September 30 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) and executive vice president of football operations John Elway talk near the end of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 37-6. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

This Team Is Not Your 2011 Denver Broncos

Four games into the 2012 season, I decided to take a statistical look at this year’s team (53rd team in Bronco history) compared to last year’s exciting team which was lead to the Divisional Playoffs by Tim Tebow.

Above all else, Broncos fans want to see their team consistently win, but there comes a time as you look at long term goals, that you have to realize not only is winning important, but how you win also plays into the equation.  Although the 2011 season was exciting and generated memories that will last a lifetime, if you’re being realistic, you have to admit the 2011 Broncos were not a championship caliber team.  This was never more evident than in the last game of the season when they faced the New England Patriots and were manhandled in every phase of the game.  Today, the Broncos have an opportunity to show the league if they’ve improved their team enough to compete with the elite teams in the league.

Below are the major statistics I compiled through four games to compare the 2011 Broncos to the 2012 Broncos.  The positive analysis of this data shows that the Broncos have improved in each of the categories from last year.  Unfortunately, the most important stat is the number of wins, and this year’s team only has one more win at this point in the season than last year’s team.  That being said, the Broncos did have a chance to win both games they have lost this season.  Take away very poor starts against Atlanta and Houston, and these stats would be much improved.

2011 2012 Difference
Rushing Yards 347 436 89
Passing Yards 896 1112 216
Rushing Yards   allowed 411 350 -61
Passing Yards   allowed 1100 882 -218
Turnover   Ratio -6 -4 2
Points 81 114 33
Points   allowed 111 83 -28
Wins 1 2 1
Losses 3 2 -1

A category you cannot measure is hope and confidence.  Whether it is the offensive and defensive upgrades made in the offseason, the changes in the coaching staff, or high expectations that resurface with every new season; this team, in my opinion, is much better equipped to perform better than the 2011 Broncos!

Statistics help analyze and opinions are interesting, but ultimately it comes down to the performance of the team each time they face another team.  Today, the Broncos have a huge obstacle ahead of them when they face the Patriots, but it is a great litmus test for this team as they enter the second-quarter of the season.

Good luck to Team 53 – Broncos Country is behind you!

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