STDL: Broncos checking off goals by the week

Division title? Check.

Home playoff game? Got that.

First-round bye? That's what remains for the Broncos as far as regular-season ambitions go. Home field throughout would be a nice bonus, but it's an outside possibility at this point, and of course, going undefeated within the AFCW would also be nice.

Denver can get another step closer to attaining those goals tonight at Oakland, with what would be their eighth consecutive win, on a short turnaround for both teams.

Advanced NFL Stats

For the eighth week in a row, the Broncos rank first in the NFL according to Brian Burke's efficiency rankings.

Their generic winning probability dropped another tick to 0.73, and they fell one spot to fourth in terms of offensive efficiency, behind New England, Washington, and San Francisco. Denver remains first in passing efficiency, and are in a sixth-place tie at running efficiency.

On defense, the Broncos are #1 in efficiency for the first time all season according to Burke's data, ranking in a tie for third against the pass, and are eighth against the run.

All four of Denver's remaining opponents rank 20th or worse overall according to Burke.

Pro Football Reference

After having dropped briefly into fourth-best in PFR's Simple Rating System, the Broncos are back up to third overall. They rank third in Offensive SRS, and eighth in Defensive SRS, after having been leapfrogged by Houston, Arizona, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh.

Baltimore (10th) is the only future opponent ranked better than 25th overall according to SRS.

Pro Football Focus

For the third straight week, Denver is second to the Niners as graded by PFF; they rank third on both offense and defense, and second on special teams.

The Ravens are graded at 12th overall, with Denver's other remaining opponents all 20th or worse.

Outlook

Oakland is 29th overall (offense 21st, defense 28th) according to Burke, dead-last (26th, 32nd) in SRS, and 26th overall (25th, 24th) by PFF's grading.

Burke's probabilities give Denver a 76% chance of winning tonight, which is a single percentage point behind the Seahawks among the week's heaviest favorites.

The betting public has Denver as a 10.5-point favorite, which is the biggest spread of Week 14.

All signs point to a blowout, although the absence of Wesley Woodyard and return to action of Darren McFadden could mitigate the lopsidedness of the matchup.

But no matter the margin, any Denver win would give the franchise its first 10-win season since having reached that threshold three straight seasons from 2003 to 2005, and they'll be another step closer to having achieved every regular-season goal set for them.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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