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Week 17 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.

The final week of the 2012 NFL season resulted in all our projected playoff teams actually advancing into the playoffs, but saw some significant changes in seeds. With a loss, the Texans drop all the way from the 1 seed to the 3 in the AFC. In the NFC, the Vikings beating the Packers not only pushed them into the playoffs, but knocked the Packers down to the 3 seed. These changes in seeds have had significant impacts on our Super Bowl odds, because byes and home field advantage play a huge role in the NFL playoffs.

(7-9) Buccaneers 22 - 17 Falcons (13-3)
Offensive EPA: TB (0.3) - (-4.7) ATL
The Buccaneers managed the same effectiveness (1.4) in net passing and rushing, meaning they were slightly worse than league average on passes and slightly better on rushes, while typical negatives in other categories brought them down to average overall on offense. The Falcons had just their 3rd less than average mark of the season in net passing (1.5) due to poor normal pass plays (2.1). The game was meaningless for Atlanta, but the poor performance and other results reduced their championship odds from 17% to 14%.

(6-10) Jets 9 - 28 Bills (6-10)
Offensive EPA: NYJ (-16.9) - (2.1) BUF
In a final start for Mark Sanchez, the Jets net passing (-10.8) was terrible all around. The rest of the offense was slightly subpar in other areas. The Bills were efficient in net passing (7.9) by avoiding any sacks or interceptions. They also had some success in rushing (1.6), but a C.J. Spiller fumble lost (-4.4) and bad field goals (-4.4) mitigated much of the success.

(12-4) Texans 16 - 28 Colts (11-5)
Offensive EPA: HOU (1.9) - (13.9) IND
The Texans were close to average in most categories. The Colts had great success in net passing (11.6) mostly by avoiding negative plays, and scored a great mark on kickoff returns (4.9) thanks to a touchdown. Despite this being a meaningless game for the Colts, the big loss dropped the Texans from the 1 seed to the 3, and dropped their Super Bowl winning chances from 8% to just 3%.

(5-11) Browns 10 - 24 Steelers (8-8)
Offensive EPA: CLE (-9.1) - (4.9) PIT
Under 3rd-stringer QB Thaddeus Lewis, the Browns were slightly poor all around in net passing (-1.0). Their run plays had success (3.1) with help from a 35-yard fake punt, while 2 fumbles lost by wide receivers (-7.1) were costly. The Steelers had success passing (7.6) by avoiding interceptions and were otherwise rather average.

(2-14) Jaguars 20 - 38 Titans (6-10)
Offensive EPA: JAC (-28.1) - (-12.3) TEN
The Jaguars moved the ball well on normal pass plays (15.0), but 3 interceptions (-19.1) with 2 returned for touchdowns and 7 sacks (-7.7) far more than offset it for very negative overall results. The Jaguars offensive mark was further deteriorated by their punts (-9.9) due to 2 being returned for touchdowns. The Titans were just below average in net passing (1.5) and terrible in rushing (-5.0). They had their own issues on punts (-4.6) as a result of a blocked punt returned for a touchdown.

(10-6) Ravens 17 - 23 Bengals (10-6)
Offensive EPA: BAL (-7.8) - (-3.2) CIN
With the only motivation in this game being a slight hope for the Ravens of jumping to the 3 seed, both teams sat significant starters for much of the game. Both Ravens QBs struggled a bit all around for a poor net passing mark (-4.2). The Bengals QBs faired slightly better in net passing (0.1) by avoiding negative plays. Their run game was poor (-3.3), but they had success on field goals (2.2) and punts (2.3).

(10-6) Bears 26 - 24 Lions (4-12)
Offensive EPA: CHI (-1.9) - (-3.6) DET
The Bears had some succes in net passing (5.9) by avoiding interceptions, but were slightly negative in several other categories. With better normal pass plays but more negative plays, the Lions finished with a similar mark (6.3) in net passing. Their downfall was kick returns (-5.5) due to fumble lost, and a lost fumbled snap (-3.7). The win would have sent the Bears to the playoffs had the Vikings lost. The Lions were significantly better than their final record.

(7-9) Panthers 44 - 38 Saints (7-9)
Offensive EPA: CAR (14.8) - (11.0) NO
The Panthers were about average in net passing (4.3), but their rushing (15.5) was the best for a game for any team this season. The Saints were great again in net passing (17.9), but with slight negatives in several others categories, it was not quite enough. Despite finishing below 0.500, both of these teams end above average in our ratings and carry hope into the offseason.

