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Week 3 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.

In Week 3, Terrelle Pryor and Geno Smith once again showed some promise to give their franchises hope. But the biggest story through 3 weeks in the NFL has been surprising records. Our advanced stats suggest that the 3-0 Chiefs and Bears have been decent but should regress to mediocre teams, while the Dolphins stats have been more promising but it would still be a surprise if they showed such improvement in just 1 season. Meanwhile the Steelers, Giants, and Redskins have all been plagued by flukey turnovers and should still be considered at least average quality teams despite their 0-3 records. At 1-2, slow starts for the Packers and Falcons also appear more due to luck than skill. The inverse of Miami, the 49ers actually have had poor stats, but it is still to early to throw out their 2012 season.

(3-0) Chiefs 26 - 16 Eagles (1-2)
Offensive EPA: KC (-1.8) - (-17.0) PHI
The Chiefs offense was about average or just below in most categories except punting (4.7) due to recovering a muff. Though the defense has shown improvement from last season, the stats show the Chiefs 3-0 record has so far had more to do with lucky turnovers than quality of play, so we still don't see them as better than a mediocre team. The Eagles had another strong performance on called runs (8.4), but 2 interceptions (-8.2), a lost fumbled snap (-5.0), and some other garbage time plays set them back significantly. Philadelphia is among the most difficult teams to judge at this point in the season.

(1-2) Rams 7 - 31 Cowboys (2-1)
Offensive EPA: STL (-9.1) - (14.9) DAL
After a couple of surprisingly good weeks for the Rams and surprisingly bad ones for the Cowboys, this result was more in line with our expectations for these teams coming into the season. The Rams net passing (-0.6) took a big step back from previous games. Though they scored well in punting (5.4) by recovering a muff, St. Louis lost significant points from turnovers (-8.2) on a Chris Givens fumble and a couple of late failed 4th down attempts. The Cowboys rushing (3.2) was good, but despite the media attention to DeMarco Murray's big yardage, it was their net passing (13.8) that was the bigger reason for their success. Dallas actually passed for more yards on far fewer attempts than they rushed, albeit partially due to Murray's backups struggling.

(0-3) Buccaneers 3 - 23 Patriots (3-0)
Offensive EPA: TB (-11.9) - (8.1) NE
For the 3rd straight week, the Bucs net passing (-1.1) and overall offense have been below average. Tampa also lost significant points on turnovers (-7.8) from 4 failed 4th down attempts, 2 of which came early in the game and 2 which came late in garbage time. The Patriots finally looked like their 2012 selves, fueled by strong net passing (9.1). They remain low in our ratings due to their ugly first 2 weeks, but should be just fine going forward as they get healthier.

(2-1) Texans 9 - 30 Ravens (2-1)
Offensive EPA: HOU (-16.2) - (4.8) BAL
The Texans were terrible in net passing (-10.1). Just like last year, the Houston pass game is extremely inconsistent. The Ravens had less than 200 yards through the air, but did so on few attempts while mostly avoiding negative plays for good net passing (7.9). Baltimore has been slightly above average passing in all 3 games this season, but hasn't had the impressive normal pass plays marks that propelled them through the playoffs last season. The Ravens struggled rushing (-5.7) again, but they were running out the clock.

(0-3) Giants 0 - 38 Panthers (1-2)
Offensive EPA: NYG (-21.7) - (16.3) CAR
The Giants were a bit bad in just about every category except punting (3.3), where they recovered a muff. This game didn't have the good normal pass plays silver lining that their previous 2 losses had, but overall the Giants should be considered an at least average team still. The Panthers were very effective in net passing (11.0) and rushing (5.0).

(1-2) Packers 30 - 34 Bengals (2-1)
Offensive EPA: GB (-2.6) - (1.0) CIN
This game was so high scoring not because of potent offense but because of numerous turnovers. The Packers were slightly below average in net passing (0.5) due to 2 interceptions (-5.7) and 4 sacks (-5.2), while a huge fumbled 4th down run returned for a touchdown cancelled out an otherwise successful run game. Despite their record, Green Bay remains a top team in the league. The Bengals were about average in net passing (3.7), with good normal pass plays (13.1) offset by 4 sacks (-6.9) including a fumble lost.

(1-2) Cardinals 7 - 31 Saints (3-0)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-9.1) - (14.9) NO
The Cardinals net passing (-11.1) was poor in all 3 areas, and worse than all but 1 of Carson Palmer's 2012 games as a Raider. Arizona did run (3.8) the ball well, but it wasn't enough. The Saints net passing (17.6) was incredibly good. If the New Orleans defense remains anywhere near as good as they've been, the Saints will be among the very best teams in the league.

(1-2) Chargers 17 - 20 Titans (2-1)
Offensive EPA: SD (4.9) - (8.3) TEN
The Chargers normal pass plays (8.9) didn't quite live up to the standard of their first 2 weeks, but by mostly avoiding negative plays they were still effective in net passing (8.8). The San Diego overall offensive mark was brought down a bit by the last plays of each half (-5.1) which were a blocked field goal and running out of time in decent field position. The Chargers have been better than their record implies, and while the defense has been poor they won't continue to get each opponent's best game in the future. Jake Locker and the Titans have uncharacteristically largely avoided interceptions and sacks this season, and this week they finally paired that with strong normal pass plays (15.8) for a net passing (13.3) mark better than all but 1 of their 2012 performances. It was a promising game, but so far the Titans haven't been as good as their record would indicate.

