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  1. #1

    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 06:20 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: Just how good is the Broncos defense?

    Nice analysis.

    FWIW, I think the Broncos can continue to play an efficient bend-but-don't-break style. One of nine in the red zone may not be realistic to continue. But they don't need to get tons of pressure and force turnovers to be effective in the red zone. The two don't really correlate well.

    Now, that's not to say this team won't have issues down the line. They have turnover problems on offense with Plummer specifically. Their running game is usually efficient but we've always shown a propensity to shut it down.

    This to me looks like a good but not great team. Their defense is solid. But if the offense doesn't show up, I think the defense will have more problems from overwork than from a lack of turnovers or QB pressure. Down the line this team may fall apart a bit.

    - C -

  3. #3

    Re: Just how good is the Broncos defense?

    I would agree PSU. The Bronco defense is solid, meaning somewhere between 7th and 13th in the league, but not fighting for the top spot with the Ravens, Bears, Chargers, et al.

    Scoring defense in the end is all that matters. Does anyone really recall or care that the Titans gave up fewer yards in 2000 than the Ravens? Nonetheless, the point I was making was that the points allowed (and red zone efficiency) the Broncos have are thoroughly inconsistent with all the other indicators.

    This is not a team that will allow 10-13.5 ppg for the season. I would guess they will finish in the 16-18 range.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2006
    Denver, Colorado (via Gaithersburg, MD)
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    Re: Just how good is the Broncos defense?

    I would rate Denver's defense higher. I'm inclined to say they're a top 5 defensive unit.

    Keep in mind they have played better football teams (and better quarterbacks) than we have so their defensive statistics will be different than ours solely based on those reasons.

    Look at their personnel. They have arguably the fastest linebackers in the NFL and certainly one of the best units in the league. They have arguably the best secondary top-to-bottom in all of football, including 2 players who were rookie STUDS last year in Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth (GO TERPS!). In fact, Foxworth may have been the better of the 2, which is saying a lot considering how good Williams was before his injury.

    One thing they really lack: A PASS RUSH. It was a major problem last year and it's a major problem this year. It is very, very important you people understand this because, other than this one weakness, they seem to be a GREAT defense.

  5. #5

    Re: Just how good is the Broncos defense?

    I think the key factor to the Broncos defense always hinges on two players; John Lynch and Champ Bailey. They make that right side of the secondary (looking from the opposing QB's perspective) damn tough to throw into. Lynch when he is on plays out of his mind, and many feel Champ Bailey is one of, if not the, best cornerback in the league. This is a game that Derrick Mason is going to get tested on if the Ravens decide to go intermediate to deep.

    Our best chance to succeed against the Bronco's defense is to try to get some semblance of a running game started. It HAS to start this week or our offense will get nowhere.

  6. #6

    Re: Just how good is the Broncos defense?

    Quote Originally Posted by FadeToBlack View Post
    It is very, very important you people understand this
    LOL -- we people (whoever we are) appreciate you educating us.

    But I agree -- Denver's defense, to me, seems to be for real. Their secondary has played well and they have very good LBs. They think their LBs are as good as ours. I don't agree, but they are very good. This will be an interesting test for the offense.


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