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Week 2 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.

Week 2 of the NFL season did a good job of squelching most of the media overreactions and hype following Week 1. In fact, the main story through Week 2 is apparent parity in the league, with a record number of teams at a 1-1 record. The same trend is visible in our ratings. Last season, 12 teams at this point already had ratings at 2.0 or above, or -2.0 or below. This year, there are only 4 such teams. Passing games are still dominating games, but more on a league-wide basis rather than a select number of teams putting up ridiculous stats. That said, we still expect the league to open up quite a bit in the coming weeks. Here is our rundown of every Week 2 game.

(1-1) Bears 10 - 23 Packers (1-1)
Offensive EPA: CHI (-14.4) - (-1.4) GB
Every now and then last season Jay Cutler and the Bears pass offense imploded catastrophically, and this time it happened even worse than it ever did with Cutler in 2011. 4 interceptions (-9.8) and 7 sacks (-7.7) were nowhere near made up for by the subpar normal pass plays (4.5). Losing Matt Forte for a bit to a high ankle sprain won't help, but it's too soon to forget the Week 1 success, and the defense remains stout. For the 2nd straight week, the Packers offense put in a performance about as bad as any from their regular season last year, and that's including about a 5 point gain from a fake field goal converted for a touchdown. But they've now faced 2 of our top 3 defenses from a year ago, and should more resemble their 2011 form going forward.

(0-2) Chiefs 17 - 35 Bills (1-1)
Offensive EPA: KC (-6.5) - (11.1) BUF
The standard Chiefs offense actually was decent. Despite giving up 5 sacks (-8.6) including a fumble lost, their normal pass plays (12.0) and run game (4.3) made them net positive. But they were undone by a Peyton Hillis fumble and giving up a touchdown on a punt return. Despite 2 bad losses, the Chiefs have been solid in the more consistent play types, so they should be okay going forward. The Bills pass offense had success by avoiding negative plays, while the run game (4.3) had great success yet again. The Bills have also stayed solid in the more representative play types.

(0-2) Browns 27 - 34 Bengals (1-1)
Offensive EPA: CLE (6.9) - (12.7) CIN
The Browns offense really turned things around this week, playing well overall while passing and running and remaining net positive despite giving up a punt return touchdown. But it was not enough to match a Bengals offense which itself saw dramatically better results than last week. Cincinnati was among the best pass offenses of the week with an impressive normal pass plays (22.8) mark and few negative plays. The increased offensive production bodes well for both teams, as offensive results are more consistent than defensive.

(0-2) Raiders 13 - 35 Dolphins (1-1)
Offensive EPA: OAK (-4.1) - (17.8) MIA
The Raiders pass offense was unimpressive but netted about league average results. The run game (-4.4) was bad for the 2nd straight week, which is somewhat alarming for a team that finished 2011 as our 10th highest rated rush offense. The Dolphins offense really turned things around on the heels of the best rushing performance in the league so far this season (12.1). The pass game had success as well by avoiding negative plays, but until Miami shows more success on normal pass plays (8.1), it is hard to expect continued success from the Dolphins.

(2-0) Cardinals 20 - 18 Patriots (1-1)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-5.4) - (-6.9) NE
The Cardinals have jumped out to a 2-0 start, but the media has been right to not jump on the bandwagon here. Arizona was subpar on offense, and while perhaps their 2011 #12 rated defense will be even better this year, this is a classic example of our system pointing out a team with unimpressive stats whose winning ways are not likely to continue. The Patriots pass offense was about league average, but combined with terrible rush results (-5.4) and a blocked punt for their worst overall offensive game since the 2009 season. But it is too early to view the Patriots as anything less than one of the top teams in the league. An interesting aside was the usually wisely risk-taking Bill Belichick settling for a 42-yard field goal after kneeling on 1st down with 46 seconds left on the clock.

(0-2) Saints 27 - 35 Panthers (1-1)
Offensive EPA: NO (7.4) - (14.1) CAR
Saints stock is at an all time low, and we are buying. The offense hasn't quite stacked up to 2011, but has been good, and the defense won't give up 38 points every game. This game, the Saints pass offense was just average but the run game (7.1) was great. Looking forward, New Orleans is still good in the representative categories and has been bad in those that are likely to regress to the mean. The playoffs are not out of the picture for the Saints. The Panthers turned things around this week with more success passing and a huge turnaround running (8.7) following their struggles last week.

(1-1) Vikings 20 - 23 Colts (1-1)
Offensive EPA: MIN (3.5) - (7.3) IND
The Vikings offense has been rather mediocre all around this season. Minnesota is in a tough division, but is not as terrible as many people thought coming into the season. This was a very promising game for Andrew Luck and the Colts. The pass offense managed to move the ball well again on normal pass plays (15.1) while this week avoiding interceptions. The run game was terrible (-7.0), but the passing success bodes very well for Luck and the Colts.

