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Week 16 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 16 ended with all of the AFC divisions clinched and the division champions all winning and maintaining their seeding. The Dolphins remain favorites for the #6 seed, but their loss combined with that by the Ravens have given the Chargers new life. In the NFC, 2 division races saw major changes as the Panthers jumped ahead of the Saints and the return of Aaron Rodgers and loss by the Lions make the Packers pass the Bears as slight favorites in the NFC North.

(8-7) Dolphins 0 - 19 Bills (6-9)
Offensive EPA: MIA (-20.9) - (-1.9) BUF
The Dolphins had their worst net passing (-16.1) of the season due to their worst normal pass plays (-3.4) and 7 sacks (-8.7). They also rushed poorly (-3.0) but punted very well (4.5). Because the Ravens also lost, the Dolphins remain in decent position despite not having the tiebreaker, with an easier opponent and a 58% chance of claiming the #6 seed. The Bills were slightly below average in net passing (1.1) and average in most other areas, but it was enough to easily win.

(4-10-1) Vikings 14 - 42 Bengals (10-5)
Offensive EPA: MIN (-17.2) - (10.9) CIN
The Vikings followed by far their best net passing of the season last week with by far their worst net passing (-22.2). It combined terrible normal pass plays (-4.9) with 3 interceptions (-10.1) and 4 sacks (-7.2) including a lost fumble. They did rush well (6.0) with help from some successful WR runs. The Bengals had their 2nd best net passing (20.8) of the season. The Bengals are most likely to stay in the #3 seed, but are more likely to move down than up due to easier opponents for both the Patriots and Colts.

(12-3) Broncos 37 - 13 Texans (2-13)
Offensive EPA: DEN (14.9) - (-9.1) HOU
The Broncos had great net passing (18.7) yet again. The Texans had poor marks in all 3 net passing (-7.2) categories as Matt Schaub didn't fare any better than Keenum had recently.

(6-9) Titans 20 - 16 Jaguars (4-11)
Offensive EPA: TEN (4.2) - (1.2) JAC
The Titans were near average in most areas but had success in rushing (4.5) and field goals (2.7). The Jaguars were a bit above average in many categories, but had poor rushing (-2.5) and lost points on turnovers (-5.2) from 2 failed 4th down attempts.

(10-5) Colts 23 - 7 Chiefs (11-4)
Offensive EPA: IND (7.1) - (-8.5) KC
The Colts had success in net passing (8.7) by mostly avoiding negative plays. The Chiefs were very bad in all 3 net passing (-12.6) categories. They almost offset those issues with extremely good rushing (10.1), but also struggled in the lesser categories. Unless the Broncos or Bengals lose next week, this game result really didn't matter, but there is a good chance this game will be replayed in Indianapolis in the Wild Card round.

(4-11) Browns 13 - 24 Jets (7-8)
Offensive EPA: CLE (-2.3) - (8.7) NYJ
The Browns had bad net passing (-5.6) due to poor normal pass plays (4.8) and 2 interceptions (-7.7), but almost made up for it with good rushing (2.3) and generally positive marks in lesser categories. The Jets produced their best overall offensive mark thanks to their best net passing (16.9) of the season.

(8-7) Cowboys 24 - 23 Redskins (3-12)
Offensive EPA: DAL (-0.1) - (-1.1) WAS
The Cowboys had very good net passing (12.0) but it was offset by poor marks in several lesser categories. With the loss of Tony Romo, their playoff odds look bleak. The Redskins were near average in net passing (5.1) but also struggled in some lesser areas including punting (-2.9) due to giving up a long return. Washington appears set for a very high draft pick, but it will go to the Rams due to the Robert Griffin trade.

(10-5) Saints 13 - 17 Panthers (11-4)
Offensive EPA: NO (-6.3) - (0.5) CAR
The Saints were a bit below average in most areas other than punting (3.8), with their biggest issue being 6 sacks (-7.8). The Panthers were similarly effective in punting (3.6) while also struggling in net passing (-4.0), but ran better (1.4) and had more success in lesser categories. Carolina will probably still need to win in Atlanta next week to win the division, but this game had a huge impact on the NFC South race. However, the Saints remain more likely in our simulations to win the Super Bowl due to their superior rating.

(4-11) Buccaneers 13 - 23 Rams (7-8)
Offensive EPA: TB (-7.6) - (2.1) STL
The Bucs were poor in net passing (-4.6) mostly due to 7 sacks (-10.2) including a lost fumble. The Rams had success in net passing (6.6) by avoiding interceptions and had strong field goal kicking (3.1). But their success was largely offset by turnovers (-9.4) from lost fumbles on consecutive drives and a failed 4th down attempt with the game nearly over.

