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Jan 02

NFL 2013 Recap: The Five Factors

With the regular season now over, we can take a look back to see how we fared in the TABMathletics 2013 NFL Preview. For this preview, a big part of our analysis focused on the “five factors” of regression for each team. Over the span of eight days, these posts exposed numerous themes for what makes a team get better or worse in each season by means of mathematical application. This helped to paint the picture for our season predictions, which did a great job overall in assessing each team’s playoff chances. In fact, we correctly predicted all six NFC playoff teams. We also correctly predicted who would hold the top three seeds in the AFC.

However, for the Five Factors feature to be credible, there needs to be an extremely strong success rate. Today, we find out if it holds up. Let’s see how each team fared in relation to their five factors of regression. We’ll grade the results to formulate an overall success rate.

Editor’s Note: The remaining results for the Five Factors were added on August 13 to account for the regression factors that address published material in the “Football Outsiders Almanac”  series. The 2014 edition was published in late July and gave team-by-team results from 2013, addressing DVOA splits and Adjusted Games Lost metrics. Now, results for all 160 factors are available in this post.

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Baltimore Ravens (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. More turnovers: The Ravens declined from 16 turnovers to 29 turnovers.
2. More fumbles lost: The Ravens declined from five fumbles lost to six fumbles lost.
3. Fewer yards per kick return for Jacoby Jones: Jones declined from 30.71 yards per kick return to 28.77 yards per kick return.
4. Worse special teams DVOA: The Ravens declined from a 9.0% DVOA to a 6.3% DVOA on special teams.
5. Closer defensive DVOA splits: The 2012 Ravens defense finished with the 19th overall DVOA, 6th on third down DVOA and 8th in the red zone DVOA. The 2013 Ravens defense finished with the 7th overall DVOA, 12th on third down DVOA and 10th in the red zone DVOA.

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Cincinnati Bengals (3 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns for A.J. Green: Green caught 97 passes for 1350 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012. He caught 98 passes for 1426 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013.
2. Better defensive red zone DVOA: The Bengals defense improved from a 8.4% red zone DVOA to a 1.4% red zone DVOA.
3. Fewer sacks: The Bengals declined from 50 sacks to 43 sacks.
4. Fewer completions of 40+ yards: The Bengals improved from 14 completions of 40+ yards to 15 completions of 40+ yards.
5. Better offensive third down conversion percentage: The Bengals improved from 34.10 percent on third down conversions to 40.89 percent on third down conversions.

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Cleveland Browns (4 of 5 factors correct)
1. Worse field goal percentage: The Browns declined from a 93.55 field goal percentage to a 80.77 field goal percentage.
2. Better touchdown to field goal ratio: The 2012 Browns scored 31 touchdowns and 29 field goals. The 2013 Browns scored 36 touchdowns and 21 field goals.
3. More yards per kick return allowed: The Browns declined from 19.84 yards per kick return allowed to 22.67 yards per kick return allowed.
4. At least 55 receptions for Josh Gordon: Gordon caught 87 passes.
5. Closer Pythagorean win differential: The 2012 Browns finished with a +1.14 Pythagorean win differential. The 2013 Browns finished with a +1.44 Pythagorean win differential.

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Pittsburgh Steelers (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Lower yard differential and more yards allowed per play: The 2012 Steelers finished with a +911 yard differential and 4.64 yards allowed per play. The 2013 Steelers finished with a +5 yard differential and 5.21 yards allowed per play.
2. Worse Defensive Real Passing Yards per Attempt: The Steelers declined from 5.29 DRPYPA to 5.88 DRPYPA.
3. Fewer fumbles: The Steelers improved from 33 fumbles (16 lost) to 16 fumbles (10 lost).
4. Fewer Adjusted Games Lost on offense: The Steelers improved from 64.3 AGL on offense to 55.8 AGL on offense.
5. At least one game determined by 17+ points: The Steelers lost in Week 3 to the Bears, 40-23. They also lost in Week 9 to the Patriots, 55-31.

