This edition will focus mainly on the Denver Broncos defense. So far this season we are second in the league in points allowed having only allowed 228 total points (14 of which were allowed by the offense). Only the Patriots with 200 have allowed fewer. All teams have now played 13 games. If the Broncos can maintain this pace of 17.5 points per game allowed, the team would finish with the lowest points allowed per game since the 2005 Bronco defense allowed 16.1. Yes, right now the 2021 Bronco defense is allowed fewer points per game than the 2012, 2015 and 2016 defenses (which were all elite). That’s the good news.
The bad news is that our defense has mostly avoided playing the “good” scoring offenses in the NFL. We’ve only faced three of the top ten scoring offenses (Cowboys, Chargers and Chiefs) while facing six of the bottom ten. We also faced the Cowboys with Dak Prescott coming off an injury and playing poorly as a result.
The Denver Bronco defense is currently 2nd in ppg allowed (17.5); they have only faced 3 of the top 10 scoring offenses, and 6 of the bottom 10. 3 of the 4 games left vs top 10 offenses. If they hold serve (big if), the D will finish with better ppg the 2015 and 2016 defenses. pic.twitter.com/HPPiOz9APC— Joseph Mahoney (@ndjomo76) December 13, 2021
In the final four games of the season, the Bronco defense face three of the top ten scoring offenses. The Bengals are currently 7th (27.2 ppg), the Chargers and Chiefs are tied for 9th (27.0 ppg). The only “weak” offense our defense will face in the final four games is the Raiders who are scoring 21.8 ppg (18th).
In the first meeting with the Raiders our defense allowed a season high 34 points in Denver. In the first meeting with the Chargers and the Chiefs our defense allowed 13 and 16 points respectively.
What amazes me is that our defense is doing so well in limiting points allowed. In yards per play our defense currently ranks T-17th. In third down conversion rate the defense ranks 26th - allowing 43.3 percent conversion. If that continues, it will be the worst third down conversion rate allowed since the 2008 defense. So has the defense just been feasting on weak offenses and favorable matchups?
Well by DVOA (which takes opponent offensive strength into account) the Bronco defense is currently ranked 21st. One of the reasons for this is that the defense is currently 22nd in average yards allowed per carry - allowing 4.44 yards per rushing attempt. The Saints are currently the best at 3.66 while the Steelers are currently the worst at 4.97.
So how are we only allowing 17.5 points per game? Two reasons -
- We are currently fourth in the league in passer rating allowed - allowing an average passer rating of 80.3 against. Only the Bills, Patriots and Cowboys defenses have been better (67.7, 70.9 and 78.3 respectively).
- We are currently eighth in red zone touchdown percentage allowed - having only allowed touchdown on 51.7 percent of red zone drives against us. The Saints at 43.6 percent are best and the Raiders at 77.1 percent are currently worst. The Bronco defense currently has the fewest red zone drives allowed (29) and the fewest red zone touchdowns allowed (15). For comparison the Jets’ defense has allowed 58 red zone drives (twice as many) and 34 red zone touchdowns (more than twice as many).
A strong running game can chew up the clock and limit opponent possessions (and opponent scoring). Relying heavily on the running game in the final four games would be wise. The Chargers are currently 29th at stopping the run (by yards per carry allowed) while the Chiefs are 27th and the Raiders 15th. The best run defense we will face is the Bengals who are currently 12th. They have allowed 100 or more yards rushing in six of thirteen games including last week in their loss to the 49ers.
Where do you think our defense finishes in terms of points allowed per game?
How many points per game will the defense be allowing by the end of the regular season?
This poll is closed
less than 17.5
more than 21.0