As we head into the holiday season it seems it is not yet the time of the year when defenses are yet taken as paramount to success in the National Football League. From a simple measurement of points allowed, the three teams that have given up the most heading into tenth week action are the Detroit Lions, New York Jets and Houston Texans.
No one is arguing that trio are among the worst teams in football.
But what about the three teams that have allowed the fewest points this season?
They are the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.
Even with their surprise loss last week to the Jacksonville Jaguars, few would argue that the Bills have not emerged as one of the best teams in the league. But the Broncos or Saints, not on most people’s radar.
After opening with three wins the Broncos dropped four games in a row before moving back into contention in the AFC West Division with victories the past two weeks over Washington and the Dallas Cowboys. All four teams in the AFC West now have five wins, while the Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs have lost four and the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders have three losses.
That’s right, the Broncos have allowed fewer points than 30 other teams even though they have played one more game than half the league. They have their bye week after this Sunday’s contest against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Saints are playing their first season in nearly two decades without Drew Brees leading their offense, and his replacement this season, Jameis Winston, was lost for the season two weeks ago to a knee injury. Without Brees, who retired five years before he will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Winston, the Saints got clipped at home last Sunday by the Atlanta Falcons, 27-25.
Still, New Orleans has a defense that will keep them in most games and could give the Tennessee Titans, winners of five straight games since their upset loss to the New York Jets last month, all they can handle this week in Nashville.
But how about those Broncos?
They were double-digit underdogs in Dallas last week and bolted to a 30-0 lead before the Cowboys scored two late touchdowns. The game marked the first Cowboys point spread loss of the season and ended a six game win streak for Jerry Jones’ squad since their narrow two-point loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener.
This week, the Broncos are favored by less than a field goal, 2½ points against the Eagles.
Interesting to point out that another AFC West team, the Kansas City Chiefs, are favored on the road against a team that has the same number of wins as Denver and is playing a team with a better record than the Eagles, the Raiders.
Because the public loves offense, they are attracted to Patrick Mahomes and company like a moth to a light on a dark night. The Chiefs still get credit for having an explosive attack even though they have given up the fifth most points in the league this season while scoring six less points than the 227 they have allowed.
Reputation built on back-to-back Super Bowl appearances are still swaying bettors to back a team that only twice this season has beaten the point spread. Kansas City is 2-7 against the spread coming into their game at the Raiders this week.
And the Broncos, like Rodney Dangerfield used to complain, they get no respect. Even with a solid defense and a winning point spread record and a convincing victory last Sunday in Dallas, they are only favored by 2½ points over an Eagles squad that was beaten at home last week by another AFC West squad, the Chargers.
I suggest you get on the Broncos bandwagon before the crowd.
Qoxhi Picks: Denver Broncos (-2½) over Philadelphia Eagles