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Week 5 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.

Like last week, Week 5 did not present a whole lot of big surprises and saw mostly favorites win. And as our ratings continue to improve and settle down, our projected playoff seeds are seeing less turnover from week to week now. It is becoming crunch time for teams that have underperformed like the Packers, Saints, and Lions, all of which we still expect to climb some in the ratings due to their high 2011 ratings. Meanwhile, we are getting a clearer picture of which surprising teams are more legitimate than others, as continually low ratings for teams like the Cardinals, Vikings, Seahawks, and Rams show that their early success may be short lived.

(4-1) Cardinals 3 - 17 Rams (3-2)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-13.9) - (0.1) STL
The Cardinals offense was bad all around, and particularly terrible in giving up 9 sacks (-12.6) including a fumble lost. That is the worst mark for any team so far, and each week Arizona has suffered costlier sacks than prior. They also had a setback on normal pass plays (3.0) which is further evidence that they will struggle to live up to their record. The Rams defense has performed better each week, but the offense was net below neutral again apart from solid field goals (1.7) and punting (2.7). Like the Cardinals, the Rams normal pass plays (3.8) were subpar again, and they are certain to struggle to maintain a winning record.

(4-1) Ravens 9 - 6 Chiefs (1-4)
Offensive EPA: BAL (-7.1) - (-9.8) KC
Despite the win, this is another alarming game to suggest that the Ravens and their passing in particular may still be no better than prior seasons. Their net passing (-4.1) was very bad, and their kick returns (-4.4) hurt as well due to a lost fumble. The Chiefs were a little subpar in total passing (0.8), but what really cost them the game were 2 fumbled snaps that were both lost (-9.6). Kansas City ran for over 200 yards, but the fact that it took 50 attempts meant it was actually their least efficient rushing performance of the season (-0.5).

(0-5) Browns 27 - 41 Giants (3-2)
Offensive EPA: CLE (4.6) - (17.5) NYG
The Browns defense continues to have issues, but this was at least a promising effort by the offense. The net pass offense was still decent (3.5) despite 2 interceptions (-8.5). The Giants net pass offense (12.7) was very good again, and this week they paired it with an incredible rushing effort (13.4) that was the 2nd best by a team this season. They currently have a higher rating than last season when they needed a fair amount of luck to win the Super Bowl.

(3-2) Eagles 14 - 16 Steelers (2-2)
Offensive EPA: PHI (2.1) - (4.8) PIT
The low score in this game is a bit misleading, as both offenses were better than league average efficiency. The Eagles net passing was very good (10.6) and their run game (2.3) was solid, but their downfall was 2 lost fumbles (-8.4) by Michael Vick while running. The Steelers so far dominant pass game was somewhat successful again, but this time only by avoiding mistakes rather than moving the ball well. Their normal pass plays (6.2) were below average, but avoiding any interceptions or sacks meant the overall net performance was above average.

(2-3) Dolphins 17 - 13 Bengals (3-2)
Offensive EPA: MIA (-4.8) - (-8.8) CIN
The Dolphins were net negative on offense as a whole due to a couple of turnovers (-6.7) in the form of a fumble and failed 4th down conversion, and subpar run plays (-2.4) and field goal attempts (-2.0). But their net passing (8.8) was good for the second straight week under Ryan Tannehill, which bodes well. The Bengals are probably the hardest team in the league to figure out right now. Last year they were a little subpar passing, and this year they have now had 3 amazing games and 2 terrible games. This week was one of the stinkers with a bad net passing mark (-5.8), but their previous success means they are probably still better off than last year. Cincinnati generated a good mark on punts (4.2) because they recovered a fumbled punt return, but it was not enough to make up for the struggling offense.

(2-3) Packers 27 - 30 Colts (2-2)
Offensive EPA: GB (3.9) - (6.5) IND
The Packers were very good again on normal pass plays (16.3) but some of the success was mitigated by 5 sacks (-5.2). Missing 2 long range field goals also hurt their cause. Green Bay is starting to closer resemble their 2011 form and advanced stats show they are much better than their record, but they are now in a position where they have little to no room for mistakes in order to make the playoffs or win their division. It ought to be hard for a 1st overall draft pick to fly under the radar, but that is exactly what is happening with Andrew Luck. The Colts have been very good on normal pass plays in all 4 of their games, and apart from Week 1 they have had very few interceptions and sacks to counteract the success. This week Indianapolis combined good net passing (9.9) with their first good rushing performance (2.5) of the season.

(5-0) Falcons 27 - 30 Redskins (2-3)
Offensive EPA: ATL (-0.1) - (-7.1) WAS
The Falcons normal pass plays were great again (17.2), but a costly pick-6 (-6.7), a lost fumbled snap (-3.8), and subpar running (-1.5) set back the offense for their worst overall performance yet, despite still being league average. Atlanta remains strong in the most representative categories, and has been as impressive as any team in the league statistically so far. The Redskins total net passing (-4.1) was bad. Robert Griffin III was unspectacular, and after he left with a concussion, Kirk Cousins threw a long touchdown but also threw 2 interceptions (-6.8).

