The Stats That Don’t Lie - On a restricted diet

Since I’ve received several requests to revive my Stats That Don’t Lie (STDL) column from my Mile High Report days, I’ve had two thoughts:

1) I wouldn’t be The Dude if I did not abide
2) I would not abide if I wasn’t The Dude

So, I’m gonna do this.  Or as one of the finest poets of his generation, Dee Synder so elegantly wrote, “I Wanna Rock!”

So let the stats flow—quicker, stronger, on HGH, and without an athletic supporter.

You’ll remember from last year, I spent a lot of time ranking every single team in the league.  This time, I’m going to focus on the Broncos.  If the masses would like the AFC West teams or all teams in general, I can do that, but for starters, let’s see how the Broncos ranked in a whole variety of statistics against the NFL average on both offense and defense.

First, let’s go with the offense:

Denver’s Offense - Through Week 3

Team Yards / Game Yards / Play Rushing Yards / Game Rushing Yards / Play Passing Yards / Game Passing Yards / Play Interception Rate Sacks / Pass Attempt
DEN 417 5.93 67 2.48 350 8.4 1.6% 4%
NFL 332.7 5.3 109.2 4.02 223.5 6.65 3.13% 5.92%
Differences 84.3 0.63 -42.2 -1.54 126.5 1.75 -1.53% -1.92%
Team First Downs / Game Punt Return Avg Kickoff Return Avg 3rd Down Pct 4th Down Pct Red Zone Pct Goal to Go% Avg Time of Possession
DEN 22.3 7.9 18.3 48.89% 33.33% 38.46% 66.67% 32:36:00
NFL 18.6 8.8 23.7 38.21% 45.54% 49.28% 71.53% 30:00:00
Differences 3.7 -0.9 -5.4 10.68% -12.21% -10.82% -4.86% 8.67%

This is a lot to take in, but as you’ll recall from last year, I tended to focus in on both 3rd-down efficiency and time of possession as offensive statistics.  These rankings will allow you to take in a plethora, however.

A few things probably stand out to you.  First, as you guess, the rushing attack is paltry.  In a league in which the average yards/rush is 4.02, Denver is averaging 2.48 yards.  This stinks to high heaven.  Second,  the Broncos 4th-down and red-zone conversion percentages are also below the NFL average.  While I’m not so concerned about the 4th downs, I am extremely concerned about that red zone stat.  Still, we are only through 3 weeks. The sample size isn’t huge.  Third, the Broncos’ passing game (as evidenced by yards per play, is doing quite well thus far.  Lastly, the punt and kick returns aren’t exactly tearing it up, thanks to penalties and muffed balls.

Hopefully this new view and additional statistics will allow you to both praise and criticize the Broncos in new and creative ways.

Now let’s take a look at the defense.

Denver’s Defense - Through Week 3

Team Yards / Game Yards / Play Rushing Yards / Game Rushing Yards / Play Passing Yards / Game Passing Yards / Play Interception Rate Sacks / Pass Attempt
DEN 334.3 5.67 94.3 3.72 240 7.27 3.03% 2.02%
NFL 332.7 5.3 109.2 4.02 223.5 6.65 3.13% 5.92%
Differences 1.6 0.37 -14.9 -0.3 16.5 0.62 -0.1% -3.9%
Team First Downs / Game Punt Return Avg Kickoff Return Avg 3rd Down Pct 4th Down Pct Red Zone Pct Goal to Go%
DEN 17.7 16 27.7 45.71% 50% 66.67% 50%
NFL 18.6 8.8 23.7 38.21% 45.54% 49.28% 71.53%
Differences -0.9 7.2 4 7.5% 4.46% 17.39% -21.53%

On defense, we find the same concerns as the offense, only in reverse.  The biggest defensive weaknesses thus far in the early part of the season are stopping teams on 3rd down and in the red zone.  The Broncos kickoff return and punt return teams are not behaving themselves either.  So we are seeing a breakdown in special teams on both sides of the ball.  Bad Broncos. 

Turnovers

Turnovers are often the single biggest reason a team wins or loses, so let’s take a look at how the Broncos stack up through 3 weeks:

  Takeaways     Giveaways      
Team Int Fum Total Int Fum Total Net Diff
Denver 3.00 1.00 4.00 2.00 2.00 4.00 0.00
NFL Average 3.09 2.13 5.22 3.09 2.13 5.22 0.00

Not too much to worry about.  They’ve both taken the ball away and given up the ball less than the NFL average.  Right now they are an even zero in turnover differential.

As I said previously, I think that if the Broncos are going to be a playoff team, they have to do the following:

1) Be better than 40% on offense on 3rd down
2) Hold their opponent to less than 40% on 3rd down
3) Have a positive turnover differential
4) Be at least 50% in the red-zone conversions
5) Hold their opponent to less than 50% in the red zone

What about you?  Anything from this data stand out? Feel free to leave your thoughts below.  And if you either disliked or liked this restricted calorie version of The Stats That Don’t Lie, please let us know that as well.  We are always looking to improve. 

 

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

Agree, disagree, just like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so I can quit my day job.

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