STDL: Broncos gone streaking

The Broncos may have struggled to beat the Chiefs last week, but the victory still extended Denver's winning streak to six games - the NFL's longest current one.

Another win tomorrow, over the visiting Bucs, would make for only the fourth win streak of seven or more games in Broncos history. It would also make Denver AFCW champs in consecutive seasons for just the third time ever.

With the Broncos' rivals embroiled in streaks of the losing variety - KC's dropped eight, Oakland four, and San Diego three - the division title is a foregone conclusion. And once that formality is wrapped up with the next Denver win or San Diego loss, the team will be assured to open the playoffs at home.

The big questions will be whether that occurs in the Wild Card or Divisional round, and who Denver will face.

According to Brian Burke's win probability data, the Broncos currently hold a 57% chance of nabbing a first-round bye, with the Texans (82%) getting closer by the week to locking down home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Let's see what the rest of the advanced metrics say about the 2012 Broncos.

Advanced NFL Stats

Denver still resides atop the league according to Burke's efficiency metrics. The team's generic winning probability did slip from 0.76 to 0.74, but the Broncos remain third in offensive efficiency and second in defensive efficiency.

Peyton Manning still has his team ranked atop the league in passing efficiency, and they're tied for seventh in running the ball. On defense, they rank fourth against the pass, and are tied for ninth against the run.

Tampa Bay, this week's opponent, sits at 15th overall in Burke's rankings, the highest of the five teams left on Denver's regular season slate. Baltimore is only 19th despite their 9-2 record, 

Pro Football Reference

PFR's Simple Rating System has Denver ranked fourth, in a tight grouping between Chicago and Houston. They're also fourth in both Offensive and Defensive SRS.

As for future opponents, Baltimore (10th) and Tampa Bay (11th) rank pretty well, while Cleveland (24th), KC (31st), and Oakland (32nd) bring up the rear.

Pro Football Focus

For the second straight week, Denver trails only San Francisco (by a good distance) relative to PFF's grading.

They also remain third on offense, but slipped from first to third on defense, behind the Niners and Texans.

Tampa Bay (11th) and Baltimore (12th) again rank highest among remaining foes, with Cleveland (23rd), Kansas City (24th), Oakland (28th)

Outlook

Burke's probabilities call the Broncos Week 13's heaviest favorites, although it's worth remembering that this is about the likelihood of a Denver victory - not the magnitude of one.

The betting public calls Denver a seven-point favorite, tying them with San Francisco (over St. Louis) for the week's third-largest point spread.

Tampa's pass defense ranks dead last in yardage allowed, and the advanced metrics tell the same story - they're 32nd in pass defense efficiency according to Burke. The Bucs are rank 6th in Offensive SRS, but 20th in Defensive SRS, and PFF says the Bucs have the 20th-best pass rush, and are 19th in coverage.

If all goes according to form tomorrow, we'll soon be talking about the 2012 AFCW Champion Denver Broncos, and looking more closely at the remaining schedules of the AFC's other top teams.

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

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