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Week 15 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.

Week 15 may have not provded quite as much in-game excitement as Week 14, but the playoff implications on the line were more intense. One after the next in order, the top 3 seeds in the AFC all lost, providing the potential for big changes but in the end left the conference outlook rather similar. The Eagles and Cowboys both also lost, keeping their odds similar. However, the Lions and Saints upset losses were much more costly. Detroit dropped from favorites in the NFC North to 3rd most likely to claim that playoff spot. New Orleans remains slight favorites in the NFC South, but opened the door for Carolina. Many Week 15 games provided high scoring, and unlike other weeks it was mostly due to actual efficient offensive play rather than turnovers and good starting field position. For a more in depth analysis of playoff scenarios and tiebreakers, check back for tomorrow's article on those topics.

(7-7) Chargers 27 - 20 Broncos (11-3)
Offensive EPA: SD (12.7) - (7.5) DEN
Though they ran the ball more than passed, the Chargers success came in net passing (13.2) and avoiding usual negatives in lesser categories. Because the Dolphins and Ravens also won, the Chargers slim playoff hopes didn't increase. The Broncos were good but not as effective in net passing (8.6), and struggled in rushing (-2.8). It was their 2nd worst rushing mark this season, and came against one of the worst run defenses in the league. While the Broncos division title odds fell slightly, their odds of getting the #1 seed actually increased slightly with the Patriots also losing.

(2-12) Texans 3 - 25 Colts (9-5)
Offensive EPA: HOU (-21.6) - (0.4) IND
Facing the Colts earlier in the season produced Case Keenum's best performance of the season, but this week it produced his worst. The Texans had very bad marks in all 3 net passing (-17.4) categories. The Colts were near average in net passing (4.3) and very bad in rushing (-5.1), but were generally above average in lesser categories. With the top 3 AFC teams all losing, the Colts now have a slightly better chance of improving their seed in the playoffs.

(5-9) Bills 27 - 20 Jaguars (4-10)
Offensive EPA: BUF (-0.3) - (-7.3) JAC
The Bills had their best normal pass plays (13.8) of the season, but 4 sacks (-6.0) including a lost fumble kept their overall net passing (3.8) about league average. Buffalo rushed well (3.5), but lost a few points in our final plays of each half category (-3.4) because they ran out of time in good field position at the end of the 1st half. The Jaguars also had their best normal pass plays (15.2) of the season, but 2 costly interceptions (-8.7) and 5 sacks (-4.6) kept their net passing (1.9) slightly below average. Jacksonville lost huge ground in our turnover (-9.3) category from a late failed 4th down attempt and 2 lost fumbles, including one at the goal line.

(10-4) Patriots 20 - 24 Dolphins (8-6)
Offensive EPA: NE (9.0) - (12.6) MIA
The Patriots were a bit above average in net passing (9.8) and rushing (2.3). Their playoff outlook didn't change much with the Broncos and Bengals also losing. The Dolphins were even better in net passing (15.2). It was the 2nd best net passing mark of the season for Miami. The Dolphins lost a few points from a fumbled snap (-3.4) on a field goal attempt. Their odds of making the playoffs boosted from 59% to 73% despite the Ravens also winning due to their easier schedule.

(8-6) Eagles 30 - 48 Vikings (4-9-1)
Offensive EPA: PHI (8.3) - (25.1) MIN
The Eagles net passing (16.6) was very good, but their rushing (-3.7) mark was their worst of the season. Philadelphia lost their slim chance of making the playoffs as a wild card, but their odds to win the NFC East remain around 60% with the Cowboys also losing. The Vikings net passing (21.4) was surprisingly incredibly good, and by far their best of the season. They also ran well (2.3) and had good kick returns (1.5) because the Eagles decided to do short kicks all game.

(10-4) 49ers 33 - 14 Buccaneers (4-10)
Offensive EPA: SF (5.4) - (-13.6) TB
The 49ers had some success in net passing (9.8) by avoiding interceptions. The Bucs were poor in net passing (-2.9) due to subpar normal pass plays (3.3). They also struggeld in rushing (-2.3), and kick returns (-9.2) mostly due to a fumbled lateral that was returned for a touchdown.

(3-11) Redskins 26 - 27 Falcons (4-10)
Offensive EPA: WAS (-2.4) - (-2.2) ATL
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offset their 2 interceptions (-7.3) with very good normal pass plays (19.8) for good overall net passing (9.5). However, it wasn't enough to also offset turnovers (-11.5) from 2 fumbles lost by Morris and 1 by Moss. The Falcons net passing (-3.3) was poor due to subpar normal pass plays (6.1) and 3 sacks (-7.1) including a lost fumble. But they had a good punting mark (6.6) mostly due to recovering a muff.