(6-9) Giants 23 - 20 Lions (7-8)
Offensive EPA: NYG (-5.6) - (-7.2) DET
The Giants were a bit below average in net passing (2.3) due to subpar normal pass plays (7.5) and were very bad in rushing (-6.0), but had good field goals (3.6). The Lions punted well (3.1), but had poor net passing (-4.7) due to subpar normal pass plays (6.9) and 2 interceptions (-8.9) including a touchdown. Detroit is eliminated from playoff contention with a week to go, having had an 86% chance of winning the division just 3 weeks ago. If they had won this game, they would have been favorites in the NFC North going into Week 17.

(10-5) Cardinals 17 - 10 Seahawks (12-3)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-10.0) - (-17.3) SEA
The Cardinals had poor net passing (-7.1) due to 4 interceptions (-13.7). However, the Seahawks offense was even less efficient. Their net passing (-7.9) was just as bad due to by far their worst normal pass plays (-1.2) of the season, and they struggled in some special teams areas. Ultimately this surprise result will most likely have no bearing on the playoff picture, but had the 49ers lost, or should the Saints or Seahawks blow a heavily favored Week 17 game, it could still have serious implications.

(11-4) Patriots 41 - 7 Ravens (8-7)
Offensive EPA: NE (8.9) - (-25.1) BAL
The Patriots were slightly above average in net passing (5.9), rushing (2.2), and most special teams categories. New England can still move into any of the top 4 AFC seeds, but will most likely stay at #2. The Ravens net passing (-8.6) was very bad mostly due to 3 interceptions (-14.1), although 1 was a pick-6 thrown by backup Tyrod Taylor in garbage time. Baltimore also had serious losses from an aborted snap (-6.6) that was recovered for a touchdown and 3 turnovers (-5.7) from failed 4th down coversions. Despite the Dolphins also losing, the Ravens playoff odds dropped from 38% to 20% due to the loss and the Chargers winning. While the Ravens have the tiebreaker over the Dolphins and Chargers individually, a 3-way tiebreaker would be won by the Dolphins.

(7-8) Steelers 38 - 31 Packers (7-7-1)
Offensive EPA: PIT (6.0) - (-1.0) GB
The high score in this game was the result of turnovers rather than great offense. The Steelers had very good rushing (7.0) but also had a Le'Veon Bell lost fumble (-4.5). This was 1 of 4 game results the Steelers needed this week to stay in the playoff picture, and they would need 4 more games to all go their way next week to get in. The Packers also had great rushing (7.5), but had poor net passing (-4.8) due to subpar normal pass plays (5.8) and a pick-6 (-7.6). They also had strong kick returns (2.0) and field goals (3.2), but lost significant points in our final plays of each half category (-4.2) because they ran out of time at the end of the game without being able to capitalize on their great field position. Because the Bears also lost, this game turned out to be irrelevant for the Packers. Giving the Packers the net passing rating they had when Aaron Rodgers went down makes Green Bay slight favorites in the NFC North.

(4-11) Raiders 13 - 26 Chargers (8-7)
Offensive EPA: OAK (-4.8) - (8.2) SD
The Raiders net passing (-2.9) was poor due to bad normal pass plays (0.8). Their kick returns (-6.4) were also poor because they lost a fumble on a return, but their punting (6.0) was good because they recovered a muff. The Chargers had good net passing (8.7) and rushing (3.4). San Diego got all 3 Week 16 game results they needed to stay in the playoff picture in surprising fashion, boosting their playoff hopes from 4% to 17%. They still need 3 more game to all go their way in Week 17, but only 1 would be an upset.

(8-7) Bears 11 - 54 Eagles (9-6)
Offensive EPA: CHI (-12.7) - (29.5) PHI
The Bears again had solid normal pass plays (14.5), but it was offset by a pick-6 (-7.7) and 5 sacks (-6.7) for subpar overall net passing (0.1). They also had poor rushing (-4.5), and kick returns (-5.3) due to a lost fumble. The Eagles were very effective in net passing (13.4) and also had the 2nd best rushing mark (16.7) in the NFL this season. Of the 15 best rushing performances in the 2013 season, 5 have been against the Bears, all coming in the last 8 weeks. The bad and good news for these teams continues as the Bears now have deal with the return of Aaron Rodgers while the Eagles get a Cowboys team without Tony Romo.

(4-11) Falcons 24 - 34 49ers (11-4)
Offensive EPA: ATL (2.9) - (16.5) SF
The Falcons had the 2nd best normal pass plays (22.4) of Week 16, which allowed them to still have good net passing (10.3) despite 2 interceptions (-10.7) that included a long touchdown. But the 49ers had good net passing (9.1) and rushing (7.9). San Francisco could have been in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs had they lost this game due to the Cardinals surprise win in Seattle, but now they are guaranteed a playoff spot and hoping for another huge Seahawks collapse.

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