Week 4 of the 2021 NFL Season is in the rearview mirror with the NFC East compiling a 3-1 record against outside opponents. The Dallas Cowboys handed the Carolina Panthers their first loss of the season as both teams moved to 3-1 on the year. The Washington Football Team faced a winless Atlanta Falcons club and were able take the lead on a J.D. McKissic go-ahead touchdown reception with less than a minute left in the game to get back to .500. The New York Giants took down the New Orleans Saints in overtime with a nine-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a Saquon Barkley touchdown run as they picked up their first win of the season. Philadelphia battled the Kansas City Chiefs in a contest of 1-2 teams with the Eagles landing on the wrong side of things for the third consecutive week.
Let’s peel back the cover and see what the advanced statistics show for the NFC East to see what each team can continue to succeed at or will need to improve upon. We will be using EPA (Expected Points Added) as we take a deeper dive into Week 4.
EPA is a formula that takes historical data and applies it to every play to determine if the play increases or decreases your expected points given the outcome of that play. Every down and distance has a level of expected points; the likelihood a team will score on that particular drive based on that situation. Therefore EPA measures the shift in expected points as a result of a specific play.
For example, gaining two yards on 2nd-and-20 from your own nine-yard line may be positive yardage, but negative EPA because the loss of down outweighs the gain of minimal yardage.