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Week 7 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.

Week 7 saw the Cowboys take control in the NFC East and the Bengals pull away in the AFC North. It also made it clear that the AFC West is in a strong position to put forward 3 playoff teams despite not getting much preseason respect. The Chiefs pulled ahead for the lead spot in the division, but we still fully expect the Broncos to finish on top. A subplot of the week was a bit of a revival of the read option from Washington and San Francisco, who both used it more and found success both on the ground and through the air.

(6-1) Seahawks 34 - 22 Cardinals (3-4)
Offensive EPA: SEA (2.7) - (-9.3) ARI
The Seahawks overcame 3 sacks (-10.1) including 2 fumbles lost by avoiding interceptions and having strong normal pass plays (15.5). Seattle also ran well (2.9) but lost some ground on a turnover (-2.1) from a failed 4th down attempt. The Cardinals once again had net negative passing (-7.6) due to 2 interceptions (-8.5) and 7 sacks (-8.7). Other than a solid Week 1, Carson Palmer has been terrible, and much worse than he was last season in Oakland.

(0-6) Buccaneers 23 - 31 Falcons (2-4)
Offensive EPA: TB (2.7) - (9.4) ATL
The Bucs were slightly below average in net passing (1.6) despite avoiding interceptions because they suffered 3 sacks (-9.0) including a lost fumble. They still finished positive in overall offense thanks to some success in lesser categories including punting (2.8) where they recovered a fumbled return. Through 3 games, Mike Glennon has been a little poor but not terrible, which is probably better than expected from a 3rd round rookie. The Falcons rode strong normal pass plays (16.6) and no interceptions or sacks to the win despite having both of their star wide receivers out.

(5-2) Bengals 27 - 24 Lions (4-3)
Offensive EPA: CIN (14.1) - (11.1) DET
Both pass offenses in this game were unstoppable. The only thing keeping the score down was a lack of turnovers that usually give good field position. The Bengals were great in net passing (19.1) for the 2nd straight week, and their rating and playoff hopes have increased greatly as a result. The Lions were also very strong in net passing (18.1) but they fell just short. A big difference in the game was the Lions field goal kicking (-3.8) which was poor due to a short field goal being blocked.

(4-3) Chargers 24 - 6 Jaguars (0-7)
Offensive EPA: SD (14.2) - (-3.8) JAC
The Chargers net passing (16.8) was again great, and they even ran well (5.2) against the struggling Jaguars. Jacksonville was again poor in net passing (-1.8), this time due to their 6 sacks (-8.0).

(3-4) Bills 23 - 21 Dolphins (3-3)
Offensive EPA: BUF (-4.5) - (-6.5) MIA
The Bills net passing (-4.3) was poor due to bad normal pass plays (3.3). The Dolphins net passing (-7.2) was even worse, being below average in all 3 areas. We were skeptical of the strong start for Ryan Tannehill, and the last couple of weeks are evidence that he truly hasn't improved much since last season. This surprise loss has dropped the Dolphins to unlikely to make the playoffs.

(4-3) Cowboys 17 - 3 Eagles (3-4)
Offensive EPA: DAL (-2.8) - (-16.8) PHI
The Cowboys were solid in net passing (4.5) but had slight negatives in several other areas. The Eagles offense was terrible due to their net passing (-13.9). In stark contrast to last week, Nick Foles was mostly responsible for their pathetic normal pass plays (-1.9). Meanwhile, after he was injured Matt Barkley came in and contributed 3 interceptions (-9.1). The big road win for Dallas puts them in the driver's seat in the NFC East.

(3-4) Rams 15 - 30 Panthers (3-3)
Offensive EPA: STL (-10.7) - (4.3) CAR
The Rams were below average in interceptions (-6.7) due to a touchdown, sacks (-5.3) including a fumble lost, rushing (-4.0), and turnovers (-5.3) from a Tavon Austin lost fumble and an early failed 4th down attempt. What little hope the Rams had for the 2013 season likely disappears with Sam Bradford injured. The Panthers had their first poor rushing (-7.7) game, which included a safety. But their net passing (14.1) was again great despite a limited number of attempts. Carolina has the skill to make a run at the playoffs, but their schedule the rest of the way is very difficult following their inability to take advantage of their easy early schedule.

(5-2) Patriots 27 - 30 Jets (4-3)
Offensive EPA: NE (-6.1) - (-3.1) NYJ
This game featured below average offense all around and was only high scoring due to a pair of pick-6's. The Patriots offense was poor due to below average marks in all 3 net passing (-8.8) categories. It was the 3rd time already this season that New England has had a game where they performed about as poorly as they have at any time in the previous 4 years. It was a surprising result given that Rob Gronkowski was back, and the most alarming game for the Patriots so far. New England has yet to get Amendola and Gronkowski on the field together, and should improve when they do, but perhaps not nearly to the same level as previous seasons. Through 7 weeks, Geno Smith has alternated between solid or good on odd numbered weeks and terrible on even numbered weeks. This game, the Jets had good normal pass plays (16.6) but only mediocre net passing overall (2.8) because of their long pick-6 (-9.4) and giving up 4 sacks (-4.4). They were very poor rushing the ball (-5.5) but were good on field goals (4.9), going 3/3 and gaining a further advantage on the notorious penalty for a 1st down.

