I spoke with Pro Football Focus and Michigan Football Analytics’ Tej Seth to find out on this week’s Cover 2 Broncos.
There’s painfully little time for the Broncos to lick their wounds after a 12th straight loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
In week 14 they host a Detroit Lions team playing better than their record. To get an idea of what’s in store for Vic Fangio and company, I reached out to Pro Football Focus and Michigan Football Analytics’ Tej Seth for this week’s Cover 2 Broncos. A brief rundown of the topics covered is below.
the early returns on picks 5 through 15 of the 2021 draft have been really promising so far:
-chase, waddle and smith all on pace for 1,000+ yards
-sewell and slater might make the pro bowl
-horn and surtain have showed a ton of promise
-parsons is DROY and mac jones is OROY pic.twitter.com/l4Nxi36VN2
— Tej Seth (@tejfbanalytics) December 8, 2021
- Shortly before we met to record, a report that the Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson would consider waiving his no trade clause to join the Broncos in 2022. Seth and I discussed the risks involved that go beyond the 2021 injury.
- While the Lions are 1-10-1, four of their losses came by a combined 9 points. Is this a better team than the record suggests?
- Is this a trap game for the Broncos?
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) December 8, 2021
Lions’ offense vs Broncos’ defense
Hockenson vs. Broncos LBs
Sewell vs. Reed/Chubb
Decker vs. Cooper
Lions iOL vs. Jones, Harris, etc. on Broncos IDL
Fangio vs. Goff
- T.J. Hockenson has 84 targets on the season and there’s no doubt he’s Jared Goff’s top option in the passing game. The Broncos are currently a top 10 team against opposing tight ends by DVOA, but they rank among the 5 worst teams in the league defending the middle of the field. With so many strong DBs, it could still make sense to feed the tight end.
- The Broncos have had issues against teams with the personnel to run the ball between the tackles all season, while 84% of the Lions carries have been between the D gaps this year. With Jamaal Williams quietly good once they get into the open field, will Campbell try to establish the run?
- What will Fangio do against Jared Goff? By Pro Football Reference charting he’s been under pressure on 25.3% of his snaps this season. He has issues diagnosing where to go with the ball once he starts to get hurried and games cause issues for the young offensive line. The Lions’ QB has seen a lot more C3 than the average NFL quarterback. Part of this is because Detroit lacks the boundary weapons to threaten corners 1v1. Broncos typically run less C3 than average, however.
NOTES / Extra Points
- DET plays about 83% of their snaps out of 11 and 12 personnel. Play 11 personnel about two thirds of all snaps. Run the ball 29% of the time out of 11.
Of the remaining 17% of snaps, most came in 21 (run 55% of time). 22 is the only other personnel group that’s been utilized more than 10 snaps.
- 30th by passing
- 22nd rushing
- 6th in variance (consistent)
- 21st by ALY
- 64% power success (14th)
- Stuffs on 18% of runs (21st)
- Top ten team on 2nd and 3rd level.
- 31st off left end
- 2nd off left tackle (17%)
- 23rd mid/guard (50%)
- 14th off right tackle (17%)
- 22nd off right end
The #Lions have the flu bug sweeping around their locker room and as a result six players missed practice today with an illness: QB Jared Goff, OT Penei Sewell, DL Michael Brockers, G Jonah Jackson, DT John Penisini and DE Nick Williams.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 8, 2021
Broncos’ offense vs Lions’ defense
Every WR vs. “Not Amani Oruwariye”
Akim McNeil vs. Lloyd Cushenberry
McNeil and Levi Onwuzurike vs. Broncos interior OL
Alex Anzalone in general
- After a pretty strong start to the season, Bridgewater’s had a couple of stinkers and an injury marred win over the Chargers across his last three games. The Chiefs caused issues by denying the Broncos boundary receivers outside releases and making Teddy hurry his process through games, blitzes, as well as the threat of both. What will Aaron Glenn do?
- Teddy Bridgewater faces more C3 shells than the average QB in part because teams are willing to risk him taking shots against isolated corners. Meanwhile the Lions play more C2 and less C1, 3, and 4 than average in part because of the injury to Jeff Okudah. What they do to try and slow down Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick could have a huge impact on the outcome.
This is the week I’d be worried if Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick have quiet days. pic.twitter.com/APVKiMPRjk
— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 7, 2021
NOTES / Extra Points
- The Broncos play a little less 90% of their snaps out of 11 or 12 personnel. The next most used grouping is 13, but they dabble in 21, and 22 and could use it in this game.
- Broncos have a ton of issues with allowing stuffs, but they’re good in power situations and a top 5 rushing team at the second and third level. If they can get Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon past the LOS they could be running for awhile.
- Detroit plays more C2 than average and less C4, C3, and C1 which may be due to their personnel limitations.
- 28th pass
- 23rd run
- 4th in variance (consistent)
- 26th by ALY
- 65% power success (14th)
- Stuffs on 15% of runs (21st)
- Right around league average defending 2nd level
- 7th vs. open field runs
- – 31st off left end
- 30th off left tackle
- 13th mid/guard
- 26th right tackle
- 12th right end
- 23rd vs WR1s
- 17th vs WR2s
- 17th vs WR3+
- 22nd vs TEs
- 31st vs RBs
- 30th on passes to left
- 21st passes to middle
- 18th on passes to right
- 30th vs deep passes
- 20th vs short passes
- Lions rank 9th in Special teams DVOA. They’re at their best in the return games and have a good punt coverage unit.
- Broncos special teams is a mess: 12 games into 2021 and the Broncos’ special teams are among the worst in football. What’s even more frustrating is that they’ve had huge blunders on every unit. Diontae Spencer’s muff in Kansas City cost the Broncos a touchdown and he’s among the least effective kickoff return men in the NFL. They’ve allowed a field goal block, they’ve given up a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. They’ve been gashed by long punt returns, and they’ve allowed two blocks to get blocked in some fashion. had three punts come painfully close to getting blocked, Once against the Jets, and once against the Cowboys. They’re among the more penalized special teams in the league and it cost them a touchdown in the loss to the Steelers.
Khalif Raymond’s averaging 11.6 yards per return with a long of 48 through 12 games. He has two 20+ yard returns.
What are the odds he makes it three against the Broncos? pic.twitter.com/9GKZBWFzbC
— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 8, 2021
- Detroit and Denver are in a similar boat as to their quarterback room heading towards 2022. What will the Lions do with (presumably) the first pick in the draft? Should they use their second first for a QB? Barring a Wilson or Rodgers trade, what makes sense for the Broncos?
- Does it make sense to trade a ‘22 first to get a second first rounder in 2023?