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Patriots-Broncos features NFL's best offense vs. NFL's best defense: Elevated Stats

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Forget Manning-Brady XVII. Forget Brady-Brock I. The 2015 matchup between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots is strength vs. strength: the NFL's best offense vs. its best defense.

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The Denver Broncos' Week 12 game against the New England Patriots was originally dubbed "Manning-Brady XVII", the 17th match between two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever sling the rock. Then, down goes Peyton Manning. While the first matchup between Brady and Brock Osweiler is compelling, there's no denying this game has lost some of its headline luster.

Instead, football purists can take solace in the units gracing the field when Brady is: New England's offense and Denver's defense are top-ranked respectively in the NFL this year.

Patriots offense vs. Broncos defense
New England Patriots
Offense
Denver Broncos
Defense
Yds/game 412.3 3rd 284.3 1st
Pts/game 32.3 2nd 18.3 2nd
Rush 92.0 28th 93.7 7th
Pass 320.4 1st 190.6 1st
Sacks 22 16th 34 1st
Turnovers 8 2nd 19 6th
DVOA 20.8% 2nd -24.2% 1st
PFF 78.7 1st 136.8 1st

Elevated Stats, Week 12

While stats don't tell the whole story, our Elevated Stats from 5,280 feet aim to give you a Mile-High perspective on the Denver Broncos and the NFL by covering all the bases. As always, here are your explanations for the analytics used in Elevated Stats. In the future, we may refer to this post instead of posting this glossary each time.

Record. Wins and losses. There isn't a more important "statistic" in football.

SOS: Strength of Schedule. The collective winning percentage of a team's opponents so far. Gathered from ESPN.

DVOA: Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average. Football Outsiders' prized statistic, DVOA, measures a team's efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent. It's a beast.

PFF Grade. PFF grades each player on each play, then sums them up. The higher the number, the better. Recently PFF introduced a new Overall team grade that we're using here instead of the cumulative sum of offense + defense + special teams we've used in the past.

PRD: Passer Rating Differential. This is simply the difference between a team's Offensive Passer Rating and its Defensive Passer Rating (the collective passer rating of QBs in games played against the team). While it seems overly simple, in this quarterback-driven league, Passer Rating Differential actually has an incredibly high Correlation to Victory and is considered the "Mother of all Stats" at Cold Hard Football Facts.

SRS: Simple Rating System. Pro-Football-Reference.com's go-to statistic takes a team's points and compares them to their opponents' points. It takes no other metrics into account. An average SRS is zero. There are strengths and weaknesses to this approach (such as a 44-20 win being considered "better" than a 20-0 win, which it isn't), which are covered nicely in PFR's guide on SRS hereSRS derived from this table each week.

TO: Turnover Ratio. Finally, another common, simple, but all-important measurement: turnover ratio. Gathered from NFL.com.

Elevated Stats: AFC Week 12
Team Record SOS DVOA PFF PRD SRS TO
New England Patriots 10-0 .460 33.7% 172.3 23.48 13.9 +6
Cincinnati Bengals 8-2 .450 29.5% 90.8 18.3 8.8 +4
Denver Broncos 8-2 .450 12.6% 94.5 -2.01 3.7 0
Indianapolis Colts 5-5 .590 -6.7% -47.1 -6.65 -1.0 -6
Pittsburgh Steelers 6-4 .490 15.2% 0.4 -0.72 5.0 +5
Kansas City Chiefs 5-5 .580 20.8% 51.2 14.33 7.1 +10
Oakland Raiders 4-6 .480 -2.1% 39.4 9.28 -2.6 -1
San Diego Chargers 2-8 .490 -19.4% -161.2 -3.74 -6.9 -7

AFC observations

  • The Kansas City Chiefs - holy hell do they look good right now. Among the AFC teams in the playoffs and AFC West above, the Chiefs are 3rd in DVOA, 4th in PFF, 3rd in PRD, 3rd in SRS, and 1st in turnover ratio. They're above the Broncos in DVOA, PRD, SRS, and TO.
  • The Patriots are the best team in the NFL, and it's not close. It will be a tall task for the Broncos to knock them off their undefeated thrones.

Got something to add to our Elevated Stats? Hit us up in the comments!