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chiefStats: Five stats that could determine the Chiefs’ game against Broncos

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The Denver Broncos defense is no longer what it once was.

Here we are for another installment of chiefStats — the place where I toss a few stats into the wind before the Chiefs’ upcoming game. I’m hopeful this article can work its way into many Chiefs fan’s pregame rituals.

Last week we talked about the 49ers having issues protecting Jimmy Garoppolo and it came to be a reality with the Chiefs accumulating four sacks over the course of the game.

Now our focus turns towards the Broncos, and below are five topics which may alter the outcome of the game:


1. No fly zone

The Broncos defense has been crumbling over the past two seasons. What was once known as the “No Fly Zone” is now offering discounted frequent flier miles.

Note, the numbers in the parentheses are ranks:

Broncos Pass Defense 2015-2018

Year Pass Y/A (rank) QB Rating Points Allowed
Year Pass Y/A (rank) QB Rating Points Allowed
2015 6.2(1) 78.8(4) 18.5(4)
2016 5.8(1) 69.7(1) 18.6(4)
2017 6.9(14) 91.9(20) 23.9(22)
2018 8.2(26) 102.2(23) 23.3(16)

After the departure of Wade Phillips the Broncos defense has not been the same. So when Chris Harris Jr. says the following...

Patrick Mahomes hasn’t seen a defense like us.”

...I don’t really buy into it.

Each quarterback the Broncos have faced in 2018 has had a passer rating over 90. That list of quarterbacks includes Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, and Joe Flacco.

Furthermore, Carr went off against the Broncos when compared to how he has played against other teams so far this season.

So whatever it was the Broncos showed Carr, he must have really liked it. With the Broncos giving up big numbers to the likes of Flacco and Carr, I’m guessing Mahomes is going to like what the Broncos show him too.

2. A small streak

It’s only a five-game sample, but the Chiefs have had their way with the Broncos in their past five matchups:

If Andy Reid was able to scheme 30 points a game against the Broncos during this time frame with Alex Smith, then I’m pretty curious what Reid will be able to do with Patrick Mahomes slinging the ball all over the field.

We’re only two points into this article and all signs are pointing to the Chiefs putting a good chunk of points on the board.

3. Average to below average

Every week, while building these articles, I do research to see what strengths or weaknesses a team may have.

While looking at the Broncos, I noticed their stats were chock full of average to below average rankings. The following list are stats in which the Broncos are either average, or below average.

Broncos are average and boring

Stat Rank
Stat Rank
Points Scored 20
Yards Gained 12
Turnovers Lost 20
First Downs 16
Passing Yards 16
Passing TDs 22
INT thrown 27
Passing NY/A 15
Drive Score% 23
Points Allowed 16
Yards Allowed 13
Turnovers Forced 18
Pass Yards Allowed 21
Pass TDs Allowed 14
INT Forced 16
Defensive NY/A 22
Defensive Score% Allowed 18

So what we’re getting here is a whole steaming pile of “unimpressiveness.”

The Broncos can talk and talk and talk all they want, but I see this team for what they currently are — average to below average.

4. Running game

Aha! We found something the Broncos are good at — the run game.

The Broncos are fifth in the NFL while averaging 5.2 yards per rushing attempt. I checked to see if the Broncos rushing yard numbers were due to poor competition, and that could be the case.

The Broncos have faced the Raiders (5.1 Y/A allowed - 28th), the Seahawks (5.1 Y/A allowed - 28th), and the Ravens (4.2 Y/A allowed - 16th) so far in 2018. Each of these teams, as you can see, has not done a great job stopping the run.

However, it’s important to note the Chiefs are allowing 5.2 yards per rush, and the Broncos may have success running against yet another bad run defense.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos have been allowing 3.3 yards per rushing attempt, which is good for second in the NFL.

When you look closer at the Broncos opponents, the Raiders are 26th in the NFL with 3.6 Y/A, the Seahawks are 30th in the NFL with 3.3 Y/A, and the Ravens are 31st in the NFL with 3.1 Y/A.

Long story short, the Broncos run defense may look good because they haven’t faced a quality rushing team yet. We’ll know more on Sunday, but I’m hopeful Kareem Hunt can pick up his numbers in Denver.

5. Miller vs Schwartz

This one will be brief, but there was a reason the Chiefs signed Mitchell Schwartz from Cleveland after seeing how he played against Von Miller.

I always enjoy this “game within the game” when the Chiefs play the Broncos. Here’s to Schwartz having another solid outing against Miller, where Miller doesn’t receive a single sack.


That ends it for this week against the Broncos, what are your key stats/topics for the upcoming game?