(8-6) Bears 38 - 31 Browns (4-10)
Offensive EPA: CHI (3.1) - (-3.5) CLE
This game only had about average offensive efficiency, but the score was increased by turnovers. In his return, Jay Cutler barely offset his 2 interceptions (-10.5) including a touchdown with good normal pass plays (14.5) for near average overall net passing (2.7). However, it was still the Bears worst net passing mark since Week 4. Chicago did run the ball very well (4.7). The Bears jumped to slight favorites in the NFC North with the Lions losing, but their odds are still probably under 50% and will depend on the health of Aaron Rodgers. The Browns net passing (1.0) was slightly below average due to their own 2 interceptions (-9.1) including a touchdown as well.

(12-2) Seahawks 23 - 0 Giants (5-9)
Offensive EPA: SEA (1.4) - (-21.6) NYG
The Seahawks were near league average in most offensive categories. The Saints loss moved the Seahawks #1 seed odds from very likely to a virtual certainty. The Giants offense was terrible due to poor normal pass plays (2.5), 4 non-hail mary interceptions (-11.7), and bad rushing (-5.8). It was the worst net passing mark (-13.5) for the Giants yet in their disappointing season.

(6-8) Jets 20 - 30 Panthers (10-4)
Offensive EPA: NYJ (-1.3) - (7.1) CAR
The Jets were a bit below average in net passing (-0.6) mostly due to a pick-6 (-6.1), but slightly above average in rushing (2.2). The Panthers gained an edge in net passing (9.5) by avoiding interceptions and in rushing (2.8). Carolina is back in the mix for the NFC South title thanks to the New Orleans loss.

(11-3) Chiefs 56 - 31 Raiders (4-10)
Offensive EPA: KC (19.8) - (-5.2) OAK
The Chiefs had great net passing (21.2), but almost all of the success came on a few screen passes. The Raiders actually matched the Chiefs success on normal pass plays (25.3), but incredibly counteracted that with 5 interceptions (-22.0) including a touchdown. One of them was by Pryor in garbage time, but overall it was the worst interceptions mark by any team this season.

(7-6-1) Packers 37 - 36 Cowboys (7-7)
Offensive EPA: GB (12.1) - (11.1) DAL
In Matt Flynn's first real good game, the Packers were great in both net passing (12.1) and rushing (5.3). Thanks to the Lions losing, the Packers are right back in the middle of the NFC North race, but their fate still largely depends on Aaron Rodgers. The Cowboys overcame 2 interceptions (-6.3) with good normal pass plays (15.3) for solid overall net passing (5.4). They had good rushing (3.6) and field goals (5.2), but came up just short. With the Eagles also losing, the Cowboys playoff outlook is mostly unchanged.

(10-4) Saints 16 - 27 Rams (6-8)
Offensive EPA: NO (1.6) - (12.1) STL
The Saints had good normal pass plays (16.9), but only average overall net passing (4.5) due to 2 interceptions (-5.6) and 4 sacks (-6.8) including a lost fumble. They rushed well (1.9) but struggled on field goals (-3.9). New Orleans are now barely favorites in the NFC South. The Rams had good net passing (9.6) by totally avoiding interceptions and sacks. They also rushed (2.1) and punted (2.9) well, while minimizing negatives in lesser categories.

(9-5) Cardinals 37 - 34 Titans (5-9)
Offensive EPA: ARI (14.5) - (12.7) TEN
The Cardinals had good net passing (11.7) mostly by avoiding negative plays. They also ran well (2.6) and were above average in most lesser categories. The Cardinals playoff hopes remain slim with their competitors winning as well. The Titans had the best normal pass plays (28.4) of the week. Despite 2 costly interceptions (-9.6) including a touchdown, their overall net passing (17.2) was still very good. Tennessee was let down by poor rushing (-3.0).

(9-5) Bengals 20 - 30 Steelers (6-8)
Offensive EPA: CIN (-7.6) - (2.4) PIT
The Bengals were solid in net passing (7.5) by minimizing negative plays. They were set back significantly by an aborted play (-4.0) on a fumbled snap on a punt, and other punts (-5.4) due to a return touchdown. The Steelers had good net passing (9.6) mostly by minimizing negative plays as well. They had bad rushing (-4.9) but it wasn't enough to impact the outcome. Both teams come out of the week with similar playoff outlooks as last week, although the Bengals strong odds of winning the division decreased some.

(8-6) Ravens 18 - 16 Lions (7-7)
Offensive EPA: BAL (1.8) - (-0.2) DET
The Ravens net passing (1.2) was a bit subpar. They mostly avoided negative plays, but had poor normal pass plays (2.6). They also were a bit poor in rushing (-2.6), but their strong field goals (5.4) were enough to offset their issues. That field goal mark was the best performance in the NFL this season, as Justin Tucker went 6/6 including 3 from long range. The Ravens playoff odds only increased slightly because the Dolphins also won. It is now slightly more likely that they would win the division than claim a wild card spot. The Lions had a bit poor net passing (-0.6) due to their 3 interceptions (-9.1), but were generally positive in lesser categories. With the Bears and Packers both winning, this loss was devastating for the Lions, decreasing their chances of making the playoffs from 70% to 21%.

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