Spreading the Wealth
Here’s the thing about heavy favorites: they rarely prevail in a blowout. Of the 10 largest point spreads in NFL history, the favorites covered just twice.
“No matter how bad the Jaguars are this season, they’re still an NFL team,” Vaccaro says. “You’ve got guys playing for their contract. Plus, once the team gets a big lead, maybe they back off a little bit. You take Manning out of the game.”
I dunno. How many huge underdogs are playing with two backup offensive tackles, a backup QB, and without their receiving tight end? Maybe Jacksonville covers late, but there's no way this is a close game.
Chiefs won't play Broncos in prime time
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that CBS has protected both games between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, meaning neither of those matchups can be flexed into the Sunday night television slot.
The teams, both currently 5-0, will play one another on Nov. 17 in Denver with a scheduled kickoff at 4:05 p.m. ET (3:05 CT) and on Dec. 1 at Arrowhead Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. (noon CT).
It's hard to blame CBS - they've only had the Broncos for two of their games so far, and four out of their remaining eleven games will be on other networks.
What Ails Them, and Maybe a Cure
Due to injuries, the Jaguars haven’t played with all four of their starting defensive backs since Week 1. Which isn’t to say they had a sensational secondary to begin with. Top corner Dwayne Gratz is a third-round rookie. No. 2 corner Alan Ball was a dimeback in Dallas and Houston. Nickelback Will Blackmon was signed right before the season started, which tells you that late-round youngsters Demetrius McCray and Mike Harris aren’t ready for significant playing time. But that’s precisely what McCray and Harris have gotten, thanks to Gratz’s ankle injury and Ball’s groin injury (from which he recently recovered). McCray, with his undeveloped ball awareness, has been particularly vulnerable in one-on-one scenarios on the outside.
I'm sticking with my earlier prediction: Peyton's done early in the second half on Sunday.
In an interesting contrast, Denver and Kansas City this year are each other’s most dissimilar team among all those undefeateds. To put that in some perspective, Denver has allowed more points than Kansas City has scored. The Chiefs have allowed only ten more points all season than Denver did on Sunday. Denver has a historically great passing offense, countered by easily the worst pass defense among the 43 undefeateds since 1990. Kansas City has a passing offense that is better than only the 2003 Panthers at this same point, in net yards per attempt, but in the top 5 in passing defense among undefeateds.
Not to be a broken record, but we'll wait to worry about Denver's defense until after Champ and Von have returned.
Domination In Denver: Efficiency Leaders Through Week 5
Surprise tight ends Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron round out the receiving Top 10. While Thomas has only been targeted 36 times, he’s made the most out of his opportunities, catching 75% of passes and adding over a point to the Broncos offense for every target.
1.04 NEP (net expected points) per target is an insane figure, one only exceeded by that of the Saints' Jimmy Graham (1.05 NEP). On his 27 receptions, Julius has averaged an eye-popping 13.3 yards, and has already scored six times.
It's been ten years since any Broncos tight end has had as many touchdowns in a season - Shannon Sharpe had eight in 2003.
Team Efficiency Rankings: Week 5
Most tellingly, we can see the separation in the top 10 teams, and not simply because 10 is a nice round number highlight shows like to use. Removing the ridiculous outlier that is the Denver Broncos, and all the teams from second-ranked Seattle to 10th-ranked Cincinnati have a GWP somewhere in between 0.67-0.59.
Naturally, Denver remains far ahead of the pack in passing offense and interception avoidance; they're tied for third in rushing success, but are 26th (tie) in avoiding fumbles. This, of course, adds up to a #1 ranking in overall offensive efficiency.
On defense, they're 32nd against the pass, 10th (tied) at stopping the run, and 14th (tied) at intercepting the ball, adding up to a #29 overall defensive efficiency ranking. The team is 21st (tied) in penalty avoidance.
'Raiders fan' strips on Manchester airport tarmac, gets tased
..a man dressed in a Raiders shirt decided not to board his plane at the Manchester airport and instead ventured onto the tarmac, threatened to fight the pilot and took off all his clothes…Upon getting completely naked the man got slapped in the face by his girl, who was, for some reason, wearing Black Converse All-Stars and dress socks.
Not really sure there's anything left to add...
Eagles RB LeSean McCoy confirms he thinks Knowshon Moreno sucks
In his weekly press conference, McCoy was asked about his tweet, “I don’t want to talk about the past,” McCoy said, via CSNPhilly.com. “It is what it is. What I said is what I meant.”
McCoy was then asked if he regretted the tweet.
“No,” he replied.
As John Breech notes, McCoy is probably still stinging from the Eagles' 52-20 loss at Denver, his having been drafted 41 spots after Knowshon in 2009, or both. Perhaps some of this will help ease the pain...
Week 6 N.F.L. Game Probabilities
It has long been suspected that defenses on teams with excellent offenses are underrated by their statistics. Defenses may be strategically trading away yards and points in exchange for time off the clock, increasing their teams’ chances of winning at the expense of their statistical rankings.
So it’s likely that statistical models, like the one I use to estimate weekly game probabilities, do undervalue the defensive strength of teams with top offenses. But the effect isn’t large and won’t often make the difference between favorite and underdog.
Burke's point speaks to Ted's suggestion that the numbers make Denver's defense appear worse than it is. But, I think once Denver gets Champ Bailey back this week, and Von Miller the next, those numbers are going to start to change, and in a very significant manner.
What Makes Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos Offense so Dynamic?
The way I see it, if NFL defenses want to compete versus this offense, then the secondary has to challenge receivers at the line of scrimmage.
I know that sounds too simple, but I’m looking at defenses that will impact the release at the line of scrimmage and win throughout the route stem. Be aggressive on the jam, play with technique, use the safety help and showcase a physical style.
Think about the Chiefs or the Seahawks here, two secondaries that line up in press-man with a single high safety in the middle of the field. They get hands on receivers, re-route the initial release and stay in the back pocket throughout the stem.
Typically, this is an excellent column from Matt Bowen, who breaks down many of the route concepts (and reads by Peyton Manning) the Broncos execute so perfectly. None of it is really new to IAOFM readers, but can there ever really be too much All-22 of PMFM doing his thing? (h/t Ben)