STDL: Denver tops ANS efficiency rankings after six weeks

As could be expected, all of the talk today is about how remarkable the Broncos' comeback was. But, how good are the Broncos overall?

How does tops in the league sound?

Yeah, that seems like a bit much to us, but the two teams that had been ahead of Denver in Brian Burke's efficiency rankings (San Francisco and Houston) both got waxed at home in Week 6, by a combined score of 68-27.

Whatever anyone wants to say about Norv Turner and Philip Rivers, and historically rare circumstances aside, the Broncos still went on the road and beat their primary division threat by eleven points.

Advanced NFL Stats

Denver is now tied with San Francisco atop Burke's rankings, with Houston, Chicago, and the Giants tied for a distant third-most efficient. After ranking seventh in both offensive and defensive efficiency after five games, the Broncos are now fourth on offense and third on defense.

Although they rank as the second-worst team in terms of fumbling, they are now average in intercepting passes and taking penalties, and above average in every other category Burke tracks. In passing efficiency, they're tied for third, with Carolina and Cincinnati, and behind Washington and the Giants.

Of the Broncos' ten remaining games, only two of them (Carolina, Baltimore) will be against teams currently ranked better than 20th in overall efficiencyaccording to Burke. All three of their losses have come at the hands of teams in the top 18.

Pro Football Reference

PFR's Simple Rating System ranks Denver eighth overall, just ahead of Atlanta, and one notch better than last week. The Broncos' Strength of Schedule figure has dropped again, to 15th, and is likely to only go lower. They're tied with Houston for seventh in Offensive SRS, and 16th in Defensive SRS.

Only three of Denver's remaining opponents (Baltimore, Carolina, Tampa Bay) are in the top twenty as per SRS.

Pro Football Focus

PFF's grades still place the Broncos at fourth in the league at +117.1, just barely ahead of New England. By unit, they're also fourth on both offense and defense, seventh on special teams, and 22nd in penalties.

As for the remaining schedule, Baltimore (12th), Tampa Bay (13th), and Carolina (14th) rank the highest, while every other opponent is ranked 20th or worse.

Conclusion

Depending upon which metrics you subscribe to, if any, the Broncos are anywhere from the best team (or most efficient), to the eighth best. It's a wide spread.

But all three sites agree that the balance of Denver's schedule is notably weak.

As has become a familiar refrain in Broncos Land this season, if they can just clean up the mistakes a bit, they will be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch.

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

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