FBO: Previewing pivotal Week 17 games

Advanced metrics offer hints on four make-or-break contests in Week 17

Updated: December 27, 2013, 11:49 AM ET

Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders

RavensRob Carr/Getty ImagesThe Ravens will be looking to bottle up Andy Dalton and the Bengals’ offense in Week 17.

After going through several years of less-than-stellar matchups in the final week of the NFL regular season, we finally have a Week 17 in which not many teams will be resting their starters. Four playoff spots are up for grabs, and only Kansas City is locked into its postseason seed.

Let’s take a look at some of the matchups and trends that will play a role in this weekend’s four biggest games, using Football Outsiders’ advanced statistics. Much of our analysis is based on defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA), which takes every play during the season and compares it to the league average based on situation and opponent. DVOA and Football Outsiders’ other advanced stats are explained here. A number of other stats below are based on game charting from both Football Outsiders and ESPN Stats & Information.

Here’s a preview of four key Week 17 matchups: Baltimore-Cincinnati, San Francisco-Arizona, Green Bay-Chicago and Philadelphia-Dallas.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

Our advanced stats heavily favor Cincinnati, in part because the Ravens’ performance broken down by play by play doesn’t match the team’s 8-7 record. The Bengals rank ninth in the league in DVOA, while the Ravens are just 23rd. Both teams have good defenses. And while the Bengals’ offense has been average, the Ravens’ has been horrific. Only Jacksonville has a lower offensive DVOA this season, and the Ravens will end up with one of the 10 poorest-rated running games in the 25 years for which we have play-by-play breakdowns.

To read the rest of Football Outsiders’ analysis of the four pivotal Week 17 matchups, sign up for Insider today.

  • NFL analyst for ESPN Insider
  • Founder of Footballoutsiders.com

Leave a comment

300-101   400-101   300-320   300-070   300-206   200-310   300-135   300-208   810-403   400-050   640-916   642-997   300-209   400-201   200-355   352-001   642-999   350-080   MB2-712   400-051   C2150-606   1Z0-434   1Z0-146   C2090-919   C9560-655   642-647   100-101   CQE_Exam   CSSLP