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Chicago Bears (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer return touchdowns: The Bears declined from 10 return touchdowns to seven return touchdowns.
2. Worse Yards per Point Differential: The Bears declined from a +4.98 Yards per Point Differential to a -0.52 Yards per Point Differential.
3. Better Offensive Passer Rating: The Bears improved from an 80.42 Offensive Passer Rating to a 96.86 Offensive Passer Rating.
4. Fewer receptions and receiving yards for Brandon Marshall: Marshall caught 118 passes for 1508 yards in 2012. He then caught 100 passes for 1295 yards in 2013.
5. More yards per kick return: The Bears improved from 19.77 yards per kick return to 23.06 yards per kick return.

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Detroit Lions (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer receptions and yards, but more touchdowns for Calvin Johnson: Johnson caught 122 passes for 1964 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. He then caught 84 passes for 1492 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013.
2. More touchdown passes and a better passer rating for Matt Stafford: Stafford threw 20 touchdown passes with a 79.84 passer rating in 2012. He then threw 29 touchdown passes with a 84.17 passer rating in 2013.
3. Worse yard differential, but better Yards per Point Differential: The 2012 Lions finished with a +1082 yard differential and a -5.09 Yards per Point Differential. The 2013 Lions finished with a +728 yard differential and a -1.13 Yards per Point Differential.
4. More rushing yards: The Lions improved from 1613 rushing yards to 1792 rushing yards.
5. Better W-L record: The Lions improved from 4-12 to 7-9.

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Green Bay Packers (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer passing touchdowns and lower Offensive Passer Rating: The 2012 Packers threw 40 touchdown passes with a 108.28 Offensive Passer Rating. The 2013 Packers threw 25 touchdown passes with a 91.69 Offensive Passer Rating.
2. Fewer touchdown receptions for James Jones: Jones declined from 14 touchdown receptions to three touchdown receptions.
3. At least one game with 3+ turnovers: The Packers had three games with 3+ turnovers.
4. Better field goal percentage: The Packers improved from a 63.64 field goal percentage to a 89.19 field goal percentage.
5. Fewer Adjusted Games Lost: The Packers improved from 101.5 AGL to 94.4 AGL.

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Minnesota Vikings (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer rushing yards and worse YPA average for Adrian Peterson: Peterson ran for 2097 yards on 6.03 yards per attempt in 2012. He then ran for 1266 yards on 4.54 yards per attempt in 2013.
2. Fewer runs of 20+ yards and worse team YPA average: The 2012 Vikings totaled 33 runs of 20+ yards and averaged 5.42 yards per attempt. The 2013 Vikings totaled 16 runs of 20+ yards and averaged 4.92 yards per attempt.
3. Better Real Passing Yards per Attempt: The Vikings improved from 5.34 Real Passing Yards per Attempt to 5.81 Real Passing Yards per Attempt.
4. Fewer field goals made and lower field goal percentage for Blair Walsh: Walsh converted 35 field goals on 38 attempts (92.11 percent) in 2012. He then converted 26 field goals on 30 attempts (86.67 percent) in 2013.
5. Worse W-L record: The Vikings declined from 10-6 to 5-10-1.

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Buffalo Bills (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Better ranking in the Defensive Hog Index: The Bills improved from 32nd in the DHI to 11th in the DHI.
2. Fewer TD allowed: The Bills improved from 53 touchdowns allowed to 42 touchdowns allowed.
3. Improved scoring defense: The Bills improved from 26th in scoring defense to 20th in scoring defense.
4. Decline in rushing DVOA for C.J. Spiller: Spiller declined from a 27.6% rushing DVOA to a -17.8% rushing DVOA.
5. Decline in punt return average: The Bills declined from 17.12 yards per punt return to 6.23 yards per punt return.

