FanPost

Aussie Meanderings: Strength of schedule? Its BS.....Ranking Denver's Skill positions vs their opposition. NOW WITH KEY MATCH UPS!

Hi Y'All,

I was watching Damien Woody's inanely stupid, and frankly, regurgitated ESPN crap in Horsetracks this morning, and it got an idea going for me.

One of the biggest loads of crap out there is people basing a record on strength of schedule, and doing pre-season. It never seems to work out, nor give an accurate reading as to how a team will perform. The question I posed to myself was:

"What is an accurate way of gauging our team vs the ones we play?".

SO what I have come up with is a simple mechanism. I am going to go thru our schedule and rank our "skilled players" vs the opposition and see where we come up.

First off, what are "skilled players"? They are commonly considered QB's, WR's and RB's, but for the sake of this article, and due to the way the game is changing, I am going to add TE's, Pass Rushers, Shutdown corners and Left Tackle.

I know this method will hopefully illicit a lot of discussion, and some might not agree with my method, but these are the positions I consider most important for a team to be a contender.

I will break the article into 2 parts: Weeks 1-8 and weeks 9 - 16. There will be outliers in each team eg. Safety play of Troy Polamalu for example but I believe these are th truly game changers positions in the present game of NFL. In the case of ties, I will go with the tie breaker of which team has the home field advantage. Not super scientific, but its definitely a big factor.

It will be done simply: Which team is better at each of these positions. LETS GO:

WEEK 1: VS STEELERS:

QB - Manning vs Roethlisberger: This is a tough one. I ask myself would I swap Manning for Ben for my team. The answer is NO, and thats not even bringing in the character concerns I have with Ben. Then weighing up the fact The Freaking had last year off with injury I am going to call this a push

Result: =

WR - I think we have to take a guess at who our Top 4 WR's are going to be. I am going with DT, Decker, Bubba and Stokes. I personally think that DT and Decker will be the best 1/2 in the NFL by leagues end, I think Bubba will be our best value signing and I am a huge Stokes fan. Who does not love these guys. Wallace wont be there week 1, and I dont even think thats a reach. The Steelers have Brown, Sanders, Cotchery and Battle. Who you going to take? Even with Wallace in, we are deeper with more balance.

Result: +

RB - Lets look at a rotation of the 3 running backs. McGahee, Hillman, Moreno vs Redman, Moore and John Clay. Rashard Mendenhall wont be back for week 1, only being 7 months recoveered from ACL surgery. Although I am a Redman fan, you take our RB trio over the Steelers.

Result: +

TE - Tamme and Dreesen vs an aging Heath Miller and David Johnson. Easy advantage to Denver.

Result: +

LT - Clady vs Max Starks. I still consider Clady a Top 8 LT. Max Starks I dont.

Result: +

Pass Rush - Woodley and Harrison, backed up by Worlds are a good trio. But they are aging. When compared to Dumervil and Von, with pressure Ayers and Hunter can do, I will take the younger guys of Denver. Hard here as we are comparing a 30 front vs a 40 front, but in this game, I like the pressure Doom and Von can bring.

Result: +

Corners - Ike Taylor (who was owned by DT) and William Gay vs Champ and Porter. Its a no contest. (Note: Can never discount Troy P, but for this article looking at CB's only as they are a more elite position than safety, and Troy P is an outlier).

Result: +

KEY MATCH UPS -

  • Can our pass rush bring pressure on Big Ben? I give this edge to our pass rush. Even with the Steelers acqisition of some key young guys in the draft, they have never had to deal with the likes of Von and Doom
  • Broncos WR's and PFM vs Steeler DB's: Clear edge to Denver.
  • Can Broncos stop the run? I like our DT rotation and feel its not the weakness many see. Please stay healthy Ty Warren.

OVERALL RESULT: Denver win.

WEEK 2: VS ATLANTA FALCONS.

QB - Matt Ryan vs Peyton Manning. I think Ryan is a little over rated and I will take Peyton Manning every day and twice on Sunday.