(3-2) Seahawks 16 - 12 Panthers (1-4)
Offensive EPA: SEA (-12.0) - (-19.9) CAR
The Seahawks normal pass plays (11.2) were actually as successful as ever this season, but for the 2nd week in a row multiple interceptions (-9.5) set them back. Subpar running and a fumble on a kickoff return cost Seattle further. The Seahawks won another close ugly game, but this is not a recipe for success. The Panthers pass game was as bad as it has ever been under Cam Newton. Their normal pass plays (1.1) were very bad, and 4 sacks (-7.8) including a lost fumble added to the trouble. Turnovers (-6.2) from a DeAngelo Williams fumble and a failed 4th down conversion at the goalline further contributed to the Carolina offensive issues. This game and the Panthers record are alarming, but Carolina is still a decent team.

(4-1) Bears 41 - 3 Jaguars (1-4)
Offensive EPA: CHI (16.7) - (-21.3) JAC
The Bears generated their best overall offensive performance yet with very good net passing (11.4) and running (8.4). And their defense remained strong by totally shutting down the hapless Jaguars offense. For the 4th straight week, the Jaguars normal pass plays (-0.4) were very bad, and this week huge negatives from 2 interceptions both returned for touchdowns (-13.2) and 3 sacks (-5.4) including a fumble lost resulted in a blowout loss. Jacksonville has quickly jumped to the bottom few of the league on offense again this season, and with improved options at wide receiver, it seems Blaine Gabbert simply is not cutting it in the NFL. Interestingly though, the Jaguars controversial 3rd round draft pick punter Bryan Anger appears to be paying off, as they punted well again (3.8) and are 2nd in the league in punting this season.

(1-4) Titans 7 - 30 Vikings (4-1)
Offensive EPA: TEN (-7.6) - (13.9) MIN
The Titans net pass offense was a little subpar (0.1). Two turnovers (-5.2) from a Chris Johnson fumble and a failed 4th down conversion further cost Tennessee. Christian Ponder and the Vikings net pass offense (11.1) rebounded from last week for another good performance. The Minnesota offense has had success this season by avoiding turnovers and pre-snap penalties, but that is generally not as reliable as good normal pass plays. As such, the Vikings should still not be considered better than an average team. But their fast start may help them sneak into the playoffs.

(2-3) Broncos 21 - 31 Patriots (3-2)
Offensive EPA: DEN (3.9) - (13.9) NE
The Broncos net pass offense (14.9) under Peyton Manning was very good again even accounting for a sack-fumble, but Denver was let down by their run game (-2.4) and turnovers (-6.3) from 2 other fumbles and a failed 4th down conversion. Their great passing is evidence that Denver is a very good team that has been a prisoner of their schedule. The Patriots continue to recover from their slow start to the season and climb in our ratings with another impressive performance. New England has now netted 13 or more points on offense in 4 of 5 games this season, the exception coming against Arizona. Their pass offense has not been as dominant as 2011, but they are making up for it in the run game where they are currently 2nd in the league in EPA. In this game, the Patriots net pass offense (8.5) and rushing (11.4) were both very good.

(2-3) Bills 3 - 45 49ers (4-1)
Offensive EPA: BUF (-9.8) - (32.2) SF
Up until this game, the Bills offense was playing pretty well. But their normal pass plays (-3.0) this game were as their worst since 2009, and cast doubt on whether the Bills under Ryan Fitzpatrick will ever improve to a playoff caliber team. Meanwhile, the 49ers quietly posted our 3rd best offensive mark in the NFL since 2009, only surpassed by the more publicized primetime performances by the Saints against the Colts last season and by the Eagles against the Redskins 2 years ago. The pass offense rebounded from 2 straight poor weeks with the 2nd best net passing performance (23.2) in the league this season, and they posted a rushing mark (12.5) better than any in the league this season except theirs last week and 1 other. The offense has been inconsistent, but this game significantly raised the 49ers rating, and it is a sign that they are improving over last season.

(3-2) Chargers 24 - 31 Saints (1-4)
Offensive EPA: SD (5.5) - (12.5) NO
The Chargers were great on normal pass plays (18.1), but 5 sacks (-9.2) including a fumble lost lowered the overall pass performance from great to decent. San Diego did also run the ball well though (3.7). The Saints are finally hitting their stride and 2011 form, with a great net pass game (18.3) that more than overcame bad rushing (-3.2). Despite their record, the Saints are 2nd in the league on normal pass plays this season, which is the most likely play type to continue going forward. If it keeps up, even the playoffs are not out of the picture, but their schedule remains tough.

(5-0) Texans 23 - 17 Jets (2-3)
Offensive EPA: HOU (3.1) - (-1.6) NYJ
The Texans offense was somewhat efficient mostly by avoiding mistakes. Another unimpressive performance on normal pass plays (6.7) was good enough this week considering the lack of mistakes, but going forward is evidence that Houston is just among the best teams in the AFC rather than the best team. Their run game (-1.6) stacked up yardage but also had a ton of attempts. The Jets were terrible passing again, with bad normal pass plays (4.6) that were nowhere near enough to make up for 2 interceptions (-10.0). Their rushing mark (2.6) was inflated by two 4th down conversions, one being a fake punt. The Jets also managed a great kickoff mark (4.9) because of a kickoff return touchdown.

Byes: Cowboys (2-2), Lions (1-3), Raiders (1-3), Buccaneers (1-3)

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