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NFL Team Efficiency

2019 Week 14 aEPA

Last week, I highlighted three “big games,” Buffalo vs Baltimore, San Francisco vs New Orleans and Kansas City vs New England: and in a wonderful turn of events, they were all competitive and all six teams involved had positive net aEPA. This weekend, we don’t get the same level of competition. The 49ers (2nd/8th off./2nd def.) get a break after playing two of the top three teams other than themselves, and are prohibitive home favorites against the Atlanta Falcons (18/9/27), for whom the hits keep on coming, placing Desmond Trufant and Calvin Ridley on injured reserve after their 40-20 defeat of the Panthers. The Ravens (1/1/4) are hosting the hapless Jets (27/32/15). The Patriots (3/21/1) go to Ohio to play the Bengals (30/28/30), but instead of getting takes about the expected return of the Patriots’ offense, we’ve gotten Spygate II. Kansas City (5/3/10) gets division rival Denver (20/24/11), who will try to pull of consecutive upsets against teams that beat the Patriots. The Saints (4/4/9) host the Colts (19/16/19) on Monday Night Football. All of these games could have double-digit point spreads.

The game of the week is undeniably the LA Rams (7/14/6) at the Dallas Cowboys (8/2/23). My model very slightly favors the Rams, despite home field, which hasn’t been worth much year-to-date (away teams have outscored home teams by 45 points so far this season). When Dallas has the ball, I think this comes down to whether the game plan lets Dak Prescott throw the ball. The run game will be strength against strength, but Dak’s got the second-highest aEPA/play on passing downs, and the Rams are only 12th against the pass. That’s still good, but if the Cowboys’ leverage their elite pass protection and excellent passer, they should be able to pull out of this slide. The problem is that the Rams should be able to move and score at will on this mediocre Cowboys defense. The other problem is that there is next to no chance that the Cowboys will alter their game plan and unleash Dak. They simply overvalue running throughout the organization.

2019 NFL aEPA: Week 14

 aEPARkOff. aEPA/PRkPass OffRkRun OffRkDef. aEPA/PRkPass DefRkRun DefRk
BAL269.3610.238710.289810.201910.084440.13823-0.006618
SF228.8820.067880.1735-0.0404220.223720.31920.09668
NE180.443-0.008821-0.004518-0.0154140.244610.324510.10067
NO12040.113540.163860.027990.0339-0.0085140.12165
KC111.8450.121930.19683-0.0242180.0296100.11645-0.080629
MIN82.3860.089760.20812-0.0123130.016514-0.0001130.046412
LA80.9870.0379140.105410-0.0672250.048860.0079120.10666
DAL77.5180.144220.183440.09753-0.058723-0.097223-0.02321
SEA64.4990.0593100.1026110.0176110.0218130.0085110.06210
TEN47.13100.0264150.095714-0.0522240.03378-0.0248170.13474
PIT43.5811-0.102328-0.034221-0.1814320.147330.123540.18811
TB38.34120.0072170.029616-0.0285190.03587-0.0198160.15772
HOU29.1130.102850.137570.05616-0.074724-0.1477260.057611
GB21.53140.08170.1003120.04188-0.04921-0.01415-0.096130
BUF1315-0.001719-0.0443220.056750.0221120.06966-0.059226
LAC2.24160.0452120.12718-0.086727-0.047120-0.04318-0.059527
CLE-0.16170.002718-0.0284200.04657-0.0016160.03210-0.044725
ATL-21.15180.065190.096213-0.024217-0.099527-0.1933280.010116
IND-21.84190.00816-0.0486230.07194-0.041619-0.06219-0.005217
DEN-29.4420-0.059724-0.075825-0.0294200.024110.06147-0.010319
CHI-31.821-0.096127-0.059424-0.1703310.055750.0680.043613
PHI-46.8822-0.022122-0.022319-0.046723-0.030118-0.1069240.0859
DET-54.4623-0.0025200.07715-0.131929-0.051822-0.079720-0.021820
OAK-61.55240.0576110.12389-0.01715-0.128731-0.201630-0.041324
CAR-64.2725-0.058323-0.1049270.022410-0.019170.05879-0.143732
ARI-70.7260.0401130.0104170.09952-0.118429-0.2136310.026315
NYJ-128.7327-0.170132-0.195531-0.147300.000815-0.0908210.13913
JAX-131.9428-0.062625-0.093426-0.009512-0.099528-0.092422-0.118831
NYG-159.1629-0.105729-0.159730-0.020816-0.088526-0.1941290.042414
CIN-166.5830-0.085726-0.11628-0.035621-0.119830-0.174627-0.063528
WAS-175.7931-0.14231-0.207532-0.073226-0.08725-0.14225-0.032122
MIA-246.3532-0.1230-0.128629-0.105928-0.178232-0.310532-0.032323
Statistics are through Week 13. Computed with data pulled from official NFL play-by-play with nflscrapR, and adjusted for strength of schedule using a method similar to Massey (1997).

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