clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A midseason look at the Broncos’ 2018 ELO Ratings’s ELO Rating metric tracks the Broncos’ fortunes... and misfortunes.

Denver Broncos v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

One of the best tools around for examining how various NFL teams are performing relative to each other is’s NFL Predictions project. Though it’s not a “power ranking” per se, it’s one of the websites that I use in the weekly power rankings roundup due to 538’s ELO Ratings.

ELO Ratings are a metric that factors in the score of each game as well as the quality of the opponent and how expected or unexpected the result was. From there, 538 simulates 100,000 completed seasons and uses the results to predict each team’s final Win/Loss total and % chance to make the playoffs, win their division, get a 1st round Bye, and to win the Super Bowl. For more detailed information on the methodology, check out their website.

As you can probably imagine, the Broncos have enjoyed an extended period of maintaining a well above average ELO Rating over the past five years or so. The Peyton Manning era in Denver, and its overlap with the historic No Fly Zone secondary and now the Ground Control run defense, have combined to keep the Broncos among the premier teams in the NFL.

That, of course, appears to now be in the past... at least for the moment. The Broncos’ offensive collapse, and the string of losses that has resulted, have dragged the Broncos’ ELO Rating back down to league average. And if the trend continues, the team may very well end the season well below average for the first time since 2011.

The result? After peaking at 10-6 after the Week 2 blowout of the Dallas Cowboys, the Broncos’ predicted final record for the season is now 6.5-9.5, which might as well be stated as 6-10. Similarly, the team’s prospects in regard to the 2017 postseason are predictably rather grim. At this point the team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl, getting a 1st round Bye, or even just winning the division are all about 2% or less. 538 calculates that the Broncos still have a 12% chance to make the playoffs, but I think we’d all agree that that’s probably a bit optimistic.

That said, the Broncos are still stocked with considerable talent. They could quickly climb back up the ELO Rating chart in 2018 if John Elway and the front office can find a solution in a few critical spots: most notably quarterback, as well as right tackle, left guard, and perhaps inside linebacker.

Within the Division

How do the Broncos fare within the AFC West? No one should be surprised that the Chiefs are far ahead of the rest of the division, even after a short string of losses of their own. The Chargers started low and are finally beginning to trend up a bit. And the Raiders are slowly recovering after Derek Carr’s back injury sent them into a tailspin in the second quarter of their season. After being passed by the Raiders after last weekend’s games, the Broncos are still rated more highly than the Chargers. But their lead over Los Angeles isn’t large and further losses could cause them to lose it quickly.

The ELO Ratings project is a really neat tool for tracking teams’ relative strength, and includes ratings going back to 1920. And it doesn’t only include the current 32 NFL teams, but many defunct teams as well. You know, just in case you have a burning desire to learn about the relative strength of the Dayton Triangles for some reason.

You can also compare two teams’ historic ELO ratings, and get an idea of how they’ve fared relative to each other over the long term. Unfortunately you can’t do that for more than two teams at once, so I couldn’t include a 57 year chart for the entire AFC West. But I’d highly encourage you to check it out yourself sometime, as well as the other neat features.

What do you think of 538’s ELO Ratings? Are they pretty spot on in your opinion, or are they complete bunk?

Horse Tracks

2017 NFL division leaders: Steelers a lock, Rams no sure thing -
Can Jared Goff's Los Angeles Rams hold the Seattle Seahawks off in the NFC West? Gil Brandt ranks all eight division leaders according to the likelihood they'll finish 2017 in first place.

The dying art of the QB sneak
In the age of shotgun sets and pricey quarterbacks, the simplest and most effective play in football has fallen out of favor.

Grading first-year NFL head coaches: Sean McVay near perfection - NFL Nation- ESPN
As the 2017 season turns the midseason corner, our NFL Nation reporters grade the performance of the league's six new hires.

2017 NFL - Biggest injury questions for all 32 teams in Week 10
Could Julio Jones miss Sunday's game against Dallas? What about Chris Hogan for the Patriots' road trip to Denver? NFL Nation reporters assess the biggest injuries across the league.

2017 NFL Insiders predict - Week 10 upsets, fantasy flops, coaches on the hot seat, Los Angeles Rams chances to win NFC West, and more
Are the Rams for real? Can the Bills upset the Saints? Which coaches should be concerned about their jobs? Our experts weigh in.

When offensive linemen get their hands on the football, magic happens -
Retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz gives an inside look at what it’s like for an offensive lineman to tote the rock.

How the Rams and Bills made an authentic turnaround in just one season -
At 6-2 and 5-3, respectively, two perennial sad sack franchises are now among the NFL’s best. They owe it all to the Seans.

Jerry Jones threatens to sue NFL over Roger Goodell’s extension, per report -
Jones may hate Goodell more than anyone else in the league.

NFL picks 2017, Week 10: Experts see Bears and Steelers as locks -
A lot of lopsided matchups this week.

Packers release Martellus Bennett -
Is this the end of the dynamic tight end’s NFL career?