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Week 7 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 7 was somewhat standard in that there was only 1 upset, but with the added data our model continues to be more powerful in separating teams with true quality from those that have been lucky. Teams like the Broncos and Saints that have been succcessful in more consistent categories are featured near the top of our ratings despite some poor records. Likewise, teams like the Cardinals and Seahawks find themselves near the bottom despite good records because their stats are indicative of teams that have been winning in unreliable ways. For similar reasons the Packers now top our ratings, knocking off the Falcons during their bye week, who had maintained the top slot for 5 straight weeks.

(4-3) Seahawks 6 - 13 49ers (5-2)
Offensive EPA: SEA (-7.4) - (-0.4) SF
The Seahawks normal pass plays (-2.8) returned to another bad mark after the rare success last week, but they did avoid major mistakes. The continued passing woes mean Seattle will likely struggle to stay in the playoff race. The 49ers pass game has also struggled of late and in this game their normal pass plays (4.6) were subpar but they also managed to avoid having many negative plays. San Francisco made up for bad passing somewhat by running decently (1.4) and punting well (2.3). Following a great start to the season, the 49ers pass game has slowed significantly and now as a whole looks a lot like it did last season, meaning they will again struggle to keep up with the top teams in our ratings.

(4-3) Packers 30 - 20 Rams (3-4)
Offensive EPA: GB (13.9) - (6.3) STL
The Packers continue to roll with incredible net passing (19.4) despite running poorly again (-4.2). Despite their record, the stats suggest that Green Bay is clearly among the best teams in the league for the 4th year in a row. The Rams lost but surprisingly the offense played well. Their net pass offense (8.0) was good and the run game (3.8) was impressive for the 2nd straight week.

(3-4) Titans 35 - 34 Bills (3-4)
Offensive EPA: TEN (16.3) - (15.3) BUF
The Titans were efficient in net passing (9.6) and posted one of the best rushing marks (12.5) for any team this season in their first real successful rushing performance of 2012. The Bills net passing (9.0) was good again following a terrible past 2 weeks. Buffalo also ran well (3.0) and had a great mark on kickoff returns (5.6) due to a return touchdown, but ultimately fell just short in the game due to yet another terrible defensive effort.

(5-2) Ravens 13 - 43 Texans (6-1)
Offensive EPA: BAL (-11.8) - (16.7) HOU
This was the worst normal pass plays mark (-1.8) for the Ravens since 2010 and the worst total net passing mark (-17.0) for them since our stats started in 2009 thanks to 2 interceptions (-10.6) including a pick-6. However, the run game was positive (1.7) for the 6th time in 7 games, and the passing has still been solid on average this season. The defense struggled again, but has been decent overall, and with Terrell Suggs back should be good enough to keep the Ravens as a solid playoff team. The Texans put together good net passing (10.6) and great running (8.1) in this very complete game. Houston is likely to finish with a great record against a weak schedule, but the stats suggest they are not quite as good as their current record suggests.

(1-6) Browns 13 - 17 Colts (3-3)
Offensive EPA: CLE (2.9) - (5.9) IND
The low score in this game was misleading as the offenses actually had success. Despite the loss, the Browns had their best net passing performance (12.4) of the season, mostly by avoiding any sacks or interceptions. But Cleveland was hampered by their poor run game (-4.7). The Browns pass offense under Brandon Weeden has improved some lately, which gives a little hope going forward. The Colts normal pass plays (6.6) were a little subpar, and though they avoided interceptions, 3 sacks (-5.0) including a fumble lost cost them. But Indianapolis had success running (3.2) and avoided some of the usual negative plays in various other categories. The Colts passing under Andrew Luck has stalled a bit the past 2 games after being very effective early in the season.

(2-4) Saints 35 - 28 Buccaneers (2-4)
Offensive EPA: NO (21.4) - (14.6) TB
The Saints pass offense continues to be on fire following their mediocre first 3 weeks. Their overall net passing (21.5) was incredible again this week, and bumps them to the best overall pass offense in EPA in season totals. The New Orleans run game (-2.8) was subpar again, but was almost negligible compared to the passing. The Saints defense continues to struggle, but is unlikely to be bad to such an incredible degree going forward. All told, the Saints are actually probably one of the better teams in the league. The Buccaneers incredibly posted the best mark for any team all season in net passing (26.2) in this game, which was a huge surprise even considering the opposing defense. The Tampa Bay pass offense has now had 2 straight great games following their terrible first 4, and may be the most unpredictable in the league right now. The Bucs lost a few points in several other categories such as running (-1.1), missing their only field goal attempt (-2.3), a failed 4th down conversion at the goal line (-2.5), and another failed 4th down conversion on the last play of the game. Overall, this was a promising result for Tampa Bay because of the pass offense, as the Bucs continue to drag themselves out from near the bottom of our ratings.