(2-0) Texans 27 - 7 Jaguars (0-2)
Offensive EPA: HOU (9.5) - (-10.5) JAC
The Texans avoided mistakes and didn't do much through the air, but they didn't need to. Houston gashed the #3 rush defense from 2011 with a huge running game (10.2). Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars offense reverted back to their 2011 ways after a promising preseason and Week 1. Their mark on normal pass plays (-4.7) was the 2nd worst in the league this season. That is a bad sign moving forward, especially with the defense playing worse.

(1-1) Buccaneers 34 - 41 Giants (1-1)
Offensive EPA: TB (3.2) - (10.2) NYG
The Buccaneers offense was pretty average, with a lot of their points generated from defensive interceptions. Eli Manning and the Giants pass offense put together an interesting performance. Despite 3 very costly interceptions (-16.4), they more than made up for it by moving the ball on normal pass plays (28.4) better than any team in the league so far this season.

(1-1) Ravens 23 - 24 Eagles (2-0)
Offensive EPA: BAL (-3.1) - (-2.1) PHI
It took just 1 week to end the "Joe Flacco is elite now with the no huddle offense" talk. The Ravens pass offense took a big step back, putting up a very bad mark on normal pass plays (2.7). The true Ravens are the average of the past 2 weeks, a good but not great team with a decent but not great quarterback. The Eagles squeak by with another 1 point vicory, but they played much better this time. Michael Vick and the pass offense moved the ball very well on normal pass plays (21.1) to offset 4 turnovers in the form of 2 interceptions (-7.1), a fumbled snap (-4.1) and a LeSean McCoy fumble (-4.0). The Philadelphia defense appears to be improving upon their #11 rating from last season.

(1-1) Redskins 28 - 31 Rams (1-1)
Offensive EPA: WAS (0.6) - (3.9) STL
Robert Griffin III and the Redskins pass offense was a little subpar this week, coming off their great performance in Week 1. It appears RG3 is not immune to rookie QB struggles either. Washington did run the ball very well (7.4) but also struggled in several special teams areas. The Rams offense offset a costly interception (-5.0) and 2 fumbles lost with a good performance on normal pass plays (14.7). The net positive offensive performance by St. Louis marks their first in over a year, and keeps a glimmer of hope for this season.

(1-1) Cowboys 7 - 27 Seahawks (1-1)
Offensive EPA: DAL (-12.5) - (7.5) SEA
The Cowboys relatively poor normal pass plays (7.0) were not nearly able to offset a costly interception (-4.9), a fumbled kickoff return, and a blocked punt. All told, the Dallas offense was less effective than in any game last season. The Seahawks offense was successful mostly by avoiding negative plays. Seattle could be in the mix down the road if they continue to avoid mistakes and play good defense, but they have yet to show success in our stat categories more indicative of future success.

(1-1) Jets 10 - 27 Steelers (1-1)
Offensive EPA: NYJ (-1.9) - (15.1) PIT
The Jets offense looked more familiar in this game after the surprise success last week. The normal pass plays (3.3) were ineffective, but the overall pass offense avoided being terrible by reducing negative plays. The Steelers normal pass plays (18.7) were successful while the rush attack was disappointing (-5.3) again this week, but this time they avoided costly interceptions and sacks. The Pittsburgh offense also benefitted from a Jets fumble on a punt return.

(0-2) Titans 10 - 38 Chargers (2-0)
Offensive EPA: TEN (-5.4) - (22.6) SD
The Titans lose in a blowout again, but it's too early to label them a basement dweller in the league after facing 2 of the best offenses and teams in the league. The struggles this week on normal pass plays (-1.4) however are a bad sign going forward to go along with the continued run game struggles (-1.6). The Chargers haven't played the best of competition, but they are winning in ways that historically have led to future success. San Diego was great through the air and even had success this week on the ground (4.3) while putting up the best offensive performance of the season thus far. If the Chargers avoid the bad luck from the past couple seasons, they should be one of the top teams in the league.

(1-1) Lions 19 - 27 49ers (2-0)
Offensive EPA: DET (2.6) - (10.6) SF
Offenses often override defenses, but a good Lions offense was held to pretty average results by a great 49ers defense. The 49ers just about duplicated their offensive stats from last week, with solid normal pass plays (13.1) and run plays (3.3) combined with an absence of interceptions. Receiving a running into the kicker penalty on a field goal also helped somewhat to offset a costly fumble lost on a kickoff return. San Francisco has now paired 2 offensive performances in a row similar to some of their best all last season. If the offense stays productive, the 49ers will finally earn the respect they have been receiving. If not, they could be in for a letdown. The media calling the 49ers by far the best team in the league is quite an overreaction. Later in the season they will likely be saying the same thing about a different team.

(1-1) Broncos 21 - 27 Falcons (2-0)
Offensive EPA: DEN (0.8) - (6.8) ATL
The Broncos were only able to net an average offensive performance despite success running the ball (5.2) and impressive punting (3.1) due to a 3 interception game (-11.3) by Peyton Manning. It was not enough to keep up with the Falcons, who again had success passing while avoiding negative plays. Atlanta struggled running the ball again (-4.7), but overall has been one of the most impressive teams of the short season thus far.

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