ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Only two teams have put together six-game win streaks in each of the past two seasons – the Broncos and the Patriots.
Last season, the Broncos won in Weeks 9-14, turning a 2-5 record into an AFC West Championship. This year, the team’s current eight-game streak took the club from a 2-3 record to another division title.
The streaks produced the same result, but the way they’ve evolved has been completely different.
In 2011, the Broncos’ average score during the streak was 22.7-17.0, a 5.7-point margin of victory. The streak included a pair of overtime wins and an additional two victories secured with scores in the final minute of regulation. Only once during the 2011 streak did the Broncos win by more than four points, a 38-24 win at Oakland.
This season, the numbers tell a different story. The average score over the current streak has been 30.0-17.9, a 12.1-point margin of victory. Only one game has been decided by seven points or less, a 30-23 win against San Diego in Week 11.
The common denominator in the two streaks has been strong play from the defense. Points allowed per game is virtually identical between the two seasons and opponent’s third-down conversion rate is similar as well (22 pct. in 2012 and 27 pct. in 2011).
While last year’s games could have gone either way, this year’s streak has been much more convincing. In 2011, Broncos were actually outgained by opponents and had to rely on comebacks and last-minute heroics to keep the streak going.
This season, with the exception of the game that started the streak – a historic come-from-behind win at San Diego in Week 6, the Broncos have won comfortably.
Looking back at 2011, the Broncos won the last four games of their streak in the final minute or overtime, overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit in all four. Of the six games in 2011, Denver entered the fourth quarter with an average deficit of 1.3 points. This year, the Broncos have led by a nearly double-digit average entering the final frame.
A win is a win, and both streaks helped the Broncos to AFC West titles, but the way the streaks have come together have been very different.