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Broncos at Chiefs: The Broncos still have the statistical advantage

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If the Broncos can utilize their new-found run talent, while smothering the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles, they will come out on top.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos have been getting a lot of criticism as of late for under-performing on offense while allowing big passes and runs. The offense has continued to produce a lot of yardage, but still seem to be held to a higher standard by fans and critics. But what do the numbers say?

Using the normalized offense and defense ranking scheme, the Broncos have dropped significantly in their ability to perform above average on defense since week 11. The Broncos defense was 0.98, meaning they were still allowing less points than the average team (a full explanation of the table is in that article). Taking the advice of MNBroncoFan and a couple of my friends, I ranked teams based on the difference in their normalized offense minus their normalized defense. This means 0 is average, a positive score is above average and a negative score is below average.

Overall Rank by Normalized Offensive and Defensive Points

Team

Normalized Offense

Offensive Rank

Normalized Defense

Defensive Rank

Normalized Difference

Overall Rank

NFL Rank

New England

1.40

2

0.98

15

0.42

1

2

Denver

1.44

1

1.03

17

0.41

2

4

Miami

1.18

6

0.85

7

0.33

3

17

Indianapolis

1.26

5

0.96

14

0.31

4

10

Green Bay

1.32

3

1.02

16

0.30

5

5

Baltimore

1.09

9

0.81

4

0.29

6

12

Seattle

1.09

10

0.84

6

0.25

7

8

Kansas City

1.08

11

0.84

5

0.25

8

11

Buffalo

1.02

13

0.81

3

0.21

9

18

Philadelphia

1.30

4

1.09

21

0.21

10

3

Arizona

0.94

19

0.77

2

0.17

11

1

Houston

0.95

17

0.87

9

0.08

12

19

San Diego

0.99

14

0.92

12

0.07

13

14

Detroit

0.80

27

0.75

1

0.05

14

9

Pittsburgh

1.14

8

1.11

23

0.03

15

13

Cincinnati

0.95

18

0.92

11

0.03

16

6

New Orleans

1.18

7

1.16

28

0.02

17

22

Dallas

1.06

12

1.07

19

-0.01

18

7

San Francisco

0.82

25

0.85

8

-0.03

19

16

Cleveland

0.91

21

0.95

13

-0.04

20

15

Minnesota

0.76

30

0.90

10

-0.14

21

23

NY Giants

0.97

16

1.12

24

-0.15

22

26

Carolina

0.86

23

1.07

18

-0.21

23

25

Atlanta

0.99

15

1.20

32

-0.21

24

21

Chicago

0.94

20

1.17

30

-0.23

25

20

St. Louis

0.91

22

1.15

26

-0.24

26

24

Tennessee

0.81

26

1.09

20

-0.28

27

29

Oakland

0.80

28

1.10

22

-0.30

28

32

Washington

0.85

24

1.17

29

-0.32

29

27

Tampa Bay

0.78

29

1.18

31

-0.40

30

30

NY Jets

0.75

31

1.15

27

-0.41

31

28

Jacksonville

0.66

32

1.13

25

-0.47

32

31

Based on this method, the Patriots passed the Broncos as the number one team, performing well above average on offense, and just above average on defense. In fact, their scores are exactly what the Broncos score was 2 weeks ago. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have also fallen on both offense and defense, all the way to number 8 after losing to the worst team in the league.

What do the numbers say about the match up between the Broncos and Chiefs, and what is the key to another Broncos victory? The Broncos have a well-above average offense, and a slightly below average defense, and the Chiefs have a pretty average offense and defense.

Offense

Defense

Offense

Defense

Denver

Kansas City

Kansas City

Denver

Total

4

6

Total

23

4

Downs

5

6

Downs

18

15

Passing

2

1

Passing

31

14

Rushing

21

25

Rushing

5

2

Receiving

2

1

Receiving

31

16

Give/Take

12

18

Give/Take

18

12

Based on the offensive and defensive rankings broken down by each passing, rushing, receiving, downs, and giveaways versus takeaways, the Broncos have a very favorable match up. As it appears, the only strength the Chiefs have on offense is their rushing attack. If the Broncos can deliver on the run defense the way they did in earlier weeks, they should be able to slow down Jamaal Charles.

The Broncos rank much lower for their passing defense, but the Chiefs are near the bottom for passing offense. In games that Alex Smith is forced to pass more than 30 times, the Chiefs have only won once. If the Broncos can force Alex Smith to pass while they utilize the talent of Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, Rahim Moore, and Aqib Talib if he plays, they should be able to hold the Chiefs to few points.

On the other side, the Chiefs have a well-above average defense for passing, much below-average for rushing. The Broncos must use their new-found talent in C.J. Anderson and used a balanced offensive approach the way they did against Miami to be successful against the Chiefs defense. If the Broncos take advantage of the weak rush defense and pick apart any weaknesses on the pass defense with the weapons Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos' offense should show the powerhouse that they are the way they did against the Raiders, even if Julius Thomas does not play.

And just for fun, an updated strength of schedule based on point differential will show you that the Broncos have still played a much harder schedule than the Chiefs, which is inflating their defensive ranking. However, take note that the only two teams that have played harder schedules than the Broncos are the Chargers and the Raiders.

Strength of Schedule by Point Differential

Rank

Team

Diff

% Difference

1

San Diego

318

12.05%

2

Oakland

318

12.05%

3

Denver

238

9.33%

4

Miami

220

8.37%

5

NY Jets

197

7.38%

6

Jacksonville

127

4.61%

7

Indianapolis

80

3.05%

8

Kansas City

46

1.81%

9

Tennessee

60

1.37%

10

Buffalo

-3

-0.07%

11

Houston

-3

-0.11%

12

NY Giants

-59

-0.70%

13

Baltimore

-35

-1.35%

14

San Francisco

-114

-4.32%

15

St. Louis

-114

-4.32%

16

New England

-110

-4.39%

17

Arizona

-123

-4.63%

18

Carolina

-156

-5.58%

19

Cincinnati

-149

-5.63%

20

Seattle

-174

-6.23%

21

Detroit

-197

-6.80%

22

Washington

-594

-7.50%

23

Minnesota

-211

-7.74%

24

Dallas

-211

-7.97%

25

Pittsburgh

-211

-9.02%

26

New Orleans

-253

-10.12%

27

Cleveland

-276

-11.38%

28

Chicago

-332

-11.96%

29

Green Bay

-342

-13.50%

30

Philadelphia

-435

-16.45%

31

Atlanta

-589

-25.19%

32

Tampa Bay

-637

-26.18%