FanPost

Win Probability, The Separation Between the Broncos and Chiefs

Dustin Bradford

With yet another win last Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs have improved to 9-0 on the season, remaining undefeated through nine weeks. The Chiefs have garnered much attention and hype, and justly so, remaining the only undefeated team on the season, since the Broncos fell to the Colts in Week 7. However, while some people are willing to put the Kansas City Chiefs in the conversation for best football team in the NFL, I'd have to flat-out disagree, despite the perfect record. Although it may seem that I am writing from a biased, Broncos-fan point of view, I'd like to explain why the Broncos are a better football team than the Chiefs. We're sure to get a much better idea of how these two teams measure up to each other in the upcoming four weeks, but for now I'd like to outline a few reasons why the Broncos' season has been more exceptional than that of the Chiefs.

I'd like to first point out that I don't think that the Chiefs are a bad football team. By all means, I think that you can't argue that what they've done this season, especially considering their immense lack of success last season, isn't special. Their record speaks for itself, a 9-0 football team is definitely a good football team. All that I'm saying is that they are not the best team in football, and they will not win the AFC West this season.

Through the first 8 weeks of the NFL season (excluding last week in order to maintain the same number of games from each team for comparison), the Broncos and Chiefs have played five of the same teams. The five teams, through Week 8 have the following records: Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8-0), Dallas Cowboys (4-4-0), Philadelphia Eagles (3-5-0), New York Giants (2-6-0), Oakland Raiders (3-4-0); these teams have a combined record of 12-27-0. In these five games, the Broncos went 5-0, winning by an average of 17.2 points. The Chiefs, against those same teams, also went 5-0, winning by a similar average of 15.6 points. The way that Denver and Kansas City won those games and achieved those point differentials couldn't be more different. Here is a visual of the teams' stats across those games:

Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs

Avg. Point Differential

17.2

15.6

Avg. Offensive Yards For

469.2

321

Avg. Offensive Yards Against

410.4

299.8

Avg. Points For

43.2

25.2

Avg. Points Against

26.2

9.6

Turnover Differential

0

+11

Avg. 1st Down Differential

+8.6

+2

As can be seen from the table, in the games where the Broncos and Chiefs have shared opponents, the Broncos average more points, more offensive yards for, and a higher first down differential over their opponents. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have amassed far less yards and points, yet have a much stingier defense, allowing over 100 yards less of offense on average and only 9.6 points against per game.

Now, let's look at the three opponents that each team has not shared. The Broncos have played the Baltimore Ravens (3-4-0), Indianapolis Colts (5-2-0), and Washington Redskins (3-5-0); these three opponents have a combined record of 11-11-0 through eight weeks. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have played the Tennessee Titans (3-4-0), Houston Texans (2-5-0), and the Cleveland Browns (3-5-0); three teams that have combined for a 8-14-0 record. Now, against the three teams they played, the Broncos had a combined point differential of +40, even with a loss to the Colts. On the other side of the spectrum, the Chiefs went 3-0 against their significantly weaker opponents, yet only had a total point differential of +16. Clearly the Broncos have significantly outplayed their three opponents, when compared to the Chiefs' efforts against their own three games, and this doesn't even take into account an important issue, the quarterbacks. In the three aforementioned games, the Chiefs played all three against backup quarterbacks (Ryan Fitzpatrick - TEN, Chase Keenum - HOU, Jason Campbell - CLE); meanwhile, the Broncos played three starting quarterbacks (Joe Flacco - BAL, Andrew Luck - IND, Robert Griffin III - WAS).

Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs

Avg. Point Differential

13.33

5.33

Avg. Offensive Yards For

461.67

347

Avg. Offensive Yards Against

317.67

324.33

Avg. Points For

42.33

22

Avg. Points Against

29

16.67

Turnover Differential

-3

+1

Avg. 1st Down Differential

+3.67

+4.67

Luckily, two of the three games that are encompassed in this chart for each team have been their most recent two games, so some trends can be observed (with an incredibly small sample size). The Broncos have decreased their average yards against in those games by almost 100 yards; does Von Miller have a large impact on this defense, or does Von Miller have a large impact on this defense? Secondly, the Broncos have maintained an average of over 460 offensive yards and over 40 points per game, a staggering statistic. The Chiefs have allowed about 25 more yards against over these three games, as well as 7 more points on average. Additionally, the Chiefs' incredibly high turnover differential in the five games included in the first chart has dropped significantly, with only a +1 differential in these three games. Overall, it looks as though the Chiefs' super-defense is slowing down, while the Broncos' defense has received a huge boost in the form of a certain #58.

The argument about the Chiefs having weaker opponents has already been made, so I'll stop there with that one; however, the utter dominance by the Broncos, and the relative lack of dominance by the Chiefs becomes very apparent when looking at win probability. Win probability is a stat that indicates the likelihood of a team to win their game at any given moment of that game. It can be affected by every single offensive, defensive, or special teams play. For example, a team who comes up with a huge offensive play, late in a tie game will see a large increase in win probability. When looking at this table for the Broncos' and Chiefs' first eight games, it confirms the Broncos' absolute dominance of their opponents thus far in the 2013 season.

Game

Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs

100% Win Probability (Time)

100% Win Probability (% of game)

100% Win Probability (Time)

100% Win Probability (% of game)

Jacksonville Jaguars

11:03

18.42%

13:07

21.87%

Dallas Cowboys

0:02

0.03%

0:00

0%

New York Giants

10:13

17.03%

6:25

10.7%

Philadelphia Eagles

20:04

33.5%

2:54

4.83%

Oakland Raiders

23:43

39.53%

3:27

5.75%

Washington Redskins

6:43

11.2%

N/A

N/A

Indianapolis Colts

0:00

0%

N/A

N/A

Baltimore Ravens

14:05

23.47%

N/A

N/A

Tennessee Titans

N/A

N/A

1:49

3.03%

Houston Texans

N/A

N/A

0:48

1.33%

Cleveland Browns

N/A

N/A

0:22

0.62%

This table shows each individual game the two teams have played, and how much time has been spent at 100% win probability, as well as what percentage of the game they’ve spent at this mark. The Broncos spend a relatively greater time at 100% win probability than the Chiefs, indicating that they’ve gotten ahead early and dominated games until the clock runs out; the Chiefs spend a very small percentage of games at 100% win probability, including a total of only 2:59 in the final three games shown, indicating the higher amount of close games they’ve been involved in. The table below shows the averages for both teams in total, against the five shared opponents, and against their three non-shared opponents. The Broncos have been over twice as dominant against the shared opponents, and have spent close to 7 more minutes at 100% win probability against their other opponents than the Chiefs have, despite losing a game to the Colts (0% of the time spent at 100% WP).

Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs

100% Win Probability (Time)

100% Win Probability (% of game)

100% Win Probability (Time)

100% Win Probability (% of game)

Average Vs. Five Shared Opponents

13:00

21.67%

5:30

8.63%

Average Vs. Three Non-Shared Opponents

7:55

11.55%

1:00

1.67%

Average vs. All Opponents

10:44

17.89%

4:02

6.02%

One final time, don't get me wrong, the Chiefs are a good football team, but don't let them fool you into believing they're a better team than the Broncos. The two teams play each other twice in the next four weeks, which will make direct comparison a whole lot easier; for now though, the statistics provided here seem to indicate that a much more dominant team resides in Denver.

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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