Result: +

WR - Not going to lie. The duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White are one of the best in the business, and they shade the duo of DT and Decker BUT.....although Hugh Douglas is decent, there is a drop off to Atlanta's 4th WR. I take Bubba Caldwell and Stokes over Hugh Douglas. I give the slight advantage to Atlanta, but its VERY slight

Result: -

RB - Micheal Turner's games has been dropping MARKEDLY in last 2 seasons, and although I am a fan of Snelling, Denver has a clear advantage here.

Result: +

TE - Tony Gonzalez in one of the greatest of all time, but his big play ability is not what it used to be, altough he is still a Top 10 TE. There is a drop off to Palmer, and I think the combo of Dreesen and Tamme gives Denver the overall position of strength in this comparison.

Result: +

LT - Ryan Clady easily shades Svitek or Sam Baker. Across the WHOLE O line is a weakness for Atlanta.

Result: +

Pass Rush - John Abraham is aging. Sidbury has shown flashes but simply not in Denver's class here. Clear advantage to the broncos!

Result: +

Corners - Grimes and Robinson are a good pairing, but once again, I take Champ and Tracy P over these guys.

Result: +

KEY MATCH UPS:

  • Atlanta's pass game is set up by the run. Can we stop the run? Like I said above, I will take our front 7 vs Snelling and Turner.
  • PFM and Denver need a quick start: Atlanta and Matt Ryan's record in the dome is impressive, with Denver being one of the few teams to beat them at home. If PFM can start quickly, get a lead, this will force ATlanta to throw and take the home crowd advantage away.
  • Denver's DB's vs Atlanta's WR's: This is a HUGE match up. IF Denver gets an early lead, Atlanta will be throwing, and throwing lots. Its not just can Champ and Tracy match up, but how we match up in nickel and dime against 4 WR sets with Drayton Florence and Chris Harris. I like the match up for us, as with some wrinkles in coverage we can take away at least one of Atlanta's big guns and force Ryan to go to his 3rd and 4th WR's.
  • Atlanta's DB's vs Denver's WR/ TE's: Look for a big dose of Tamme and Dreesen to loosen up the pass defense. I also like the match up for Decker, Thomas and in particualr, Bubba. Bubba could be a game changer in this one as Atlanta's DB depth is a little shallow after the starters.

OVERALL RESULT: Denver win.

WEEK 3: vs Houston

QB - The Freaking vs Schaub. Both good QB's, both coming back from injury but Peyton is simply a class above Schaub. Advantage Denver!

Result: +

WR - Andre Johnson, along with Calvin, best there is. Kevin Walter is a good player, though there is a drop off to their 3rd WR. I call this a wash, due to Denver's depth.

Result: =

RB - Slight edge here to the Texans with Foster, Tate and Forsett. I am a big Ben Tate fan.

Result: -

TE - Owen Daniels is good, but there is a MASSIVE drop off after that. The pairing of Dreesen and Tamme gives Denver a clear edge here.

Result: +

LT - Dwayne Brown is a developing player, and did not give a sack last year. He is the better player at the moment. If Clady can find his form, he as much talent as Brown, but based on last year, the edge here goes to the Texans.

Result: -

Pass Rush - Wow, this is close, but the edge goes to the Texans. They have SO many guys that can bring it. Barwin, Watt, Cushing, Mercilus, Brooks Reed. Although on pure explosiveness, Doom and Von are probably the 2 best, the Texans have the ability to pass rush from a lot of different looks.

Result: -

CB - Jackson and Joseph are damn good. But there are not many twosomes that beat out Champ and Porter on pure play making ability. The battle of the CB's is where this game will be decided. Can the Broncos shut down Andre as much as possible, and can DT and Decker overcome Jackson and Joseph. I give the edge in this battle to the Broncos.

Result: +

KEY MATCH UPS -

  • Who can bring the pressure? This will be the major key in this game: Pass Rush vs O lines. I give the edge to Houston as their depth in the pass rush is a little more than what Denver has. We really need some other contributors other than Von and Doom.

OVERALL RESULT: Wow, all tied up. With Denver having home field advantage. DENVER WINS!

WEEK 4: vs OAKLAND RAIDERS.