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Miami Dolphins (4 of 5 factors correct)
1. More touchdown receptions for wide receivers: The wide receivers improved from three touchdown receptions to 14 touchdown receptions.
2. Smaller rank differential between defensive DVOA and scoring defense: The 2012 Dolphins finished 14th in defensive DVOA and seventh in scoring defense. The 2013 Dolphins finished 17th in defensive DVOA and eighth in scoring defense.
3. Worse ranking in Bendability: The Dolphins declined from fifth to sixth in Yards per Point Allowed.
4. Better fumble recovery percentage: The Dolphins improved from recovering 18 of 48 fumbles (37.5 percent) to recovering 15 of 30 fumbles (50 percent).
5. Decline in kick return average: The Dolphins declined from 27.05 yards per kick return to 21.45 yards per kick return.

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New England Patriots (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer takeaways, more giveaways and a lower scoring margin: The 2012 Patriots had 41 takeaways, 16 giveaways and a +226 scoring margin. The 2013 Patriots had 29 takeaways, 20 giveaways and a +106 scoring margin.
2. Fewer takeaways: As mentioned, the Patriots declined from 41 takeaways to 29 takeaways.
3. Fewer points scored: The Patriots declined from 557 points scored to 444 points scored.
4. Fewer rushing touchdowns and rushing yards: The 2012 Patriots totaled 2184 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. The 2013 Patriots totaled 2065 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.
5. Fewer points scored: As mentioned, the Patriots declined from 557 points scored to 444 points scored.

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New York Jets (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. More yards per play: The Jets improved from 4.63 yards per play to 4.99 yards per play.
2. Multiple receivers with 30+ receptions and 400+ yards:The Jets had four receivers with 30+ receptions and three receivers with 400+ yards.
3. Improved third down and red zone defense: The 2012 Jets held a 37.17 third down percentage and a 58.54 red zone percentage. The 2013 Jets held a 36.80 third down percentage and a 44.90 red zone percentage.
4. Fewer fumbles: The Jets improved from 32 fumbles (18 lost) to 15 fumbles (seven lost).
5. Lower punt return average: The Jets declined from 10.35 yards per punt return to 8.96 yards per punt return.

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Dallas Cowboys (4.5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer receiving yards and touchdowns for Dez Bryant: Bryant totaled 1382 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He then totaled 1233 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013.
2. Fewer 4QC/GWD games and fewer 4QC/GWD wins: The 2012 Cowboys went 5-5 with fourth-quarter comeback opportunities and 6-5 with game-winning drive opportunities. The 2013 Cowboys went 2-6 with fourth-quarter comeback opportunities and 4-6 with game-winning drive opportunities.
3. Better rush DVOA: The Cowboys improved from a -9.2% rush DVOA to a 7.7% rush DVOA.
4. More takeaways and a better turnover margin: The 2012 Cowboys had 16 takeaways and a -13 turnover margin. The 2013 Cowboys had 28 takeaways and a +8 turnover margin.
5. Healthier defense in Adjusted Games Lost: The Cowboys improved from 57.5 AGL on defense to 51.4 AGL on defense.

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New York Giants (4 of 5 factors correct)
1. Worse Scoreability and/or Bendability: The 2012 Giants had 17.83 Yards per Point Allowed and 13.26 Yards per Point Scored. The 2013 Giants had 13.88 Yards per Point Allowed and 16.73 Yards per Point Scored.
2. Fewer points per drive: The Giants declined from 2.31 points per drive to 1.33 points per drive.
3. Fewer interceptions and interception yards for Brown: Brown intercepted eight passes for 307 yards in 2012. He then did not play a snap in the 2013 season.
4. More sacks allowed: The Giants declined from 20 sacks allowed to 40 sacks allowed.
5. Better scoring defense: The Giants declined from 344 points allowed to 383 points allowed.