(4-12) Eagles 7 - 42 Giants (9-7)
Offensive EPA: PHI (-7.6) - (29.7) NYG
In a final start in relief of an injured Nick Foles, Michael Vick and the Eagles were a bit below average in net passing (1.6) and had negatives in several other categories. The Giants delivered their 2nd best net passing mark (19.5) and 2nd best rushing mark (7.8) for their best overall offensive performance of the season, but other results eliminated them from the playoff hunt.

(4-12) Raiders 21 - 24 Chargers (7-9)
Offensive EPA: OAK (2.4) - (4.2) SD
In his first start, QB Terrelle Pryor found some success in net passing (7.4) by avoiding sacks. The Raiders rushing (-3.6) was poor, but they also made up some ground with good punting (3.4). The Chargers also had one of their better games in net passing (10.3) while continuing to struggle in rushing (-5.8). What put them over the top was kick returns (4.8) because of a return touchdown.

(2-14) Chiefs 3 - 38 Broncos (13-3)
Offensive EPA: KC (-12.8) - (22.6) DEN
The Chiefs continued to struggle mightily with Brady Quinn at QB, with a dismal mark in net passing (-12.2) and among the worst normal pass plays (-7.4) from a team all season. For the 2nd week in a row the Broncos actually put up their new best mark in net passing (25.6) of the season. That success plus good rushing (2.9) allowed them to maintain an amazing offensive performance despite a costly fumble lost (-6.8) that was returned 64 yards. The Broncos jumped to the 1 seed with the win and Texans loss.

(11-5) Packers 34 - 37 Vikings (10-6)
Offensive EPA: GB (16.9) - (19.5) MIN
The Packers were very good again in net passing (17.9) and pretty average otherwise. The Vikings were almost as impressive in net passing (16.4), which combined with successful rushing (4.9) was just enough to overcome the Packers passing. The performance of Adrian Peterson got the headlines, but the Vikings passing was actually much more effective. Even using basic stats, Minnesota gained more yards on less attempts while passing rather than rushing, while avoiding turnovers which usually complicate such a comparison. Because the Vikings won, these teams will meet again in Green Bay next week. The Packers Super Bowl winning chances were reduced from 11% to 6% with the significant drop to the 3 seed.

(7-9) Dolphins 0 - 28 Patriots (12-4)
Offensive EPA: MIA (-12.9) - (15.1) NE
The Dolphins were a bit poor all around in net passing (-2.6). They were poor in most other categories as well, highlighted by a lost fumbled snap (-4.1). The Patriots were very efficient in net passing (13.9) and rushing (5.6). With help from the Texans, the Patriots make the all-important jump into the 2 seed, increasing their Super Bowl championship odds from 17% to 24%.

(5-11) Cardinals 13 - 27 49ers (11-4-1)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-6.2) - (6.1) SF
The Cardinals net passing (-2.6) was poor under Brian Hoyer, but better than they had done previously with Ryan Lindley. A Michael Floyd fumble lost (-3.0) further set Arizona back. The 49ers were very effective in net passing (15.0), which was enough to overcome poor marks in rushing (-2.2) and field goals (-3.5). With the Packers loss, the 49ers jump into the 2 seed.

(7-8-1) Rams 13 - 20 Seahawks (11-5)
Offensive EPA: STL (0.1) - (7.7) SEA
The Rams were somewhat effective in net passing (6.2) by avoiding negative plays, but were poor on field goals (-3.4). The Seahawks suffered 6 sacks (-6.1), but more than made up for it with good normal pass plays (13.6) and no interceptions. In other areas, they were generally slightly above average.

(8-8) Cowboys 18 - 28 Redskins (10-6)
Offensive EPA: DAL (-1.0) - (9.0) WAS
The Cowboys net passing (-2.4) was poor due to 3 interceptions (-8.8). They made up for it slightly with good rushing (2.2) and other categories, but not enough to match the Redskins success. Washington was a little below average in net passing (1.8) as well, but put up one of the best rushing performances (13.8) of the season. It was enough to overcome poor field goals (-2.4) and punts (-3.8). Essentially a play-in game for the playoffs, the result gives the Redskins the 4 seed and knocks the Cowboys out.

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