Over the years, TJ has presented The Stats That Don't Lie, a weekly glance at the Broncos' standing within the league in several key statistical categories. Going forward, I'm going to be reprising STDL by focusing on a few numbers that evidence a high correlation to winning (or losing) NFL games, and how the Broncos match up in those areas against their upcoming opponent.
We'll start today with Broncos/Packers, which as you might have figured doesn't look pretty in bar graph form. Actually, no figures would look good in my crude charts, but we're working on coming up with something a bit more pleasing to the eye.
First, just a quick explanation for each metric. In each and every case, positive numbers are better than negative:
- ANY/A Differential: This is a marriage of PFR's ANY/A (Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt) and CHFF's Passer Rating Differential. As we all know, passing the football is the most reliable way to win games in the NFL. That's not to say running the ball doesn't work, or that it's impossible to win by setting out to run the ball and stop the run. It's just that ANY/A has the highest correlation to winning of any stat out there. ANY/A Differential is merely one team's (Denver) ANY/A minus the ANY/A they've allowed on defense. In other words, how well Denver passes the ball minus how well they defense the pass.
- TO Differential: Takeaways minus giveaways. Nuff said.
- Net Field Position: This is the Broncos' average starting field position in terms of yards, minus the average starting field position they allow their opponents.
- Strength of Schedule: Doesn't really predict anything, but this is each team's strength of schedule as viewed through the prism of PFR's SRS (Simple Rating System). Especially early on with just three weeks of data, this will help to place the other stats and metrics in the context of the level of competition each team has faced thus far.
- Net Rusher Rating: This is an inbred CHFF metric: their Rusher Rating System and their aforementioned Passer Rating Differential. It's simply the Broncos' Rusher Rating minus the Rusher Rating they've allowed their opponents to post against them.
- Net Penalty Yardage: Opponents' penalty yardage minus Denver's penalty yardage. Again, the bigger the number the better, but again this is more a measure of what's happened than a figure that can predict what will happen going forward. For example, the Broncos' opponents have committed a ridiculous 33 penalties combined - so while the Broncos can do their part in playing disciplined football, there's no telling whether their opponents will do so today or any other week.
There it is, folks. Obviously, things don't look so good for Denver today. Green Bay is better at passing the ball, running the ball, defending the pass and defending the run. They also give themselves better field position to start their drives and allow their opponents lesser field positions, and the Packers also take the ball away more and give it away less than do the Broncos. The only things in Denver's favor according to this week's numbers are that they've been more disciplined than their opponents and according to SRS they've faced tougher competition so far, although my guess is the Saints, Panthers and Bears will end up with a higher SRS than will the Raiders, Bengals and Titans by the end of the year. Just a hunch...