Last year, the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 with the NFL’s top-ranked defense. In 2016, the Broncos finished fourth in yards and allowed just 18.6 points per game. They ranked first against the pass – allowing just 186 yards through the air per contest.
Yet despite that, Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 secondaries in the NFL this season, and the Broncos were ranked fourth. The Dallas Cowboys (first,) New York Giants (second,) and New England Patriots (third,) finished higher.
It’s hard to dispute what PFF says. They track every single thing and are have the most accurate and reliable data. But something doesn’t sound right. Didn’t the Broncos rank first against the pass?
Also, PFF mentioned the Broncos own the NFL’s top two cornerbacks, who by the way are part of an NFL secondary:
Top-graded NFL CBs:
1. Chris Harris Jr., 91.9
2. Aqib Talib, 90.6
3. Casey Hayward, 88.8
4. Malcolm Butler, 88.7
5. Janoris Jenkins, 88.3 pic.twitter.com/bMPz1u0CQo
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 21, 2016
The Cowboys were 26th against the pass (260 yards/game,) the Giants were 23rd (251/game,) and the Patriots were 12th (238/game). Let’s also take a look at some of the opponents…
Denver played the New Orleans (first in passing offense,) Atlanta Falcons (third,) New England Patriots (fourth,) Indianapolis Colts (fifth,) and San Diego Chargers twice (eighth,) in passing. They also had to play Derek Carr and Cam Newton, by the way.
The Patriots played the San Francisco 49ers (last in passing offense,) Los Angeles Rams (second-last,) Buffalo Bills twice (30th,) Houston Texans (29th,) Cleveland Browns (28th,) New York Jets twice (27th,) Miami Dolphins twice (26th,) and even the Broncos (21st.)
The only top-10 offenses they faced were the Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play,) Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, who both lit up the Patriots secondary.
With all due respect to Pro Football Focus, I think it’s safe to say the Broncos truly have the NFL’s top secondary.