STDL: Week 10 - Broncos at Chiefs

Welcome to the Week 10 Edition of The Stats That Don't Lie. Let's be blunt, here. This is one of those games that nobody outside of Broncos and Chiefs fans want to watch (Gators?). Denver and Kansas City rank 30th and 31st according to Brian Burke's efficiency numbers, respectively, ahead of only the winless Colts.

I'd like to make a point about these metrics (and any stats) - the goal here isn't to predict what's going to happen in any given game (win/lose/magnitude), because no set of numbers can do that - rather, it's just some commentary on what's likely to happen based upon past performance. These numbers are a guide to show you how efficient teams are in the various phases of the game, and of course a team can break out of a pattern of ineptitude or suddenly fail in a phase they've thrived in at any moment. Just because the Broncos don't fare well in turnover differential overall doesn't mean they can't win that battle on any given Sunday (like last week).

As always, an explanation of the figures:

  1. ANY/A Differential: This is a marriage of PFR's ANY/A (Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt) and CHFF's Passer Rating Differential. ANY/A takes the all-important Yards Per Attempt and adds touchdowns and interceptions into the mix to provide a clearer picture of a passing game's impact. ANY/A has the highest correlation to winning of any NFL stat or metric. ANY/A Differential is simply a team's ANY/A minus the ANY/A they've allowed on defense. In other words, how well Denver passes the ball (not well) minus how well they defense the pass (not well).
  2. ARY/A Differential: The younger sibling of ANY/A Differential (by a week), this is a team's efficiency rushing the football minus the efficiency of their defense in stopping the run, and it factors touchdowns in to provide a better measure than a simple Yards Per Attempt stat.
  3. TO Differential: Takeaways minus giveaways. If you need help with this one, you must be a Raiders fan and probably refer to this as a ratio.
  4. Net Field Position: This is a team's average starting field position in terms of yards, minus the average starting field position they allow their opponents.
  5. Strength of Schedule: This is each team's strength of schedule as viewed through the prism of PFR's SRS (Simple Rating System).

Again, these are two poor teams. Sunday helped Denver's cause, especially thanks to the two TD passes, but 113 net yards on 23 dropbacks is just not good, any way you cut it. Fortunately for Denver, the Chiefs aren't much better at passing the ball (4.97 ANY/A) than is Denver ((4.66), and KC is also quite bad at defending the pass. 

The Broncos' running game is far more efficient than the Chiefs' is, and obviously the Oakland game provided a boost to that number (from 4.88 ARY/A to 5.54). Denver is also better at defending the run than KC is. This phase of the game is a major advantage for the Broncos, Zone Read or not, and it could even be enough to drive a Denver victory.

As always, the Broncos are facing a team with a better turnover differential, and in this instance it's because the KC defense takes it away more than Denver's D (15 to 11). Both teams have turned it over 16 times this season.

Denver also fares better in terms of field position, both on offense and defense, and the Broncos have played a tougher schedule according to PFR's Simple Rating System.

All in all, this is a pretty even matchup, and it's frankly quite difficult to find a reason to lean heavily towards either team.

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

Stats That Don't Lie