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Week 16 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.

(13-2) Falcons 31 - 18 Lions (4-11)
Offensive EPA: ATL (13.3) - (0.3) DET
Like normal for the Falcons, they were great enough in net passing (19.0) to overcome very poor rushing (-5.9). The Lions were similarly good in net passing (14.7) and poor in rushing (-2.7), but were let down by turnovers (-9.4) on 2 fumbles lost and a late failed 4th down conversion attempt. The Atlanta win wrapped up the #1 seed in the NFC.

(7-8) Saints 34 - 31 Cowboys (8-7)
Offensive EPA: NO (17.7) - (15.1) DAL
The Saints net passing (30.4) was the best for any team since their Week 15 game at Minnesota last year. In other areas New Orleans was somewhat poor, with a bad result in rushing (-3.5). The Cowboys were also very good in net passing (18.8) with their biggest setback being a DeMarco Murray fumble lost (-4.2). The loss eliminates Dallas from wild card contention, but winning in Washington would make them NFC East champions due to the Giants loss.

(5-10) Titans 7 - 55 Packers (11-4)
Offensive EPA: TEN (-23.1) - (23.4) GB
In a matchup of the best and worst offensive performances of the week, the Titans net pass offense (-10.3) was bad all around. Recent games have displayed a lack of development by QB Jake Locker. The Tennessee run game (-2.7) also struggled. The Packers were again great in net passing (16.0) and even ran the ball very effectively (8.9) despite unimpressive standard stats due to success in the red zone. The Green Bay win and San Francisco loss makes the Packers likely to claim the #2 seed, which greatly increases their Super Bowl odds and makes them 4th most likely to be champions now.

(11-4) Patriots 23 - 16 Jaguars (2-13)
Offensive EPA: NE (4.5) - (-1.5) JAC
The Patriots net passing (3.9) was about league average, but also their worst since Week 2 against the Cardinals. Otherwise New England was a bit above average in several categories. The Jaguars were good in net passing (6.4) while finally rebounding from 3 poor games following the initial success after Chad Henne became the starter. But Jacksonville lost points in the run game (-3.5) and on the final play of the game when they failed to score with time expiring (-3.9).

(5-10) Bills 10 - 24 Dolphins (7-8)
Offensive EPA: BUF (-6.8) - (7.2) MIA
The Bills were a bit poor all around in net passing (-2.7), but ran well (4.2). Their biggest downfall was 2 fumbles lost after catches (-5.8). The Dolphins normal pass plays (4.1) were a bit subpar, but they almost made up for it by avoiding interceptions. Their success came from very effective rushing (7.0).

(9-6) Bengals 13 - 10 Steelers (7-8)
Offensive EPA: CIN (-11.7) - (-14.7) PIT
The Bengals were slightly below average all around in net passing (-0.6). Their bigger issues were actually terrible rushing (-6.3) and turnovers (-4.7) from an A.J. Green fumble lost and a failed 4th down conversion. But the Steelers offense was even less successful. They were also bad all around in net passing (-8.2), with 2 interceptions (-8.4) being the main culprit. Pittsburgh also struggled with rushing (-3.2) and field goals (-4.3). The result locks the Bengals into the #6 seed and knocks the Steelers out of playoff contention.

(9-6) Vikings 23 - 6 Texans (12-3)
Offensive EPA: MIN (2.4) - (-12.5) HOU
The Vikings were somewhat successful in net passing (6.9) for the first time since Week 10 mostly by avoiding interceptions. The Texans were bad in net passing (-2.3) and rushing (-3.9). They also lost an Arian Foster fumble (-3.2), and a fumbled snap (-3.2) with T.J. Yates at quarterback in garbage time. The game had playoff implications on both sides, as the Texans would likely still drop all the way to the #3 seed with a loss next week, and the Vikings are now in pole position for the #6 seed in the NFC.

(10-5) Colts 20 - 13 Chiefs (2-13)
Offensive EPA: IND (2.9) - (-4.1) KC
The Colts were poor on normal pass plays (3.8), but almost made up for it by avoiding interceptions. Indianapolis had success on special teams with good field goals (1.8) and punts (2.5). The Chiefs were subpar on normal pass plays (5.1) and threw 2 interceptions (-8.3) including a pick-6. They made up for it with great rushing (11.2), but also had costly turnovers (-7.1) from a Jamaal Charles fumble and a failed 4th down conversion. The Colts clinched the playoffs regardless of this game, but the win assures them the #5 seed.