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Philadelphia Eagles (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Better turnover margin, with more takeaways and fewer giveaways: The Eagles improved from a -24 turnover margin (13 takeaways and 37 giveaways) to a +12 turnover margin (31 takeaways and 19 giveaways).
2. Improved Defensive Passer Rating: The Eagles improved from a 99.57 Defensive Passer Rating to a 83.97 Defensive Passer Rating.
3. Fewer points allowed per drive: The Eagles improved from 2.14 points allowed per drive to 1.73 points allowed per drive.
4. Fewer fumbles lost: The Eagles improved from 22 fumbles lost to 10 fumbles lost.
5. Worse field goal percentage: The Eagles declined from a 87.10 field goal percentage (27-of-31) to 82.14 field goal percentage (23-of-28).

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Washington Redskins (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Worse passer rating for Robert Griffin III: Griffin declined from a 102.38 passer rating to a 82.15 passer rating.
2. Fewer rushing yards, Yards per Attempt and touchdowns: The 2012 Redskins rushed for 2709 yards and 22 touchdowns on 5.22 yards per attempt. The 2013 Redskins rushed for 2164 yards and 14 touchdowns on 4.78 yards per attempt.
3. Offensive yards per play: The Redskins declined from 6.17 offensive yards per play to 5.34 offensive yards per play.
4. Fewer touchdown passes allowed: The Redskins improved from 31 touchdown passes allowed to 29 touchdown passes allowed.
5. A receiver(s) with 50+ receptions: Pierre Garcon totaled 113 receptions.

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Houston Texans (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Worse W-L record: The Texans declined from 12-4 to 2-14.
2. More rushing yards and touchdowns allowed: The 2012 Texans allowed 1560 rush yards and five touchdowns. The 2013 Texans allowed 1958 rush yards and 11 touchdowns.
3. Fewer receptions and fewer receiving yards for Andre Johnson: Johnson caught 112 passes for 1598 yards in 2012. He then caught 109 passes for 1407 yards in 2013.
4. Fewer sacks, fewer passes defensed and fewer defeats: Watt finished with 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defensed and 45 defeats in 2012. Watt finished with 10.5 sacks, seven passes defensed and 35 defeats in 2013. (In this post, “defeats” refer to the totals tallied by Football Outsiders.)
5. More missed games by projected offensive starters: The Texans declined from 6.7 Adjusted Games Lost on offense to 37.2 Adjusted Games Lost on offense.

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Indianapolis Colts (4 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer game-winning drives for Andrew Luck: Luck declined from seven game-winning drives to four game-winning drives.
2. Worse W-L record: The Colts went 11-5 in both 2012 and 2013.
3. More yards per rushing attempt: The Colts improved from 3.80 rush yards per attempt to 4.26 rush yards per attempt.
4. Fewer yards allowed per rushing attempt and better rush defense DVOA: The 2012 Colts defense finished with 5.14 rush yards allowed per attempt and a 9.1% rush defense DVOA. The 2013 Colts defense finished with 4.47 rush yards allowed per attempt and a -0.1% rush defense DVOA.
5. More fumble recoveries and more takeaways: The Colts improved from 15 takeaways (three fumble recoveries) to 27 takeaways (12 fumble recoveries).

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Jacksonville Jaguars (4.25 of 5 factors correct)
1. More rushing yards and more rushing touchdowns: The 2012 Jaguars ran for 1369 yards and five touchdowns. The 2013 Jaguars ran for 1260 yards and seven touchdowns.
2. Better defensive DVOA: The Jaguars improved from 11.7% DVOA to 10.9% DVOA.
3. Better net yards per drive: The Jaguars improved from -9.23 yards per drive to -8.54 yards per drive.
4. Fewer sacks allowed and more sacks: The 2012 Jaguars totaled 20 sacks and allowed 50 sacks. The 2013 Jaguars totaled 31 sacks and allowed 50 sacks.
5. Better W-L record: The Jaguars improved from 2-14 to 4-12.

