It might also be difficult to get pressure on the opposing QBs even with Bradley Chubb back from injury and Von Miller playing at the top of his game. Based upon 2019 pass protection data (allowed pressure percentage) which I calculated from data found at pro-football-reference.com, nine of their sixteen games will be against teams that were in the top half of the league in 2019 in terms of keeping their quarterbacks from being pressured.
And of the teams that we face that were in not in the top half of the league in 2019, all should be better in 2020 based on arguments outlined here, maybe with the exception of the Miami Dolphins. But don’t some teams have to be getting worse at protecting the QB year over year? Let’s delve into this.
PFR has advanced passing data for only 2018 and 2019, but we can use that to see how pressure percentage allowed changed year over year for each team (and then average across the whole league). That is shown below.
First - negative values in the change column are good - that means the team did a better job of protecting the QB in 2019 than in 2018. A pressure is a sack, a QB hit or a QB hurry. Dropbacks are passing attempts plus scrambles.
Notice that the Broncos pressure percentage allowed did improve a little year over year. Unfortunately for us, the Kansas City Chiefs went from a team allowing pressure at one of the highest rates in the league in 2018 (tied for 31st) to one of the better teams in the league at protecting the QB (12th). I will be curious to track this in 2020 and beyond to see how things change year over year.
You should note that only four teams got significantly worse and three of them had starters at QB that they were not expecting to have in 2019 (CAR, PIT and IND). You should also note that the league overall was significantly better at preventing QB pressure in 2019 than in 2018. A drop of 3.5 percent seems fairly large, but I don’t have other year over year data for comparison. I can say that the sack rate league-wide continues to drop year over year, but the drop is generally not on that order. That also tends to jump around some from year to year (see below).