 28 - 45 Bears (7-6)
Offensive EPA: DAL (15.3) - (30.8) CHI
This game would have actually been more lopsided if not for a strong performance by the Dallas offense. Their net passing (7.0) and rushing (9.9) were both strong, although a portion of the success came in garbage time. Scoring 45 points is a lot more impressive when an opponent's offense isn't helping out with turnovers or good field position. The Bears net passing (33.5) was the best mark in the NFL in our entire 5 years of data. Their overall offensive mark (30.8) was the 3rd best in the NFL this season, with 2 of the top 3 now coming against the Cowboys. To say the Bears may be making a mistake by going back to Cutler this week is an understatement. Both of these teams now have less than a 50% chance of making the playoffs, and would almost certainly have to win their division to make the playoffs.

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