Just how good is the Broncos defense?
I have read a lot of speculation about this game. Bronco fans generally want to focus on specific defenders, or the opponents they have played. I think the Broncos have a pretty good defense, but they are clearly not at the level of the Ravens.
The best things you can say about this defense is that they have managed to allow only:
1. 10.3 PPG, 4th best in the NFL; and
2. 1 TD
OK, so what are they not so good at?
1. They have allowed 106.7 rushing yards per game compared to 63.2 for the Ravens.
2. They have allowed 215.3 passing yards per game compared to 155.8 for the Ravens. OK, yardage talk is loser talk, because the trailing team almost always trades turnovers for yards in the attempt to catch up.
3. So given that they have given up some "late game" yards, they must be great on turnovers, right? Wrong, they are -4 (2 takeaways to go with 6 giveaways, 4th worst in the NFL) ascompared to the Ravens +8 (2nd in the NFL).
4. QB ratings: The Broncos opponent QB's have a combined 78.2 passer rating (very close to the league average), while the Ravens opponents stand at 45.6. To put the Ravens number in perspective, that is the same as turning each of our 4 opponents into a hybrid between Kerry Collins (42.3) and Chris Simms (46.3).
5. QB rating fails to include sacks. The Broncos have collected 4 sacks in 3 games, the Ravens lead the NFL with 17 in 4 games.
One thing I try and ask myself about sports of any type is "Is it reasonable to think the team can continue to win by the same formula that has thus far been successful?" In the Broncos case, the biggest defensive number they have is the terrific 1-9 red-zone efficiency in 3 games. Not only is no team that good, that stat is out of sync with a low-turnover, low-pressure defense. Something has to give going forward, and it's a lot more believable that the Broncos will start allowing 40-50% success in the red zone than it is to believe they are suddenly going to improve to 4 sacks/game, +2 turnovers/game, a 45-50 opponent QB rating, and start giving up 1 less yard per offensive play.
I'm sorry, but I just don't buy the caliber of competition argument, there is simply too much of a difference in what these teams bring to the table defensively.
The Broncos certainly have a significant home-field advantage and the additional preparation time for this game, but IMO, 4 points is tooooo much.
Last edited by Filmstudy; 10-07-2006 at 05:20 PM.