(3-3) Cowboys 19 - 14 Panthers (1-5)
Offensive EPA: DAL (3.3) - (-1.3) CAR
The Cowboys were underwhelming on normal pass plays (7.5), but the pass game was efficient overall by avoiding any sacks or interceptions. Their run game (-3.3) was bad and Dallas also lost a fumble (-1.8), but solid special teams helped. The Panthers offensive numbers in this game mirror league averages, but going forward Carolina will need to get back to their more effective 2011 form on offense to offset their continued defensive struggles.

(3-4) Redskins 23 - 27 Giants (5-2)
Offensive EPA: WAS (4.4) - (8.5) NYG
The Redskins net pass game (9.0) and run game (5.6) were again very efficient, but 3 fumbles lost (-9.8) essentially cost them the game. Despite the loss, the continued solid stats in the more consistent play types keep Washington above average in our ratings. The Giants threw 2 interceptions (-6.5), but their great normal pass plays (19.2) more than made up for them. The Giants also ran the ball positively (2.4).

(4-3) Cardinals 14 - 21 Vikings (5-2)
Offensive EPA: ARI (-12.0) - (-6.8) MIN
The Cardinals were close to league average on normal pass plays (8.8), but a pick-6 (-5.3) and 7 sacks (-12.2) including a fumble lost set them way back. Arizona has now had more costly sacks than the league average for 5 straight weeks. After losing 3 straight games, the Cardinals still are not as good as their record, and should continue to struggle especially with a tougher schedule upcoming. The Vikings were poor on normal pass plays (2.4) and also threw 2 interceptions (-6.1). This game is being called a defensive struggle, but really it was a matchup of unimpressive offenses. Like the Cardinals, the Vikings are not as good as their record, and despite the fast start are barely hanging onto a playoff spot in our projections.

(3-4) Jets 26 - 29 Patriots (4-3)
Offensive EPA: NYJ (10.2) - (12.6) NE
This was the first real successful game in net passing (8.4) for the Jets since Week 1. It is a positive sign despite the loss, but the Jets remain near the bottom of our ratings. The Patriots normal pass plays (10.7) were just average, but by avoiding interceptions and suffering just 1 sack (-1.4), they maintained an efficient pass game overall. New England returned a kickoff for a touchdown, but also fumbled a kick return. The Patriots have been less dominant on normal pass plays this season compared to last, which is why they have not broken into the top tier of our ratings.

(1-5) Jaguars 23 - 26 Raiders (2-4)
Offensive EPA: JAC (-9.7) - (4.0) OAK
The Jaguars actually had some rare passing success under Blaine Gabbert prior to his injury and Chad Henne struggling, but overall they ended the game very negative in net passing (-7.1). RB Maurice Jones-Drew was also injured early on, and without him the run game (-4.4) finished with their worst mark of the season. No matter who is at QB, they have already jumped far into last in our ratings and there is little hope for the season. The Raiders pass game was slightly positive overall. They were good on normal pass plays (14.2) but 2 sacks (-5.4) including a fumble lost mitigated some of the gains. Oakland also lost several other points on running (-2.2) and a few other categories.

(3-3) Steelers 24 - 17 Bengals (3-4)
Offensive EPA: PIT (6.9) - (-0.1) CIN
The Steelers pass offense was rather average while they benfitted from a very successful run game (6.6) in their first positive rushing game of the season. The Bengals pass offense has now followed 3 very successful games with 3 straight terrible ones. This week terrible normal pass plays (-1.9) were the root of the problem. Cincinnati made up for the passing issues with solid running (3.2) and punting (3.4), but it was not quite enough to keep up with Pittsburgh. The combination of results from this game and the Ravens loss shook up our AFC North projections quite a bit, especially with Baltimore and Cincinnati dropping in the ratings due to the terrible passing performances.

(2-4) Lions 7 - 13 Bears (5-1)
Offensive EPA: DET (-7.5) - (-1.5) CHI
The Lions were a little subpar in net passing (0.5) but somewhat successful in rushing (1.9). The mediocre results may have been enough to claim the win if not for 2 fumbles lost by running backs (-8.6). The Detroit pass game has yet to resemble that from last season, and as a result the Lions find themselves significantly lower in our ratings this year. The Bears offensive mark benefitted from a 3rd Lions fumble lost in generating a solid punting mark (4.2). Otherwise, the Chicago offense had subpar marks in net passing (-0.2) and rushing (-1.7). The Bears defense remains strong, but their mediocre offense suggests they are not a top tier team in the league as the bandwagon media is stating.

Byes: Falcons (6-0), Broncos (3-3), Chiefs (1-5), Dolphins (3-3), Eagles (3-3), Chargers (3-3)

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