Long time lurker, first time poster.
Help me understand this. I must be missing something.
In all the media I'm seeing, the Broncos are described as having a super elite offense; best ever, team for the ages, etc., etc. And of course, they did great in the regular season, Peyton got all kinds of records, and they made it to the Super Bowl. Their defense has even picked it up.
The Seahawks on the other hand, are described as struggling on offense, can't possibly keep up with the Broncos, one dimensional, weak O-line, Wilson is regressing, and the rest. Now I’m even seeing stuff on the over-hyped and ‘suspect’ Seahawks defense in some blogs!
But when I look at the respective records and try to understand the quality of the underlying data and resulting stats, I see the Broncos had a really easy schedule – the 27th hardest in the league. They played three top ten defenses (by scoring) in four games and lost twice. The only top 10 defense they beat was Kansas City (twice). They split with the #11 defense (San Diego). But they did roll up huge numbers on 6 of the bottom 10 defenses (Oakland, Dallas, Jacksonville, Chicago, Green Bay, and Oakland again).
The Seahawks, meanwhile, played the 18th hardest schedule, 7 of the top 10 defenses (4 of those were top 5), and only 4 of the bottom 10 defenses. Their only losses were against the 3, 7, and 9th ranked defenses for a total deficit of 15 points, one point less than the Denver deficit in their losing games in the regular season.
In the playoffs, the Broncos faced the 11th and 10th ranked D's in pretty fair weather. Seattle beat the 4th ranked defense in a monsoon, and the 3rd ranked defense in the cold and wind - and scored about the same number of post-season points as Denver.
So here’s what I don’t get. When playing quality opponents, Denver seems to be a pretty average team – good offense, bottom third defense. The Seahawks, on the other hand, have faced a murderer’s row of really tough teams in the regular season and playoffs. And the Seahawks are the underdogs?
In my business, the quality of data is critical. I understand the need of the NFL and Media to hype Denver, but I’m thinking the Emperor’s clothes are wearing pretty thin. I am so confused.