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Tennessee Titans (4 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer return touchdowns and less punt return average: The 2012 Titans totaled nine return touchdowns and 15.32 yards per punt return. The 2013 Titans totaled three return touchdowns and 7.74 yards per punt return.
2. Improved scoring defense: The Titans improved from 471 points allowed to 381 points allowed.
3. Improved scoring defense by at least 20 percent: The Titans improved by 19.11 percent from their 2012 total.
4. Better Chris Johnson DYAR and better team rushing DVOA: Johnson improved from -30 DYAR to 110 DYAR. The Titans improved from a -14.0% rush DVOA to a 2.8% rush DVOA.
5. Closer Pythagorean win differential: The Titans improved from a -1.22 Pythagorean win differential to a +0.51 Pythagorean win differential.

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Atlanta Falcons (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Worse W-L record: The Falcons declined from 13-3 to 4-12.
2. Fewer fourth-quarter comebacks: The Falcons declined from five fourth-quarter comebacks to one fourth-quarter comeback.
3. Worse quality record: The Falcons declined from a 4-0 record against quality teams to an 0-10 record against quality teams.
4. Fewer points scored: The Falcons declined from 419 points scored to 353 points scored.
5. More passing touchdowns allowed: The Falcons declined from 14 passing touchdowns allowed to 31 passing touchdowns allowed.

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Carolina Panthers (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Better record in one-possession games: The Panthers improved from a 4-7 record in one-possession games to a 5-2 record in one-possession games.
2. Better W-L record in the first half of the season: The Panthers improved from 2-6 in the first half of the season to 5-3 in the first half of the season.
3. Better opponent field goal percentage: The Panthers improved from 94.59 opponent field goal percentage to 88.24 opponent field goal percentage.
4. More field goals made, but fewer rushing touchdowns: The 2012 Panthers made 16 field goals and scored 21 rushing touchdowns. The 2013 Panthers made 24 field goals and scored 14 rushing touchdowns.
5. More yards per kick return allowed: The Panthers declined from 18.95 yards per kick return allowed to 22.61 yards per kick return allowed.

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New Orleans Saints (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer yards per play allowed: The Saints improved from 6.47 yards per play allowed to 5.19 yards per play allowed.
2. Fewer points allowed: The Saints improved from 454 points allowed to 304 points allowed.
3. Fewer touchdown passes: The Saints declined from 43 touchdown passes to 39 touchdowns allowed.
4. More field goal attempts: The Saints improved from 22 field goal attempts to 32 field goal attempts.
5. Better W-L record: The Saints improved from 7-9 to 11-5.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. More rushing yards allowed and more yards allowed per attempt: The 2012 Buccaneers allowed 1320 rushing yards on 3.50 yards per attempt. The 2013 Buccaneers allowed 1762 rushing yards on 4.02 yards per attempt.
2. Fewer passing yards allowed and fewer Defensive Real Passing Yards per Attempt: The 2012 Buccaneers allowed 4758 passing yards on 7.28 DRPYPA. The 2013 Buccaneers allowed 3806 passing yards on 6.54 DRPYPA.
3. Fewer plays of 40+ yards: The Buccaneers declined from 21 plays of 40+ yards to nine plays of 40+ yards.
4. Better pass completion percentage: The Buccaneers improved from a 54.95 completion percentage to a 56.61 completion percentage.
5. Better opponents field goal percentage: The Buccaneers declined from a 67.86 opponents field goal percentage to a 96.88 opponents field goal percentage.