QB - THE FREAKING vs Carson Palmer. I like Carson but no match here. PFM is a couple of classes above.

Result: +

WR - I think the WR's of the Raiders are under rated, and will surprise a few teams this year. Moore, Criner and Ford have big play ability, but clear edge here to Denver.

Result: +

RB - McFadden is Top 5 quality, and Goodsen and Jones have big play ability. I like our threesome, but you have to assume that McFadden will be healthy. A slight edge to the Raiders.

Result: -

TE - Nothing to say.

Result: +

LT - Clady is better than Veldheer.

Result: +

Pass Rush - I know Dennis Allen is a creative guy, and he will bring wrinkles, but I see lack of CONSISTENT pass rush being a HUGE problem for the Raiders. Clear advantage to Denver.

Result: +

CB - The back end is going to be a huge area of concern for the Raiders. Their starters may not even make our 53 roster. Advantage Denver.

Result: +

KEY MATCH UPS -

  • Denver needs a quick start: The most effective way to take away Oakland's major strength of the run game is for Denver to score early and quickly, forcing Oakland to throw. I will take PFM and our offense over the DB's of Oakland every day.

OVERALL RESULT: Man, should be an easy win for Denver. But man, we have struggled vs the Raiders at home!

WEEK 5: vs NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.

QB - Should be a classic. Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning. At home, you have to give the edge to Tom Brady.

Result: -

WR - We meet up with old friends this week! Lloyd, Welker, Gaffney and Branch vs Decker, DT, Stokes and Bubba. I am calling this one a push. Its just too close to call. As a Denver fan, you hope by week 5 we are clicking on all cylinders.

Result: =

RB - The RB trio of the Pats will surprise, but on offense, this is one of the only places the Broncos have an advantage. if we are ahead in the 4th, the running game will come into play. if not, it wont have much of a bearing on this game.

Result: +

TE - It seriously takes a GREAT pair of TE's to outshine Dreesen and Tamme, but its happened here. Fernandez and Gronk are not only the best TE tandem in the business, but 2 of the best playmakers in the league. Can our adfety's and LB's keep these guys in check? Going to be tough.

Result: -

LT - Nate Solder is getting better and will be good. Clady is a class above.

Result: +

Pass Rush - I wonder, once again, where the Pats pass rush is going to come from. But it never seems to matter! Von and Doom need to have a monster game and bring pressure, and JDR needs to be on his game. IF...and its a big IF, we can get some hits on Tom Brady, we could spring a surprise.

Result: +

CB - McCourty and Arrington are not the worst, but Champ and Porter are elite. I am stoked we have Porter (and also Florence) brought in, as we need elite help vs the Tom Brady pass game. A great game from Champ, Porter, Drayton and Chris Harris (as we will see plenty of dime) may help us keep this game close.

Result: +

KEY MATCH UPS -

  • Can Denver pressure Tom Brady? Brady is going to score points, we know that! The key is our defense bringing some pressure, and at least getting SOME stops. IF we can do that, its then up to THE FREAKING and the offense to take every chance to score. This one will be a shoot out!
  • The Battle of the Tight Ends: New England has the edge, but Denver has definitely stepped up its game as far as defending the 2 TE set. The Jim Leonhard acquisition is one we should not look past. He is one of the few safety's who knows the Patriots well and has skill set to be effective against it. Chris Harris and Drayton also help in dime and nickel. Denver also has the opportunity to "out-patriot" the Patriots with some good match ups of of our TE's against their D. Going to be interesting!

OVERALL RESULT: A Patriots win in a close one!

WEEK 6: vs SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

QB - We meet another elite QB in Phil Rivers, who has had a ton of success against Denver and Peyton Manning. I am still giving THE FREAKING an edge here.

Result: +

WR - I think the Chargers will still be good, even with the departure of Vincent Jackson. But, Denver has a clear edge here.

Result: +

RB - The Chargers are still solid, but I think losing Mike Tolbert to the Panthers will be bigger than most are thinking. Denver has a slight edge here, but only a bee's dick!