(2-1) Lions 27 - 20 Redskins (0-3)
Offensive EPA: DET (8.4) - (2.5) WAS
The Lions more than overcame a pick-6 (-6.0) with strong normal pass plays (17.6) for a 3rd straight impressive net passing (10.5) mark. Detroit looks a lot like their 2011 squad that passed more effectively than in 2012 while also playing decent defense. Once again, the Redskins lose despite solid net passing (5.2) and rushing (3.1). Though their rushing numbers have declined a bit due to the lack of a read option threat, Washington is actually passing the ball just as well as they did last season. The terrible defense has been the problem, but it can't possibly remain as poor as it has been so far. The Redskins are still a decent team.

(1-2) Browns 31 - 27 Vikings (0-3)
Offensive EPA: CLE (3.7) - (-0.3) MIN
The Browns were surprisingly effective on normal pass plays (15.8), but it was offset by 3 interceptions (-10.3) and the mark was boosted by a passing touchdown on a fake field goal. Cleveland ran the ball well (2.8), but only due to a long run on a fake punt. They also punted (2.7) well when they did actually kick it. Whle Hoyer at least showed more promise than Weeden in this game, don't forget that he also played rather poorly in 1 1/2 games with Arizona last year. Whoever the Browns move forward with, they can still be expected to struggle. The Vikings net passing (-1.6) was poor, but their run game was strong (5.5) partly due to 2 touchdowns on QB draw plays by Ponder. Minnesota scored high in punting (5.9) thanks to recovering a muff, but lost points in our turnover (-2.9) category from an Adrian Peterson fumble lost and our last plays of each half (-5.7) category. At the end of the 1st half, the Vikings wasted good field position by getting sacked and losing a fumble. To end the game, they ran out of time in opposing territory. As is often the case with highs and lows in the NFL, the Vikings were never as good as their 2012 record, and aren't quite as bad as their current record.

(1-2) Falcons 23 - 27 Dolphins (3-0)
Offensive EPA: ATL (4.6) - (8.6) MIA
The Falcons net passing (8.8) was unspectacular but efficient while the rest of the offense was rather average. The defense has fallen off some this season, but as Roddy White gets healthier Atlanta is still among the more dangerous NFC teams going forward. The Dolphins were good on normal pass plays (15.2) again, but 5 sacks (-9.2) including a lost fumble reduced their overall net passing (3.3) to about average. The real key for Miami was punting (6.6) where they kicked well and recovered a fumbled return. The Dolphins 3 normal pass plays marks this would each individually rank in their top 3 of 2012, meaning there is real hope that Tannehill has developed, but it is still too early to assume such a big change has occurred.

(1-2) Bills 20 - 27 Jets (2-1)
Offensive EPA: BUF (-4.2) - (2.8) NYJ
The Bills were poor in net passing (-3.3) due to 8 sacks (-8.8) and mostly average elsewhere. The Jets overcame 2 interceptions (-8.3) with great normal pass plays (20.2) for a good net passing (10.9) performance overall, but they also piled up slight negatives in many other categories. It is difficult to judge the Jets due to the inconsistency of Geno Smith, but he has produced some promising numbers for a rookie.

(2-1) Colts 27 - 7 49ers (1-2)
Offensive EPA: IND (12.5) - (-7.5) SF
The Colts net passing (9.4) was good by mostly avoiding negative plays. They also ran (2.4) solidly while avoiding some of the usual small negatives from other categories. Colin Kaepernick followed his worst net passing game last week with his 2nd worst (-6.7) this week. San Francisco did run well (3.0). It is hard to know what to expect from the 49ers pass game after an incredible Week 1 and then 2 terrible weeks since. They should still be a playoff team, but at this point are clearly underdogs to Seattle in the division.

(0-3) Jaguars 17 - 45 Seahawks (3-0)
Offensive EPA: JAC (-13.0) - (15.0) SEA
The Jaguars net passing (-8.7) was terrible as they were below average in all 3 passing categories. With things not improving under Chad Henne, the Jags will go back to a now healthy Gabbert, but should remain the worst team in the league. The Seahawks finally showed offensive domination instead of just efficiency, with a great net passing (17.5) mark which was actually about a third due to Tarvaris Jackson after Wilson had already secured the win.

(3-0) Bears 40 - 23 Steelers (0-3)
Offensive EPA: CHI (4.6) - (-13.4) PIT
The Bears net passing (6.0) was solid by mostly avoiding negative plays. Despite their 3-0 start, Chicago's stats are indicative of a team that will regress some. They simply can't be expected to continue to score a defensive touchdown each game. How do you lose a game by 17 points while outgaining your opponent by 200 yards? Simply lose the turnover battle 5-0, and give up 2 defensive touchdowns in the process. The Steelers were actually very good on normal pass plays (16.5), but they also had 2 interceptions (-10.1) including a pick-6. Though they only suffered 3 sacks (-14.5), 2 resulted in lost fumbles and one of those was returned for a long touchdown. Only 1 sacks mark in the NFL in all of 2012 was worse. Pittsburgh also added a poor turnovers (-5.2) mark from a Felix Jones lost fumble and a late failed 4th down attempt. Overall, this game may not have been as bad a sign for the Steelers as their previous 2 games because turnovers are a bit flukey and they finally showed that their pass game can still move the ball effectively.

(1-2) Raiders 21 - 37 Broncos (3-0)
Offensive EPA: OAK (4.3) - (18.9) DEN
Lost in another stunning performance by Denver was actually a 2nd very good game by Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders net passing (14.4) was great, but they lost points in rushing (-3.8) and a few other categories. If Pryor can continue his promising form, the Raiders could actually be a mediocre team. The Broncos continued on with yet another dominant net passing (18.1) performance. This time they also got their rushing attack (5.4) rolling and were solid on 3/3 field goals (3.2), but lost some ground on a lost Montee Ball fumble (-4.2). In a league where offense generally trumps defense, Denver should be considered a clear Super Bowl favorite.

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