(4-3) Bears 41 - 45 Redskins (2-4)
Offensive EPA: CHI (8.5) - (12.5) WAS
Both offenses in this game were effective, but the score was further inflated by some defensive and special teams plays. After Jay Cutler played poorly, threw a pick-6 (-6.7), and got injured, his backup Josh McCown played surprisingly well and allowed the Bears to still finish with a solid mark in net passing (4.6). Chicago also rushed well (5.5). Despite the solid play by McCown in this game, the injury to Cutler likely seriously hurts the Bears' playoff hopes. Robert Griffin finally had his first great game this season, putting up an impressive net passing mark (13.8) while also contributing a large part in their successful called runs (7.5). The lone Washington flaw on offense was punting (-4.8), where they gave up a return touchdown to Devin Hester.

(5-2) 49ers 31 - 17 Titans (3-4)
Offensive EPA: SF (16.8) - (4.7) TEN
The 49ers were efficient in net passing (9.2) by mostly avoiding interceptions and sacks. They also had success rushing (3.8) thanks to an increased number of called QB runs. Finally, they were great in punting (8.1) in large part due to recovering a fumble for a touchdown. Jake Locker picked up where he left off a few weeks ago with strong net passing (8.3). Locker has now had 3 straight very good games since starting the season with 2 subpar efforts. However, the Titans continued to rush poorly (-3.1). Tennessee's hopes for the season will depend on whether Locker's development is real or fleeting like Tannehill's.

(3-4) Browns 13 - 31 Packers (4-2)
Offensive EPA: CLE (-0.9) - (16.2) GB
The Browns net passing (-5.6) was poor due to very bad normal pass plays (-1.4). Cleveland was good in rushing (2.0), kickoff returns (3.6), punting (1.4), and field goals (2.2), but lost several points on turnovers (-3.6) from a couple of late game failed 4th down attempts. After a few games of underwhelming results, the Packers finally got back to having very good net passing (15.3).

(3-4) Ravens 16 - 19 Steelers (2-4)
Offensive EPA: BAL (4.8) - (6.1) PIT
This was the ultimate game managing QB game. Both teams were about average on normal pass plays, gaining an edge by suffering minimal sacks and avoiding interceptions. The Steelers rushed (1.5) a bit better than the Ravens did (-3.0) and overall did just enough to offset their 1 big error in the form of a lost Heath Miller fumble (-2.8).

(2-5) Texans 16 - 17 Chiefs (7-0)
Offensive EPA: HOU (-2.5) - (-1.5) KC
In his first start, Case Keenum produced good normal pass plays (13.0) and avoided interceptions, but had 5 sacks (-10.3) including a lost fumble. The Texans struggled in rushing (-4.2). Despite the scoreline the Chiefs actually did have good net passing (10.0) in this game. They were let down by turnovers (-5.3) from a lost Jamaal Charles fumble and a failed 4th down attempt at the goalline. The way the game ended also cost the Chiefs points in our end of each half category (-3.9) as they finished the game in the red zone but didn't add to the scoreboard.

(6-1) Broncos 33 - 39 Colts (5-2)
Offensive EPA: DEN (3.4) - (8.2) IND
Despite their first loss and more 2012 style seemingly fluttering balls from Peyton Manning, the Broncos net passing (13.4) was still very good. Denver was let down by their rushing (-3.1) and a costly turnover (-4.8) from a Ronnie Hillman fumble lost on 1st and goal from the 2. Don't be fooled by power rankings, the Broncos are still heavy favorites in the AFC West and are still our Super Bowl favorites by a wide margin. Andrew Luck and the Colts were also good in net passing (8.7) but he didn't outplay Manning. Indianapolis also was poor in rushing (-4.0) and on top of that lost a Trent Richardson fumble (-3.1) of their own. The real difference in the game was the Colts punting (7.7) which was strong and also aided by a lost Trindon Holliday fumble.

(1-5) Vikings 7 - 23 Giants (1-6)
Offensive EPA: MIN (-19.2) - (-3.2) NYG
The Vikings under Josh Freeman had very bad net passing (-8.6) due to terrible normal pass plays (-2.2), and also ran poorly (-2.8) for the first time this season. Minnesota did score well on punts (4.3) because they recovered a fumbled return, but they also lost ground on turnovers (-5.8) from 3 late desperation 4th down attempts. The Giants were solid in net passing (3.9) by avoiding negative plays, but were terrible in rushing (-7.0).

Byes: Saints (5-1), Raiders (2-4)

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