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Analytics from Week 1 Hint at How Broncos Will Perform at Jaguars

Can these analytics serve as a harbinger of what's to come for the Broncos in Week 2?
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Week 1 of the NFL season sometimes gets overhyped, because people assume too much based on the first game.

This is a word of warning when I discuss Football Outsiders' DVOA and DYAR for the Denver Broncos because it’s based on just one game. Not until later in the season will Football Outsiders adjust its metrics to account for strength of opposition.

Still, there are some things we can observe from Week 1 and ask how they might apply to the Broncos’ Week 2 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

First, Football Outsiders has the Broncos ranked ninth overall at 20.9% DVOA. On one hand, it’s an encouraging number. On the other, it’s based on just one game and doesn’t necessarily reflect how good the Broncos may be.

Case in point: The New Orleans Saints are ranked first at 78.4% DVOA. That number is going to come down, not because the Saints are really a bad team posing as a good one, but because as more games are played, the sample size becomes greater, and adjustments are made that tell you where the team really stands.

Keeping this in mind, let’s look at Football Outsiders' DVOA and DYAR and ask ourselves what to keep an eye on regarding the Week 2  game against the Jaguars.

1. Offensive, Defensive, & Special Teams DVOA

The Broncos are ranked sixth in offense (26.6%), 20th in defense (5.8%), and 14th in special teams (0.2%).

Regarding the offense, it’s encouraging to see that the Broncos moved the ball well on most of their drives. That’s what Broncos fans should hope to see again this coming week, especially because the Jaguars are not as good defensively as the Giants.

As for the defense, one should be careful about jumping to conclusions here. The Broncos' pass rush was very good, even with Bradley Chubb not in the lineup. If Chubb returns for Jacksonville, the pass rush should be even better, and that might take some pressure off the secondary.

Special teams was fine overall against the Giants, barring a long kickoff return followed by a penalty. But the Broncos avoided special teams miscues otherwise. The question is whether the Broncos can keep this up — after all, special teams has a lot to prove and, in particular, coordinator Tom McMahon has to do better with coaching.

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2. DYAR & Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater's first start for the Broncos was pretty good, with the former Minnesota Vikings' first-round pick ranking 11th out of 32 quarterbacks, posting 79 DYAR. That might not sound like a lot, but if Bridgewater averages that for the season, he’ll have 1,343 DYAR — and 1,000 DYAR or better is the mark of a great season for a QB.

Bridgewater had good pocket presence, remained calm under pressure, and found ways to extend plays against a good defensive line. Given that the Jaguars are not as good defensively as the Giants, there’s no reason Bridgewater shouldn’t be able to keep his pace going for another week.

3. DYAR & the Skill Positions

RB Melvin Gordon is ranked fourth in DYAR with 27, but much of that comes from his long touchdown run late in the Giants game. RB Javonte Williams was at -11 DYAR.

For both running backs, they should be able to do better against the Jaguars. In Gordon’s case, we should expect more consistency, rather than one play accounting for the bulk of his performance. As for Williams, the hope would be that he breaks off a big run against the Jaguars.

Among wide receivers, Tim Patrick was the best in DYAR at 28, ranked 19th out of 79 players. Jerry Jeudy had 16 DYAR, KJ Hamler had 15, while Courtland Sutton had -13.

With Jeudy out for a while, more will be expected of Sutton, so one should expect him to do better against the Jaguars. Hamler, meanwhile, could have been higher in DYAR were it not for a key dropped pass. The expectation is, if Hamler gets open downfield against the Jaguars, he'll capitalize this time.

Noah Fant had just 4 DYAR and ranked 23rd among 50 tight ends, but he drew plenty of attention from Bridgewater against the Giants. He could be another player expected to take a bigger role with Jeudy out.


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