Breaking Down the Denver Broncos

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Let’s start with something positive this week. The Bengals aren’t interested in trading for DeAngelo Williams! After the last month, you have to enjoy the small things.


September 23 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels (81) scores a touchdown as he is tackled by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) during the third quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field. The Texans defeated the Broncos 31-25. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Now on to the bigger issue at hand–Sunday’s game against Denver. There is no team I would like to see Cincinnai face less than the Broncos right now. In the last four games Peyton Manning has run up 12 touchdowns and a QB rating of 127.9. But what was even more impressive in Denver’s dismantling of New Orleans last Sunday was the play of the Bronco defense in limiting the vaunted Saints offense to 14 points. That defense is what carried them to a division title last year throughout all the Tebow silliness,  and what kept them in the game long enough to win in overtime.

But eyes (and memories) can be deceiving, as can traditional stats. I always like to look at the advanced metrics rather than just rely on straight information from the boxscore, or ESPN’s oftentimes knuckleheaded analysis. Have the Broncos actually been playing as well as it seems? Um, yeah. Better than you realize, probably. has a metric called DVOA, which measures and contextualizes every single play in every game over the course of the season. The goal is to separate inherent skill in teams and players from random events over which they actually have little control.

The Broncos rank first in the NFL in DvOA. This has to do not only with how well Denver has played, but also the level of competition it has faced.The Broncos opened the season with Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Houston (yikes!) and have also played New England and San Diego in addition to last week’s tilt against the Saints. The only breather Denver has received was in Week 4 against Oakland, and the Broncos dismantled the Raiders 37-6.

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