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Denver Broncos (4 of 5 factors correct)
1. Worse yard differential per drive, play and passing attempt: The 2012 Broncos finished with +11.57 net yards per drive, +1.26 net yards per play and +1.58 net yards per pass attempt. The 2013 Broncos finished with +9.09 net yards per drive, +1.03 net yards per play and +1.14 net yards per pass attempt.
2. Fewer sacks: The Broncos declined from 52 sacks to 41 sacks.
3. Worse Offensive Passer Rating: The Broncos improved from a 105.34 OPR to a 114.38 OPR.
4. More rushing yards and touchdowns allowed: The 2012 Broncos allowed 1458 rushing yards and five touchdowns. The 2013 Broncos allowed 1626 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.
5. Fewer touchdown receptions for Eric Decker: Decker declined from 13 touchdown receptions to 11 touchdown receptions.

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Kansas City Chiefs (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Better W-L record: The Chiefs improved from 2-14 to 11-5.
2. More takeaways and fewer giveaways: The 2012 Chiefs totaled 13 takeaways and 37 giveaways. The 2013 Chiefs totaled 36 takeaways and 18 giveaways.
3. Better Offensive Passer Rating and better Defensive Passer Rating: The 2012 Chiefs finished with a 63.81 Offensive Passer Rating and a 99.91 Defensive Passer Rating. The 2013 Chiefs finished with an 88.63 Offensive Passer Rating and a 78.46 Defensive Passer Rating.
4. More touchdowns scored: The Chiefs improved from scoring 18 touchdowns to scoring 53 touchdowns.
5. More points scored by at least 40 percent: The Chiefs improved from 211 points scored to 430 points scored.

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Oakland Raiders (3 of 5 factors correct)
1. Better Defensive Passer Rating: The Raiders declined from a 97.46 Defensive Passer Rating to a 105.09 Defensive Passer Rating.
2. More rushing yards and touchdowns: The 2012 Raiders rushed for 1420 yards and four touchdowns. The 2013 Raiders rushed for 2000 yards and 16 touchdowns.
3. Better special teams DVOA: The Raiders special teams declined from -5.8% DVOA to -7.1% DVOA.
4. Fewer pass completions of 40+ yards: The Raiders declined from 10 pass completions of 40+ yards to eight pass completions of 40+ yards.
5. Better defensive DVOA: The Raiders defense improved from 12.5% DVOA to 10.3% DVOA.

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San Diego Chargers (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Better record with the halftime lead: The Chargers improved from going 6-5 when leading at halftime to going 5-2 when leading at halftime.
2. Fewer passing touchdowns allowed: The Chargers improved from allowing 28 passing touchdowns to allowing 23 passing touchdowns.
3. More rushing yards and rushing touchdowns: The 2012 Chargers rushed for 1461 yards and four touchdowns. The 2013 Chargers rushed for 1965 yards and nine touchdowns.
4. Fewer return touchdowns: The Chargers declined from nine return touchdowns to one return touchdown.
5. Better W-L record: The Chargers improved from 7-9 to 9-7.

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Arizona Cardinals (5 of 5 factors correct)
1. More yards per play: The Cardinals improved from 4.13 yards per play to 5.34 yards per play.
2. More Real Passing Yards per Attempt and better Offensive Passer Rating: The 2012 Cardinals totaled 4.51 RPYPA and a 63.10 Offensive Passer Rating. The 2013 Cardinals totaled 6.51 RPYPA and an 83.90 Offensive Passer Rating.
3. Fewer sacks allowed: The Cardinals improved from allowing 58 sacks to allowing 41 sacks.
4. More rushing yards and more rushing yards per attempt: The 2012 Cardinals rushed for 1204 yards on 3.42 yards per attempt. The 2013 Cardinals rushed for 1540 yards on 3.65 yards per attempt.
5. Worse Defensive Passer Rating: The Cardinals declined from a 71.17 Defensive Passer Rating to an 80.25 Defensive Passer Rating.

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San Francisco 49ers (4 of 5 factors correct)
1. Worse Offensive Passer Rating: The 49ers declined from a 101.19 Offensive Passer Rating to a 91.71 Offensive Passer Rating.
2. More interceptions thrown: The 49ers threw eight interceptions in each season.
3. Better field goal percentage: The 49ers improved from a 69.05 field goal percentage (29-to-42) to a 88.89 field goal percentage (32-to-36).
4. Fewer sacks for Aldon Smith: Smith declined from 19.5 sacks to 8.5 sacks.
5. More Adjusted Games Lost: The 49ers declined from 16.2 AGL to 84.2 AGL.

