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Can the Broncos Overcome Their Kryptonite?

I made predictions for every playoff game on my old blog just before the playoffs started. These were straight up predictions and I used my own NFL Power Rankings, which are mainly comprised of yardage differential numbers, along with Bill Barnwell’s piece on each team’s kryptonite. I went 8-2 and correctly predicted a Panthers vs Broncos Super Bowl. My only losses involved giving the Houston Texans way too much credit.

The Broncos had several teams in the playoffs that showed up on their kryptonite list. These teams all had ball hawking secondaries that forced turnovers. A bad match-up for Peyton Manning and his limited arm strength. The teams on that kryptonite list included the Chiefs, Bengals, Cardinals and the Panthers. The Broncos managed to avoid all of them so far this postseason but that will end Sunday when they face Josh Norman and company.

The Panthers kryptonite? Only one team showed up on their list and that was the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Broncos beat the Steelers but the one area the Panthers struggle is defending the deep ball. The Steelers with weapons like Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant could have exposed the Panthers. The Broncos don’t beat you deep.

Before the playoffs began, the Broncos were #1 in my power rankings based on yardage differential and schedule. Despite that, I still picked them to lose to the Panthers in the Super Bowl. The point spread? That might be a different story. I will break that down tomorrow.

Here are my complete playoff predictions. These were made on January 6th on my old blog.

Kansas City at Houston

According to Barnwell, the Chiefs weakness is throwing downfield making the Texans their kryptonite. Bad luck for the Chiefs facing their kryptonite team in the first round. In our yardage differential numbers, the Texans are 5 points better on a neutral field. We have covered this theme a bit. We feel the Chiefs are a bit overrated.

Prediction: Texans win

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

The Bengals weakness is the short passing game and their kryptonite team is the Chiefs. Good news, the Chiefs have just been eliminated in our predictions.

The Steelers do not have the Bengals as one of their kryptonite teams and in our yardage differential numbers we have the Steelers 7 points better than the Bengals on a neutral field. Give the Bengals a few points for home field advantage and they still come up short in this one.

Prediction: Steelers win

Seattle at Minnesota

This is a non-kryptonite match-up so we go to the yardage differential numbers and the Seahawks are much better than the Vikings.

Prediction: Seahawks win

Green Bay at Washington

This is another non-krypotnite match-up so we must rely on the yardage differential numbers, This is close. The Packers are 5 points better on a neutral field. The Skins are at home and that usually is worth around 3 points and some people like to say 4 points. Either way, the Skins still fall short.

Prediction: Packers win

Houston at New England

Houston struggles against play action teams, the Patriots aren’t one of those teams. This is another non-kryptonite match-up. The Patriots yardage differential numbers are awful. I addressed this in our Power Rankings post yesterday. Even if you pretend the game with the Dolphins last week didn’t exist, the yardage differential numbers still show the Texans as 8 points better on a neutral field.

Prediction: Texans win

Pittsburgh at Denver

These are the top two teams in our yardage differential power rankings. We have the Broncos one point better than the Steelers on a neutral field. Of course this game will not be on a neutral field, it will be in Denver. It is a non-kryptonite matchup.

Prediction: Broncos win

Seahawks at Panthers

We have our first dispute. In our yardage differential numbers we have the Seahawks much better than the Panthers. However, the Seahawks weakness is defending tight ends making the Panthers their kryptonite teams.Greg Olsen is licking his chops. Since there is a conflict with this prediction, we will side towards the krypotnite theory.

Prediction: Panthers win

Packers at Cardinals

The Cardinals weakness is punt coverage making the Seahawks their weakness. Luckily for them they were just elminated. This is a non-kryptonite match-up so we go to the yardage differential numbers. We have these two teams even on a neutral field but the game will be in Arizona.

Prediction: Cardinals win

Texans at Broncos

Houston’s krypotnite teams are the Cardinals and the Bengals. The Bengals are eliminated and the Cardinals can only be faced in the Super Bowl. However, the Texans aren’t the kryptonite to the Broncos success which means we head to the yardage differential numbers where the Broncos are our #1 team and also playing at home.

Prediction: Broncos win

Cardinals at Panthers

The Cardinals kryptonite team is the Seahawks and if you remember correctly our yardage differential numbers had the Seahawks beating the Panthers. If our numbers hold up and it is the Seahawks in this game the theory says the Seahawks will be returning for their third straight Super Bowl.

However, we are talking Panthers and their only krptonite team is the Steelers who just got sent home by the Broncos. The yardage differential numbers tell us that the Cardinals are two points better than the Panthers on a neutral field. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they will have to play this game in Carolina. The importance of home field advantage rears its ugly head.

Prediction: Panthers win

Denver vs Carolina

Super Bowl 50 matches the two #1 seeds. This seems like a safe bet but it actually rarely happens. The Broncos are our #1 team in the yardage differential rankings but their weakness is giveaways and they have the longest list of any team when it comes to kryponite teams. They have managed to avoid them all until now. The Chiefs, Bengals and Cardinals are all on that Bronco kryptonite list and so are the Carolina Panthers.

Prediction: The Carolina Panthers win Super Bowl 50

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