Friday, January 11, 2013

NFL Wrapup: APR's biggest upsets of 2012

Dishonorable Mention: games that just missed the top 10

  • Week 17: The Texans need one more win to clinch the AFC's top seed, but are denied by the nothing-to-play-for Colts.

  • Week 6: The Bengals couldn't run the ball, and Andy Dalton threw 3 interceptions, giving the Browns their first win of the season.

  • Week 4: The Seahawks only score 13 points, and 3 interceptions give the Rams enough to give them their second road loss.

  • Week 13: The 49ers travel to St. Louis, offensive mistakes spot the Rams 10 points, giving the Rams an opportunity to kick a late field goal in overtime. The Rams finished 4-1-1 in their division.

  • Week 5: The Packers build a 21-3 lead over the Colts, but then somehow get outscored 27-6 in the second half. Only the Chargers in week 6 had a bigger second-half collapse this season.

APR's Top 10 Upsets of the 2012 Season

  1. Week 3: Steelers 31, Raiders 34 (ρ=1.1726)
    The Steelers had problems on both sides of the ball this season, including allowing the Raiders to score a season-high 34 points on their defense. The Steelers were 2-6 in 2012 when they allowed 20 or more points.

  1. Week 12: Seahawks 21, Dolphins 24 (ρ=1.1900)
    A bad day for the Seahawks on both sides of the ball. They allowed the Dolphins' offense to have one of their best games of the season, and their offense only scored 21 points on a defense that gave up 23 or more points 8 times this year.

  1. Week 3: Jaguars 22, Colts 17 (ρ= 1.1930)
    The Colts had a pretty tough start to the season, including this loss to the Jaguars. In fairness, the Jaguars are a lot better when Maurice Jones-Drew can play.

  1. Week 2: Ravens 23, Eagles 24 (ρ= 1.2047)
    The Ravens' defense has had some bad games this season, perhaps none worse than this one, where they allowed the Eagles 24 points in spite of 4 turnovers.

  1. Week 8: Seahawks 24, Lions 28 (ρ= 1.2172)
    More evidence that the Seahawks just aren't as good a team away from their home stadium. In a situation where one more stop might've won the game, their defense allowed the Lions to drive the length of the field, score a go-ahead touchdown, and use virtually all of the remaining game time.

  1. Week 4: Giants 17, Eagles 19 (ρ=1.2222)
    The Eagles had probably their best game of the season. Only one touchdown, but no turnovers, 422 yards of offense, and their defense held the Giants to just 17 points. If the rest of the Eagles' season had gone this way, Andy Reid would still be coaching in Philadelphia.

  1. Week 2: Cardinals 20, Patriots 18 (ρ=1.2365)
    The Cardinals had a good defense, and occasionally made plays on special teams. In this game, the result was a perfect storm of things going wrong for the Patriots—for drive after drive, their offense stalled short of the endzone, Brady had a pass tipped and intercepted, the Patriots' special teams had a punt blocked, and a last-second field goal try went wide left.

  1. Week 1: Seahawks 16, Cardinals 20 (ρ=1.2376)
    To be fair to the Cardinals, Kevin Kolb was a serviceable quarterback, and the Cardinals were a much, much better team than when they played with any of his backups.

  1. Week 13: Panthers 21, Chiefs 27 (ρ=1.2896)
    The Panthers lost a lot of games this season because their defense couldn't stop their opponents. In this game, they allowed the Chiefs to score a season-high 27 points, and didn't get a single turnover from an offense that had 37 on the season.

  1. Week 3: Chiefs 27, Saints 24 (ρ= 1.2913)
    The Saints claim the top spot on this list for the fourth year in a row. The Saints had a 24-6 lead with less than 6 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. All they needed to do is control the ball, run out the clock, and maybe get one more insurance score. Instead, the defense gave up a touchdown and 3 field goals, the offense gave up a critical safety, and the Chiefs managed to score 21 unanswered points to win the game in overtime.

The top two upsets qualify for spots on APR's top 25 regular season upsets. They would both go between #14 (1979 Falcons @ Chargers) and #15 (2009 Eagles @ Raiders). It's a measure of just how bad the Chiefs were this season that it introduces to the list the first two upset teams that finished with losing records.

Eliminated Games

  • Week 17: Buccaneers 22, Falcons 17 (ρ=1.1753)
    I will give the Falcons the benefit of the doubt here, that they just weren't playing as hard as they would if they had anything to gain by winning this game.

Biggest Upsets According to the Line

Winning teams in bold. Teams favored by 10 or more points were 25-1-1 this year.

5Packers 27, Colts 30 Packers -7
17Texans 16, Colts 28 Texans -7
14Chargers 34, Steelers 24 Steelers -7
1349ers 13, Rams 16 49ers -7
349ers 13, Vikings 24 49ers -7½
14Eagles 23, Buccaneers 21 Buccaneers -7½
3Chiefs 27, Saints 24 Saints -8½
16Vikings 23, Texans 6 Texans -9
13Steelers 13, Ravens 10 Ravens -9
1Redskins 40, Saints 32 Saints -9½
2Cardinals 20, Patriots 18 Patriots -14