According to CBS, the Denver Broncos became the first team in NFL history to win three games in a row over teams that won 13 or more games the previous season. The Broncos beat the Chiefs (14-3), Bills (13-3) and Vikings (13-4). Admittedly, prior to 1978 NFL teams only played 14 regular season games, so winning 13 was almost unheard of, but that really doesn’t detract from the accomplishment. Even if you were to only restrict this to after 1977, it’s still an impressive feat that has never before been done.
After wandering in the desert of NFL irrelevance for much of the past seven seasons, to have the Broncos in contention for the playoffs and at .500 after week 11 seems almost like a dream, particularly when we think about how low many of us fans were just two months ago. It does not seem too long ago when folks were calling for tanking the season in order to get a pick high enough to draft the flavor of the year of a college QB.
By allowing only 20 points on Sunday the Broncos moved to 30th in points allowed. Currently the Commanders and Panthers are worse.
|1||San Francisco 49ers||10||157||15.7|
|2||Kansas City Chiefs||9||143||15.9|
|8||New Orleans Saints||10||198||19.8|
|9||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10||200||20.0|
|10||Green Bay Packers||10||202||20.2|
|11||New York Jets||10||204||20.4|
|13||Las Vegas Raiders||11||225||20.5|
|20||Los Angeles Rams||10||220||22.0|
|23||Los Angeles Chargers||10||238||23.8|
|25||New England Patriots||10||238||23.8|
|28||New York Giants||11||285||25.9|
The Bronco defense still remains in last place in YPP (6.31) and YPC (5.48). There is a possibility that a few more decent games from the defense could move us out of last place in YPP. The Bengals are currently 31st at 6.15. While the Bengals are also in 31st in YPC allowed, they are currently giving up almost exactly one half a yard less per run.
The Bronco defense has now allowed 171 or more yards rushing in five of ten games. They are on pace to allow 2720 rushing yards this regular season (160 allowed per game). Even if you remove the 350 allowed to the Dolphins, the Bronco defense is allowing 139 rushing yards per game - that would still be worst in the league (CIN is allowing 138.3). Historically, the team that is the worst team in the league at stopping the run does not make the playoffs, but some recent teams that were terrible against the run have made it all the way to the Super Bowl. The worst rushing defense by year over the last ten seasons is below along with the record of that team and how they did in the playoffs if they made them.
|Season||Worst Run Defense||YPC allowed||Record||Playoffs?||Lost when|
Similar to the Vikings, who were in eleven one score games last season (going 11-0), the Broncos were in 13 of them (going 4-9). This season has continued the trend of close games although with slightly lower frequency. The 2023 Broncos are now 4-2 in one score games after starting 0-2. With seven games remaining the 2023 Broncos have already won as many one-score games as the 2022 Broncos.
The Bronco offense continues to score just enough to win, but it is far from hitting on all cylinders. The Broncos are scoring 21.7 ppg which is currently 16th. The top three teams in the league in scoring (Miami, Baltimore and Dallas) are all scoring more than 30 per game. While 21.7 might seem pedestrian, it’s a dramatic increase over the 16.9 that the Broncos scored in 2022.