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Seattle Seahawks (3.5 of 5 factors correct)
1. Lower passer rating and lower touchdown percentage for Russell Wilson: DangeRuss posted a 100.03 passer rating and a 6.62 touchdown percentage in 2012. He then posted a 101.15 passer rating and a 6.39 touchdown percentage.
2. Lower Offensive Passer Rating: The Seahawks improved from a 100.58 Offensive Passer Rating to a 102.36 Offensive Passer Rating.
3. Fewer rushing yards: The Seahawks declined from 2579 rushing yards to 2188 rushing yards.
4. Field goal percentage inside 50 yards: Steven Hauschka declined from 100 percent (23-of-23) inside 50 yards to 93.75 percent (30-of-32) inside 50 yards.
5. Better W-L record: The Seahawks improved from 11-5 to 13-3.

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St. Louis Rams (4 of 5 factors correct)
1. Fewer sacks: The Rams improved from 51 sacks to 53 sacks.
2. More Adjusted Games Lost on defense: The Rams declined from 8.3 AGL on defense to 22.3 AGL on defense.
3. Higher percentage of fumble recoveries on defense: The Rams defense improved from recovering 23.53 percent of fumbles (4-of-17) to recovering 55.56 percent of fumbles (15-of-27).
4. More yards per punt return and more yards per kick return: The 2012 Rams averaged 21.03 yards per kick return and 6.62 yards per punt return. The 2013 Rams averaged 22.57 yards per kick return and 8.79 yards per punt return.
5. Lower average opponent DVOA on offense: Opponents got weaker, from -6.0% defensive DVOA on average to -4.2% defensive DVOA on average.

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Overall score: 145.25 of 160 factors correct (90.78 percent success rate)
It looks like the first ever attempt of determining each team’s “five factors” for regression deserves a solid A- grade — without a grading curve. We’d be hard pressed to find another publication that puts up this type of success rate. Better yet, there were no failing grades for any team in 2013, as compared to perfect scores for 19 teams. The Bengals and Raiders were the toughest teams to predict, as we only got three points of regression each. On the flip side, highlights from this first-time experiment include perfect scores in the NFC North and NFC South. In fact, the NFC regression factors had a 93.75 percent success rate. Couple that with correctly predicting all six NFC playoff teams, and this system clearly works. And remember, this is only the first year trying out this feature. With a few small adjustments, the Five Factors feature could become a prognosticating force in the future for a long time to come.

So what should be fixed for the 2014 NFL Preview? First, we need to tinker with the “thresholds” for regression. Using a 100+ Offensive Passer Rating or a 95+ Defensive Passer Rating is no longer an acceptable threshold for regression. Both the Broncos and Seahawks broke the trend on offense, while the Raiders broke the trend on defense. That accounted for 3.5 incorrect factors, which accounted for nearly 25 percent of the mistakes. Second, we should establish a firm threshold for the Pythagorean win differential regression. This accounted for two more missed points. We’ll have the adjustments and final answers for these two issues come August.

Note that we also had some close calls go against our favor, including one of the aforementioned factors. We said the Colts would regress in record, citing in part the Pythagorean win differential. However, they finished with an equal record. We also saw the 49ers stay even in one of their five factors. Finally, the Titans fell less than a percentage point short of meeting the condition for one of their factors. Between this and the other systematic problems we addressed, there were 7.5 missed factors that could have easily went in our favor with some little tweaks or lucky breaks. Therefore, we can possibly get that success rate up to the mid-90s next year.

Regardless of what’s next, there is one thing for all to learn today. The Five Factors feature is a force to reckon.

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