Five Stats to Know: WAS @ DEN


A combination of advanced and standard statistics to keep in mind as Washington faces Denver.

Look, we already know Peyton Manning is good. The best, even. For an in-depth look at just how good, check out this piece by Tom Garrett. But that's hardly the whole story of the Denver Broncos' season. Let's take a look at five statistics to keep in mind as the Redskins prepare to face them at Mile High Stadium:

4: The number of Broncos receivers with positive WPA/G AND above 0.25 EPA/P. By comparison, the Redskins have just one such player: Jordan Reed. That means that Peyton Manning can throw to four different targets (Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas) who improve the Broncos' probability of winning each game AND add at least 0.25 expected points per play they're involved in. Denver has more good receivers than Washington has DeAngelo Halls to cover them.

0.21: The Broncos' defensive pass EPA/P, also understood as the expected points that a defensive gives up on each passing play they face. Just like yards against, the higher defensive EPA, the worse the defense. The Redskins sit at the league average of 0.07 defensive pass EPA/P. That means each passing play against the Broncos produces three times more EPA than league average. Denver is vulnerable through the air, but stout on the ground with a better-than-average -0.12 defensive run EPA/P.

#1: RGIII's week seven performance ranked first among all quarterbacks with 0.92 WPA and 21.1 EPA. Granted, RGIII faced a banged-up Bears team and Manning faced the Colts. Even with the Broncos' dismal pass defense, it's going to be tough for RGIII to best Manning in WPA and EPA two weeks in a row.

18-30: The combined records of Broncos opponents. They've only faced two teams with winning records through week seven, beating Dallas by three points and losing to the Colts by six points. Not that the Redskins have a winning record, mind you.

21-19: The combined records of Redskins opponents. They've faced four teams with winning records through week seven, beating Chicago by four points and losing the other three games by an average of 13.3 points.

The takeaways: The Broncos offense relies heavily on passing plays, but with four reliably good targets, Peyton Manning's game is hardly one-dimensional. Also, Denver's one true weakness is pass defense. Opposing teams have to exploit that to win.

Check out the Advanced NFL Stats glossary for explanations of WPA, EPA, and how they're used.

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