For the second straight week, the Broncos rank #1 across every major advanced statistical ranking system.
This is pretty remarkable, and speaks to just how well Denver is playing right now.
As writers at each site explain in their own words, the 2014 Broncos have a chance to rank with the very best teams of recent vintage.
Thursday's game against San Diego will probably be one of those 23-20 slugfests.1
That gives us just under three days to pretend the Broncos are going to continue on the exact same pace they've established over six games.
Of course, it's extra fun to do this after a 42-17 all-phases blowout win over a supposed SB contender.
While going through Peter King's MMQB column just now, the following line jumped out:
He’s going to complete 64 percent or so of his throws, he’s going to limit mistakes, and he’s going to give Kansas City a good chance to win most Sundays.
So, just a few key points, and no, this doesn't stand as proof that stats are useless.
As usual, it's instead a reminder that stats in the hands of the intellectually lazy (in this case, probably some NBC intern) can distort anything.
I wanted Tim Tebow to be a great NFL quarterback.
No, really. I did.
As Tebow's Hail Mary pass to Brandon Lloyd fell incomplete, thus ending Denver's wretched 2010 season, I was the one Broncos fan at SideBar in New York City (the birthplace of Tebowing) openly cheering the result.
Now, you're not supposed to root against your team, but Denver's draft standing was at stake - a win would have dropped the Broncos all the way from second to fifth in the 2011 Draft, and as much as we'd like to think that pick may have turned into Aldon Smith or J.J. Watt, we can be sure it would not have netted Von Miller.
Draft position aside, there was nothing to be gained out of finishing 5-11 rather than 4-12, and besides, I thought something much more important had occurred that day at the Big IF.
Mike Florio gave his argument this morning for why he thinks Adrian Peterson is the clear-cut MVP, and it again rests on the idea that somehow, the Denver Broncos don't need Peyton Manning as much as the Minnesota Vikings need Adrian Peterson.
In the end, Peterson’s value to his team simply outweighs Manning’s — even though Peyton once again has had a season to remember, shrewdly picking a talented team with an easy schedule and pushing the franchise to the top seed in the AFC. Last year, however, the Broncos made it to the final eight without Manning. This year, the Vikings would have been nothing without Peterson, a man who overcame a serious knee injury to become better than he ever was.
Moreover, at a time when we are more sensitive than ever before to the damage inflicted on the bodies of NFL players, Peterson earned every yard, foot, and inch that he gained. Even the long runs came after he ran through a potential tackler. Or two. Or five.
So, the Chiefs suck, the Broncos are well-rounded and still improving, and may be the best team in the NFL.
The kickoff time for Pats/Dolphins has been shifted to 4:25pm ET, in order to coincide with Broncos/Chiefs, and ensure that Denver has something to play for.
Should be a blowout, right?
Probably, but the Broncos were supposed to have emerged from Kansas City with more than the eight-point victory they did a month ago.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Hey, so we're still all here, right?
In lieu of a full STDL column, let's take a quick look at the advanced metrics and where the Broncos and Browns stand:
Denver remains atop Brian Burke's efficiency rankings (third on offense, second on defense), with an 81% probability of beating the Browns and an 86% chance of gaining a first-round bye. Cleveland is 23rd in overall efficiency (25th on offense, 13th on defense).
PFR's Simple Rating System ranks Denver fourth overall (offense second, defense fifth), and Cleveland 25th (28th, 17th (tie)).
The Broncos remain second to the Niners in PFF's grading, but they narrowed the gap a good deal last week. Denver grades out at third on offense, and first on defense, while Cleveland ranks 23rd on offense, 11th on defense, and 17th overall.
The Broncos need to win tomorrow if they're to keep alive any hopes of gaining a top-two seed and first-round bye in this year's playoffs.
But beyond those loftiest of goals, a Denver victory tomorrow would be significant on its own, as it would ensure the Broncos of being no worse than the AFC's number-three seed in the playoffs. Denver would move to 11-3, drop Baltimore to 9-5, and also own a head-to-head tiebreaker over them, were both teams to finish with 11 wins.
The difference between a three and four seed may not seem that great at first glance, but without knowing how the rest of the AFC will shake out, it certainly could end up being a big deal.