Welcome back to another edition of the SumerSports Weekend Review!
Every Monday, we will have a full recap of the weekend games including a postgame excitement index, game reviews, the top performers of the week at Quarterback, Wide Receiver, and Running Back, plus updated playoff probabilities.
Based on win probability swings, scoring, and other factors, we will have a postgame excitement index for each game of the NFL season. Here are Week 7’s excitement scores:
This week featured a lot of exciting games, especially in the early slate. Browns-Colts was the most exciting game of the week as it came down to a 4th & goal conversion with 12 seconds remaining and featured huge win probability swings throughout the fourth quarter. Falcons-Buccaneers was also very exciting as Tampa Bay tied the game with 0:45 remaining only for the Falcons to drive down the field for a game winning field goal. In the upset of the day, the Patriots scored with 12 seconds remaining to go on to beat the Bills.
The teams that took care of business were Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, Tyson Bagent and the Bears, and Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Tyson Bagent finds himself in between two NFL MVPs on the excitement index in Week 7.
Notable Games of the Week
Let’s dive into some of the games of the week determined by a combination of excitement, notability, and other factors.
Buffalo Bills (25) @ New England Patriots (29)
After struggling on offense for most of the season, the New England Patriots had their best offensive performance of the year on the way to a win. The Patriots did a lot of things right on offense with a 78th percentile EPA/play, a 90th percentile EPA/play on early downs, and a 50% conversion rate on their late downs. They were passing and rushing the ball well and leaned on Mac Jones in a game where he finished with 13.3 total EPA generated. Pop Doulgas had 4 receptions for 54 yards plus a rush for 20 yards as he continues to impress.
The Bills didn’t have an overly poor showing offensively, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Patriots. Buffalo also was good on early and late downs and both passed and rushed the ball effectively. However, they only had a 7th percentile explosive play rate, which is atypical from their offense. A silver lining for the Bills is Dalton Kincaid going for 8 receptions and 75 yards, but there are questions about the Bills going forward.
Detroit Lions (6) @ Baltimore Ravens (38)
In one of the more anticipated matchups of the week, the Baltimore Ravens rolled over the Detroit Lions on both sides of the ball. The Ravens 98th percentile offensive performance was led by Lamar Jackson playing at an MVP level generating 22.8 positive EPA. The ball was spread around as 6 different pass catchers ended up with at least 30 yards, and Mark Andrews finished with 4 receptions, 63 yards, 2 touchdowns and 5.0 EPA when targeted. The Ravens had a 18.5% explosive play rate and a 1.9% negative play rate, a formula that would win just about every football game.
The Lions offense struggled for the first time all season. The pass game couldn’t get anything going, finishing with a 15th percentile EPA/pass as Jared Goff had -14.4 total EPA on the day. Because of the ways that the Ravens were exploiting the Lions offensive line, Detroit had a 12th percentile negative play rate, which started on the first drive and continued throughout the game. The only comforting takeaway for the Lions is rookie Jahmyr Gibbs led an efficient rushing attack, but there is some regrouping that needs to be done before the Lions play on Monday night.
Los Angeles Chargers (17) @ Kansas City Chiefs (31)
The Chiefs offense got back to its regularly scheduled programming with an 89th percentile offensive EPA/play despite having an 8th percentile EPA/rush. Andy Reid understood he needed to lean on the pass game and had a +13.4% pass rate over expected. This led to Patrick Mahomes having 28.3 total EPA and Travis Kelce having 16.9 EPA when targeted – the majority of that coming in the first half for both.
The Chargers offense competed in the first half as well only to slow down in the second half. They finished with a 56th percentile EPA/play but only a 16th percentile success rate. While Josh Palmer had a huge day, Justin Herbert finished with 0.9 total EPA and the Chargers had a 43rd percentile EPA/pass.
Miami Dolphins (17) @ Philadelphia Eagles (31)
The Dolphins offense came into this game ranked 1st in every advanced metric only for the Eagles defense to dominate. The Dolphins had a 17th percentile EPA/play and a 13th percentile negative play rate as the Eagles defensive line took advantage of their offensive line injuries. The Dolphins only converted 4 of their 14 late downs for a first down. A late red zone interception contributed to Tua Tagovailoa having -5.5 total EPA on the day.
The Eagles offense put together a great performance with a 75th percentile EPA/play including a good rushing and passing performance. A fumble and interception could have sunk them, but they let those plays be their only two negative plays of the night and got it back with explosives and converting on late downs (usually using the tush push). The Eagles were able to go for and get multiple 4th downs in this game and that ended up helping them win by multiple scores.
Top Performers of the Week
Using total EPA to determine the best performances, this week featured some stars we’d typically expect to see at the top, as well as some surprise players that have a lot of season left to continue those performances.
It comes as no surprise to see Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen on top of the total EPA leaderboard this week. All of them had very impressive passing performances with the top 2 throwing for 350+ yards.
What does come as a surprise is seeing Mac Jones finish 25/30 with 265 yards at number 4 and Tyson Bagent making his way into the top 10 in his first career NFL start. For young quarterbacks, it’s encouraging to see them among the NFL’s best.
D’Onta Foreman put together one of the more impressive performances of the week rushing for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground; he also added a touchdown through the air. Joshua Kelley broke off a big run against the Chiefs to propel him to 2nd. Jaylen Warren continues to impress on a limited sample as well.
On National Tight End’s Day, Travis Kelce led all pass catchers with 13.8 total EPA and a 32.5% target share. Other tight ends also did well with Dallas Goedert having 76 yards, Darren Waller having 98 yards, and rookie Dalton Kincaid having 75 yards. Josh Downs had 125 yards at receiver with a lot of that coming after the catch as well.
Updated Playoff Probability Graph
The simulation above was run before Monday Night Football and thus teams that will play on Monday only show how their chances changed based on other results around the league.
There was no team that had a bigger increase in their chance to make the playoffs than the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7. Not only did they notch a division win over the Buccaneers, but the Saints losing as well now makes Atlanta the favorite to win the NFC South. Also in the NFC, the Seahawks win coupled with many NFC teams losing puts them in a good spot for the postseason.
The Steelers also had a big jump getting a massive road win over the Los Angeles Rams and putting themselves at 4-2 and right in the AFC North and AFC Wild Card race. Also in the AFC, the Jaguars continue to separate in their division with a win and a Colts loss. The Bills still have a very good chance to make the playoffs but are a team to monitor.
That is all for the SumerSports Weekend Review. It was a great week of football that gave us a lot of interesting data points to look over as we start to get ready for the next set of games. As always, be sure to check out stats on SumerSports.com, articles at The Zone, the SumerSports podcast feed, and follow us on Twitter @SumerSports to dive even deeper for the rest of this season.