Denver vs Kansas City: Strength of Schedule

Dec 30 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) hurries Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been made about the Chiefs weak opening schedule and how that means Kansas City is not a “for real” team. While it is true the Chiefs have played a weak schedule – the weakest by some estimates – and there is reason to think the Chiefs are not as good as they have been playing, the same argument may also have to be applied to Denver.

Through six games Kansas City and Denver have five (5!) common opponents. The uncommon opponents, Baltimore and Tennessee, are each 3-3 on the season. This means the winning percentage of the teams the Chiefs have played is the exact same as the Broncos.

Jacksonville, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Oakland, Dallas are the five common teams Denver and Kansas City have played. Here are some things you should know about them.

– Point differential in the five common opponents: Denver +85, Kansas City +79.

– Philly, Oakland and Dallas are a combined 8-4 when eliminating the Chiefs and Broncos from their schedule.

– Point Differentials For Five Opponents Without Chiefs and Broncos Games:

Adjusted Point Differential (Actual Point Differential)

Jacksonville: -86 (-128)
Giants: -64 (-106)
Philadelphia: +29 (-13)
Dallas: +35 (+31)
Oakland: +6 (-27)

– Philadelphia points per game against Chiefs and Broncos: 18 ppg

– Philadelphia points per game against other four opponents: 32.5 ppg

There are two main points to be made here: 1. Denver has played nearly the identical schedule as Kansas City and 2. strength of schedule can be deceiving.

Denver gets the benefit of the doubt because Peyton Manning is their quarterback, he’s won a Super Bowl and been to another, will be a Hall of Famer, and the NFL is a quarterback driven league. What matters to the Chiefs is they have produced, albeit in a different way, a similar level of production as the Broncos through those same games.

We now also know that Denver and Kansas City’s wins over Philadelphia, Dallas, and Oakland may be more valuable than what their records may indicate. Eliminate Denver and Kansas City and things look different for them as a whole. Dallas and Philly look like NFC East division contenders, and Oakland looks like a .500 that might finish 6-10 because they have to play KC and Denver twice.

One can play good teams that have bad records.

Topics: Kansas City Chiefs

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