Result: +

TE - Gates is one of the best. McMichael has had a bit of a renaissance and I think Rosario is under rated, and will be a good pick up for the Chargers. There is no separating these TE groups, and ends up a wash.

Result: =

LT - Gaither was a good pick up for the Chargers, but Clady is a class above.

Result: +

Pass Rush - I just dont see where San Diego gets a pass rush. Phillips is decent, Ingram is a rookie. Clear advantage to Denver against a very average Chargers O line.

Result: +

CB - Cason and Jammer are just average, and will have their hands full with our WR corps. Champ and Porter are clearly an elite pairing. Lay down misere for Denver here.

Result: +

KEY MATCH UPS -

  • Pressuring Philip Rivers: I like the match up of our pass rush vs a pretty weak O line for the Chargers. We brought great pressure last year, and with an improved D this year, I like the match up for us.
  • Score early and fast: We have some great match ups with our WR's and TE's. Look for Denver to get out to a quick start and then bring the house on defense.
  • Denver DB's vs River's Pass game: Make no mistake, the acquisition of Porter and Florence are HUGE. I like out match up in the backfield now, and with the pass rush generating pressure, there will be some opportunities for some defensive plays.

OVERALL RESULT - This should be an easy win for Denver, but Rivers plays well against it, and its in division which changes everything.

WEEK 7: BYE

WEEK 8: vs NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

QB - Brees vs THE FREAKING is going to be epic. PFM has home ground advantage. I am calling this a wash.

Result: =

WR - This may surprise, but I give the edge to Denver. Colston is good, Henderson is above average, I like Lance Moore, but the big play ability of the Bronco's WR corps outmatches the Saints. We have speed and versatlity. A slight edge to Denver

Result: +

RB - I think in terms of depth and versatility, the Saints have the best RB stable in the NFL. Clear edge to New Orleans with Thomas, Ingram and old friend Sproles.

Result: -

TE - Jimmy Graham has the play making ability of Gronk. David Thomas is under rated and a real good TE. Slight edge here to the Saints.

Result: -

LT - I rate Bushrod, but I think Clady is just a little better.

Result: +

Pass Rush - I dont fear the Saints pass rush. Jordan will be relied upon to bring pressure, and he will continue to improve. But where the rest of the pass rush comes from is anyone's idea. Denver clearly several classes above the Saints.

Result: +

CB - Robinson and Greer are average. This is a clear advantage to Denver. If PFM can get some plays going against these CB's, could be a long day for the Saints defensive back field.

Result: +

KEY MATCH UPS -

  • Stopping the Bree's pass game: Bree's is one of the best, and the key guys on offense are still in place. Can Denver bring pressure. We REALLY need our DT's to bring pressure on the pocket of the New Orlean's O Line to open opportunities for our pass rush. This one will be decided in the trenches, as both teams are built for a shoot out.
  • Shutting down Jimmy Graham: I think we match up pretty well vs the New Orleans WR, but we really need big games from Harris, Florence and our safety's to limit the effect Jimmy Graham has on this game. Take away this part of the game for New Orleans.
  • Take away the Saints run game: We need a quick start. Score points often and early. The New Orleans run game is one of the best in the NFL.

OVERALL RESULT: I see a massive shoot out here. if PFM and our guys can get out to an early lead, then this will take the Saints run game out of the equation. This works out as a WIN for Denver.

CONCLUSION: So, there you have it. Weeks 1-8. I honestly have not been thru the schedule until now, and by comparing the PLAY MAKING positions on each team I am actually surprised that the Bronco's record thru week 8 as 6-1....with the Houston game being a toss up. Am I willing to go all Kool AId and shout this from the roof tops? Not yet...but it has been an interesting exercise to see how our team TRULY measures up in the PLAY MAKING areas of the NFL Game.

We are a lot closer to being a COMPLETE and ELITE team than I have given the team credit for. Unfortunately, can never account for injuries, and as always, this will be a HUGE factor. But if we can keep our team relatively healthy, then we should be well in it.

I am looking forward to seeing how the remaining schedule shakes out.

Hit me with your comments, would be stoked to hear from you. I will see you all at PART 2.

Peace!

Boydy.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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