FanPost

By the numbers: Week 5, Dallas

Dustin Bradford

If you followed my posts other years, you know I'm a numbers guy. I appreciate the fact that not everyone is. For those who are interested, I'll be putting some information together hopefully on a semi-regular basis that looks at the upcoming game(s), and perhaps using different ways of looking at both the Broncos and their opposition. I track a number of different stats for my own interest, and hopefully you find it interesting as well.

The much criticized "QB Rating" is actually an increasingly valuable metric to follow. Various gurus have their own rating that they've created (and probably IS better) but for simplicity sake I follow the official NFL stat.

FACT: Through week 4, teams that have a positive QBR differential (that is teams whose QB outperforms the opposing QB) are 51-9 (85%).

If you want to win in today's NFL, you want to build a defense that can stop the opponents' QB while employing a QB that can outperform opposing defenses. However, giving up simple yardage isn't the issue.

FACT: Through week 4, teams that have more passing yardage than their opponent are only 36-25 (59%).

A perfect example is the Philly game. We allowed Vick to rack up yardage, but held him to 52% completion rate and out of the EZ. I know there are folks who were disappointed in the defense at times last week, but garbage passing yards doesn't mean anything.

The following table lists the top teams in terms of QBR differential. You can achieve a good differential by being exceptional on offense or defense, but the truly great teams will have a balance on both sides.

Thru wk 4

Offense QBR

Defense QBR

QBR Diff.

Record

Denver

136.8

79.6

57.2

4_0

Seattle

102.1

60.7

41.4

4_0

New Orleans

103.8

65.1

38.7

4_0

Detroit

96.2

69.4

26.8

3_1

Indy

92.3

65.8

26.5

3_1

Kansas City

89.9

63.8

26.1

4_0

New England

87.4

70.1

17.3

4_0

Tennessee

101.1

84.3

16.8

3_1

These eight teams are a combined 29-3. To beat them, it takes either a special game from the opponent, or a big defensive/ST TD, etc. My own bias would be that the top six here are the cream of the crop as it currently stands. Our pass defense should improve when Von comes back. If so, and assuming Manning doesn't turn into his brother, we should be favored all the way to the SB.

DALLAS

When looking at a particular matchup, I like to compare teams actual performance to their expected performance. Expected performance is simply the average of their opponents. This answers the question "does team A outperform their opponent or do they under perform?" Good teams should outperform their opponents. Since there is wide disparity between schedules, this allows one to quickly account for these variations. I make these comparisons in four key areas. The first is QBR which we've looked at already. The others are 3rd Down %, Turnovers, and points. Here is a look at Denver and Dallas. Remember that on offense we want a positive number, on defense we want a negative number.

OFFENSE

QB Rating

3rd Down Conv

Turnovers

Points

Denver Actual

136.8

55.3

5

179

Denver Expected

103

42.9

5.3

116

Denver Difference

33.8

12.4

0.3

63

Dallas Actual

105

34.8

5

104

Dallas Expected

95.7

40.5

6.5

103

Dallas Difference

9.3

-5.7

1.5

1

DEN

DEN

DAL

DEN

DEFENSE

QB Rating

3rd Down Conv.

Turnovers

Points

Denver Actual

79.6

36.1

6

91

Denver Expected

80.2

35.8

9

81

Denver Difference

-0.6

0.3

3

10

Dallas Actual

99.6

32.7

8

85

Dallas Expected

89.2

35.2

7.5

85

Dallas Difference

10.4

-2.5

-0.5

0

DEN

DAL

DAL

DAL

Our offense should be enough to make this another rout. In general Dallas has played slightly better defenses than we have, but have struggled on 3rd down. They do take care of the ball and are outperforming their opponents when passing. Our biggest weakness on defense so far is mostly the lack of turnovers. I can't imagine what the scores would be if we were collecting a TO or two more a game, but in this game, that is the only area Dallas has done significantly better in. Dallas has allowed opposing QB's to play above their average which won't work against us. I think we look ok on defense considering our top two players haven't seen the field yet. We will tighten up down the stretch.

I was somewhat fearful of this game before the season but barring a significant improvement from the Cowboys, we'll be 5-0 by Sunday night. Cheers!

FINAL FACT: Denver has given up 53 points (13 per game) prior to the games becoming a blowout. We've given up 38 points once the game is basically decided already. Our defense is playing much better than we're given credit for. 53 points would put us in the top 5 scoring defenses in the NFL after 4 weeks. This is a complete team, even though the offense is getting all the recognition so far.

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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