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Published on 10/29/2009 at Thu Oct 29 15:04.
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Every week we take a look at the smarter stats that drive the NFL, focusing on the Broncos‘ upcoming matchup. This week it’s the Baltimore Ravens. Enjoy.

(We’re also tweaking the format a bit starting this week to discuss both the Broncos and their opponent.)

Broncos Rush Offense: -4.0% (18th)
Ravens Rush Defense: -18.6% (6th)
Analysis: A lot has been made of the vaunted Ravens recently giving up back-to-back 100-yard rushers for the first time since 2005, but the numbers suggest their rush defense still ranks among the tops in the league. Meanwhile, the Broncos’ ground game isn’t what it used to be. Blame the change in running scheme, blame injuries to Correll Buckhalter, or blame the playcalling, but the ground game isn’t the same. It’s not bad (and again, the Broncos are 6-0, so who’s complaining?), but it’s been one of the few disappointments this season. Unless the bye week gave Denver a rushing game reawakening, the Broncos’ best chances to score points may be through the air.

Broncos Pass Offense: 51.9% (5th)
Ravens Pass Defense: 4.9% (14th)
Analysis: DVOA is all about efficiency — getting the necessary yards to convert first downs while applying bonuses for plays that go beyond the needed yards — and the Kyle Orton-led pass attack has been magnificent in this area. Every week, Josh McDaniels and OC Mike McCoy have been able to find mismatches with a seemingly different weapon on the offense. In Week 6 it was Tony Scheffler. In weeks prior it was Brandon Marshall. Meanwhile, the Ravens pass defense has struggled. The usual sack-happy defense that likes to confuse opponents with multiple looks has been a bit tamed without Rex Ryan, and they have 14.0 sacks on the season (16th in the league). While Ed Reed is dangerous, the Broncos should be able to pick apart the rest of the secondary with good protection, and hell, maybe even focus on Domonique Foxworth a bit.

Ravens Rush Offense: 25.3% (3rd)
Broncos Rush Defense: -27.1% (2nd)
Analysis: Strength vs. strength. Some question whether the Broncos have been tested by a rush offense this potent yet, but the Cowboys came into Denver boasting the league’s top rushing unit, and the Broncos handled them. NT Ronald Fields, who missed Wednesday with a hamstring injury, has been a key part of the team’s turnaround. He returned to practice Thursday.

Ravens Pass Offense: 34.8% (11th)
Broncos Pass Defense: -15.1% (6th)
Analysis: QB Joe Flacco has been putting on a show, and Baltimore is wacko for Flacco. His pass protection has been somewhat of an issue during their three-game slide, and the Ravens hope the return of T Jared Gaither will help them in this area. It’s unclear whether Gaither or Michael Oher will line up at LT (Oher, traditionally the starting RT, filled in the left side in Gaither’s absence), but the Broncos are known to move around Elvis Dumervil anyway. Both should be ready to face the league’s sack-leader, no matter where they line up.

These are two good teams facing off this Sunday. Of all these rankings, only one — the Broncos’ rush offense — ranks in the second half of the league, and then just barely. We’re talking about two solid, complete, well-rounded teams.

  • Broncos4life


    You're so wrong. Denver is averaging 132.7 rush yards a game ranking 7th in the NFL. I don't see how that is ineffective rushing as a team. I think I'll go back to where people know what they're talking about: Mile high baby! Your site sucks!

  • Kyle

    Right. Have fun!

  • robtink242

    whoa whoa whoa this is a quality site. One mistake by your opinion. we ranked 7th because Mr. Bauckhalter has an incredible average. Not because we pound it. Personally i think we can run the ball more often. Another thing you to refer to this site “suck”. You suck buddy

  • McgarnagleDB

    This should be a good game. There's a little bit of fear in the back of my mind since both teams match up well, that this could be the first loss. However that just drives the excitement way up because I love watching this team overcome adversity. They've done it all season long and I'm confident we'll be 7-0 on Monday. Whatever happens I know our D will bring everything they've got. I'm curious to see if our team will continue its streak of dominating in the 2nd half against these Ravens.

  • Kyle

    Appreciate the sentiment robtink, but still, no insulting other commenters. Even those who insult us. Had to edit your comment. ;)


  • Gary_in_SD

    For the record, I think this is a great site and you do a great job Kyle. It's fun, infomative, and unique. It's actually one of my favorite websites on the Internet in general. Especially love the create-a-caption contests… With that said, regardless of the numbers on the Broncos running game, I feel that it is descent but not yet where we want it to be. We can't expect this magic carpet ride that Orton is riding to continue all the way from game 1 through to Miami. There are going to be bumps in the road, especially once cold weather adds itself into the defense lineups of opposing teams. This is one area where improvement is an absolute necessity to improve on and one where improvement can and should happen.

  • Gary_in_SD

    It's amazing that ESPN keeps dogging on the Broncos. Everyone on there that I have heard is picking the Ravens. I mean come on guys, weren't you watching the game that “you” carried on Monday night 11 days ago?… That thought doesn't apply to Tommy Jackson though, who you can tell is loving this as much as the rest of us!

  • Kyle

    This series is about FO, or “smarter stats,” and that reader chose not to take a deeper look and go straight back to base stats. Can't help them all.

    Really appreciate the kind words and all your comments Gary and love doing this for Broncos fans.

  • Kyle

    I tweeted that Tedy Bruschi has picked the Broncos to win twice, the Ravens to win once. I think he'll be right.

  • robtink242

    alright i get the message.