NFL Expected Points - Week 17 (1/2/17)

By Frank Brank @realfbra
We introduced our new metric, Expected Points, for NFL games using simple box score statistics. We'll continue to evaluate teams on weekly basis. Below is the breakdown for Week 17.

The games that stuck out the most are Texans-Titans, Jaguars-Colts, Seahawks-49ers, Raiders-Broncos, and Cardinals-Rams.

Per Expected Points, the Texans would have beaten the Titans 68.4% of the time. Though the game didn't matter much, they were unlucky to not come away with a victory. The first five drives for the Matt Cassel-led Tennessee Titans included four punts and an interception. The reason the Titans were only expected to score 13.3 points, per our model, is nearly all of their yardage for the game was concentrated on three drives that ended in two touchdowns and a field goal.

The Jaguars also massively underperformed their peripherals. They were an astounding 13.1 points under their expectancy. The Jags gained 470 yards and turned the Colts offense over twice. The unfortunate results were the result of a couple short punts in or near Colts territory, two missed field goals, and a fumble deep into the Colts side of the field.

The Seahawks won by two points but had a 94.2% chance to win per Expected Points. This is the result of Seattle underperforming their metrics and San Francisco drastically over-performing. The 49ers only gained 253 yards and turned the ball over twice. Similar to the Titans, San Francisco's yardage surrounded three touchdown drives. Outside of the three touchdown drives, the 49ers gained a total of nine yards on offense. Seeing as yardage is typically more evenly distributed throughout the game, it is unlikely to go all but three drives without being able to gain a first down and score a touchdown on all of those three remaining drives.

Matt McGloin and Connor Cook were thrown into a meat-grinder. Oakland's first chances to play without Derek Carr happened to be against the best passing defense in the NFL. Oakland was projected to score three points, only gained 221 yards, and accumulated 125 yards in penalties while turning the ball over three times. This same offense will go up against the Texans defense in their playoff game this week which ranks seventh in expected points against this season. Oakland will need to do a better job of keeping the flags in the refs' pockets and hope their defense can step up against the Texans struggling offense.

The Rams offense has been embarrassingly bad this season. Over the last two weeks, they've gained a total of 300 yards combined. Nearly half their offensive yardage was lost to penalty yardage. With a projected score of 1.9 points and a 0.2% chance to win, the Rams are the worst team per Expected Points again this week.