(6-9) Chargers 27 - 17 Jets (6-9)
Offensive EPA: SD (-3.6) - (-13.6) NYJ
The Chargers were efficient in net passing (5.5) despite again failing to have better than average normal pass plays (10.3). But they were again poor in rushing (-4.4). The Jets were bad in net passing (-7.4) due to an incredible 11 sacks (-15.2) including a fumble lost in Greg McElroy's debut. They also had a bad mark in punting (-5.5) because the Chargers had a return touchdown.

(9-6) Redskins 27 - 20 Eagles (4-11)
Offensive EPA: WAS (7.4) - (0.4) PHI
The Redskins were somewhat effective in net passing (5.8) by reducing negative plays, and ran the ball well yet again (4.1). The Eagles were good on normal pass plays (13.7), but it was counteracted by 5 sacks (-8.4) including a lost fumble. Philadelphia was successful rushing (3.8) but lost significant points on the final play of the game (-4.3) as they ran out of time at the Redskins goal line. Because of the Giants loss, the win did little for Washington as they still need to beat Dallas to win the division, and their wild card prospects are dire should they lose.

(7-7-1) Rams 28 - 13 Buccaneers (6-9)
Offensive EPA: STL (1.1) - (-13.9) TB
The Rams had success passing (7.0) by avoiding any sacks. They ran poorly (-2.8) but did well on punts (2.2) by recovering a fumbled return. The Buccaneers erratic pass game was solid on normal pass plays (12.0), but was terrible overall due to 4 interceptions (-15.5) including a pick-6, and 5 sacks (-6.1).

(4-11) Raiders 6 - 17 Panthers (6-9)
Offensive EPA: OAK (-11.1) - (-0.1) CAR
With Matt Leinart under center for most of the game after an injury to Carson Palmer, the Raiders net passing (-2.4) was poor due to ineffective normal pass plays (2.3). The run game (-7.7) struggled mightily while their punts (5.2) were successful due to recovering a fumbled return. The Panthers net passing (8.2) was successful by reducing negative plays, but their rushing attack (-4.1) was poor. The Panthers have climbed their way back into the top half of our ratings, but they are still slightly below their 2011 rating.

(5-10) Browns 12 - 34 Broncos (12-3)
Offensive EPA: CLE (-4.2) - (-17.8) DEN
The Browns net passing (-4.1) was bad mostly due to 6 sacks (-9.2). The Broncos meanwhile had their best net passing (21.3) mark of the season. They ran a bit poorly (-2.8), but scored well in punting (5.5) by recovering a muffed punt. The Texans loss gives the Broncos a real shot at taking the #1 seed still, while it remains unlikely but possible for them to also drop to #3.

(9-6) Bears 28 - 13 Cardinals (5-10)
Offensive EPA: CHI (-8.6) - (-22.2) ARI
The Bears were poor on normal pass plays (1.8), but almost made up for it by reducing negative plays. Their real issue this game was their only field goal attempt (-8.5) being blocked and returned 82 yards for a touchdown. The Cardinals putrid pass offense (-14.8) once again resorted to benching their starter, this time going to Brian Hoyer to no avail as they finished poorly all around in normal pass plays (0.2), 4 sacks (-5.0), and 2 interceptions (-10.0) including a pick-6. They also managed an incredibly poor rushing effort (-10.0). Arizona's bright spot was fittingly punting (6.7), where they recovered a fumbled return. The Bears would have found themselves in a good position had the Vikings not pulled off the big upset, and now need a win and Vikings loss next week to make the playoffs.

(8-7) Giants 14 - 33 Ravens (10-5)
Offensive EPA: NYG (0.3) - (17.7) BAL
The Giants were bad in net passing (-0.4) due to ineffective normal pass plays (2.6). They avoided some usual negatives in other categories and did punt well (2.9), but it was not enough with the defense playing poorly. The Ravens had their best net passing mark (20.0) of the season. The result reduces the Giants to very slim playoff odds, and clinched the division for the Ravens.

(10-4-1) 49ers 13 - 42 Seahawks (10-5)
Offensive EPA: SF (-8.7) - (20.3) SEA
The 49ers offense was near average in most categories apart from field goals (-6.4) where they had a block returned for an opposing touchdown, and a lost Mario Manningham fumble (-3.3). The Seahawks continued an amazing late season push with their best net passing (18.1) game of the season and more strong rushing (3.0). The Seahawks remain unlikely to claim the NFC West which hurts their Super Bowl odds, but their strong offensive display of late has bumped them to about as good as any NFC team in our ratings.

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