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Are the Broncos a Super Bowl Contender?
Posted By Brandon Keller On Nov 9 2012 @ 12:43 pm In Denver Broncos,NFL | 1 Comment
The NFL season can be a lot like losing your V-Card. You wait so long for it to happen, but once you finally get going it seems to end before you can say Denarius Moore. Having said that, we have reached the halfway point of the NFL season, and it seems like just yesterday analysts hypothesized that the Cowboys had declared they are “a team to be reckoned with” on opening night by beating the Giants. A lot has changed in the NFL after eight games, and that is no different for the Broncos. Halfway through the year we have learned:
So if the Broncos win-loss record cannot tell us if they are a true contender, what can? Midway through the season, the Broncos have established themselves as a very balanced team, ranking in the top six in DVOA in both offense and defense, ranking third in offense and sixth in defense (all stats per Football Outsiders . For explanation of DVOA, read here ). Is having a highly rated offense and defense a predictor of postseason success?
I decided to look at all teams who finished in the top ten in DVOA for both offense and defense and see how they did in the postseason since 2003. There turned out to be 25 such teams, but since we are looking for playoff success all teams that did not make the playoffs were eliminated, bringing the total to 20 teams in 9 years.
Top Ten DVOA Offense and Defense and Playoff Results
|Team||Conference Finals||Super Bowl||Super Bowl Winner||2003 Packers||No||No||No||2004 Steelers||Yes||No||No||2004 Patriots||Yes||Yes||Yes||2004 Broncos||No||No||No||2005 Colts||No||No||No||2005 Broncos||Yes||No||No||2005 Steelers||Yes||Yes||Yes||2005 Redskins||No||No||No||2006 Patriots||Yes||No||No||2006 Eagles||No||No||No||2007 Colts||No||No||No||2007 Cowboys||No||No||No||2007 Steelers||No||No||No||2008 Giants||No||No||No||2009 Ravens||No||No||No||2009 Packers||No||No||No||2010 Steelers||Yes||Yes||No||2010 Packers||Yes||Yes||Yes||2011 Steelers||No||No||No||2011 Texans||No||No||No|
Out of those 20 teams, 35% made it to the Conference Finals, 20% made the Super Bowl and 15% (3) won the Super Bowl. If you want to go one step further and limit it to only teams in the top eight in both offense and defense, those percentages improve to 50% making it to the Conference Finals, 33% playing in the Super Bowl and 25% winning the Super Bowl (12 teams total). So although the Broncos win-loss record would not suggest a Super Bowl team, their top ten rank in DVOA in both offense and defense suggest they are.
(Note: The other teams with duel top ten ratings this year are: San Francisco, Green Bay, Houston and the New York Giants. Or, in other terms, the legitimate contenders)
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