The relativity index measures how teams perform in yards/points compared to how other teams have fared against the same opponents. Last week, in my relativity index, I predicted a very close game with the Patriots having an edge due to home field. I also pointed out the Ravens' defense is not that good in 2009, and has become overrated due to past reputation. Finally, the stats predicted that it wouldn't be surprising if the Patriots scored 30 or more points.
Relativity Index for Pats/Ravens. You will be surprised...
Last week, the predictions were pretty accurate. 11-2 overall and 9-3-1 ATS. For the record, I do not expect to continue at this pace, and I think anything over 50% is good when going against Vegas. Nor am I encouraging anyone to place money on games. For those of you who requested, I will be posting the league relativity index later this week, which ranks each team's offense, defense, and overall expectancy based on past results.
Unfortunately the stats are not skewed to favor the Patriots every week. That said, these are just stats, and on any given Sunday anything can happen. This week, the outlook is similar to last week, in that both teams are really close. But the Broncos have the edge due to homefield advantage. The Patriots did not improve much because Buffalo was exposed by Miami last week, and the relativity index expects teams to stay around the same, so a win over the Ravens (as predicted) did not really elevate the Patriots.
When the Patriots have the ball:
The Patriots have scored 21.8 ppg, and tallied 376 ypg. Their opponents have allowed 19.4 ppg and 311.5 ypg against other teams. The Patriots offense has a relativity ranking of 2.4 ppg and 64.5 ypg, 9th in the league.
The Pats offense has yet to kick it into high gear and need to prove they are still elite.
The Broncos have allowed 6.5 ppg and 239.8 ypg. Their opponents have scored 20.4 ppg and tallied 316.8 ypg against other teams. The Broncos defense has a relativity ranking of 13.9 ppg aand 77 ypg, 2nd in the league.
This is an absurdly dominating defense so far, ranked a hair below the Jets, but good for second in the league. These two teams are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.
You may be surprised to see just how dominant the Broncos defense has been against some decent offenses. The Patriots will struggle to score points in this game, especially dealing with the demons at Invesco Field. In order to win the Patriots will absolutely need to capitalize on the red zone opportunities they get. Denver wants to make this a game of field position an rely on their home crowd for some key turnovers. I'm sure Josh McD has studied the Jets' gameplan, and Champ Bailey can do what Darrelle Revis did.
When the Broncos have the ball:
The Broncos are averaging 19.8 ppg and 365 ypg. Their opponents have allowed 23.2 ppg and 370.6 ypg against other teams. The Broncos' offense has a relativity ranking of -3.4 ppg and -5.6 ypg, 21st in the league.
The stats suggest the Broncos do not have a very good offense, but it is far better than the dismal predictions this preseason.
The Patriots are allowing 17.8 ppg and 287.5 ypg. Their opponents are averaging 23.4 ppg 342.3 ypg. The Patriots' defense has a relativity ranking of 5.6 ppg and 54.8 ypg, 4th in the league.
The Patriots defense has been really good against some strong offensive teams.
Look for the Patriots defense to come up big again on Sunday, but like their offense, this game will come down to the red zone. The Broncos will look to make this a game of field position and hope to capitalize on a few big plays, believing their defense will hold the Patriots when it matters.
The Patriots have a relativity index of 7.76
The Broncos have a relativity index of 7.48
My metrics have the Patriots and Broncos each scoring around 15 points.
The Broncos have the home field edge, although the Patriots probably have a much bigger potential than they've shown, while it's hard to imagine the Broncos playing much better. Of course, the Broncos could make a huge statement with a win on Sunday.
As stated above, the Broncos will likely try to make this a slow-moving game, counting on their defense to win the battle of field position. They will challenge Tom Brady to throw into coverage. The Patriots cannot afford to make mistakes in the red zone... and I don't mean just turnovers. They can't afford to drop passes, miss passes, or make penalties in the face of a loud Denver crowd. They need to score at least two touchdowns in order to take this one.
Kyle Orton will be less of a factor than people believe. He is the quarterback of this team due to his game managing skills and safe play. Orton will run the offense and not force the ball into coverage. The Broncos know they can win a battle of short, accurate passes and use their running attack behind a good offensive line.
The Patriots have struggled historically when playing in Denver. In fact, this is a house of horrors. The 2009 team better score at least two touchdowns when in the red zone, or the Broncos will win a close, low-scoring contest. The problem is, the Patriots might not get as many opportunities in the red zone as people think. This isn't 2007 anymore. This game will come down to a few key plays.