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How the Denver Broncos Compare with Every Potential NFC Playoff Team

Adam OdekirkContributor IIDecember 29, 2011

How the Denver Broncos Compare with Every Potential NFC Playoff Team

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    It's well documented how the Denver Broncos stack up and compare with many of their AFC foes, having squared off with them regularly this season.

    An interesting question, though, might be which team in the NFC playoff picture most resembles the style and game plan of the Broncos.

    It seems unlikely at this point that any of these comparisons are in preparation of a potential Super Bowl matchup with Denver, but once in the playoffs, anything can happen. 

    Instead, this is just an examination of who the "sister team" of the Broncos would be in the NFC playoffs this season.

Green Bay Packers

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    During the pre-Tebow portion of the season, the Denver Broncos got a first hand look at how far behind Green Bay they are in terms of team performance.

    Despite making huge strides this season, the makeup of the Packers is one that would be hard for Denver to scheme against.

    Aaron Rodgers and the Packers pass attack is too powerful, and their sheer offensive prowess makes comparisons between the two impossible to make.

    On the defensive side of the ball, Green Bay is far more adept at creating turnovers even though they may give up more points and yardage than Denver along the way.

New Orleans Saints

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    This another instance where the offense in New Orleans, being so artfully run by Drew Brees, is of no comparison whatsoever to Denver.

    The Saints ability to utilize multiple weapons in the passing game while still being dangerous on the ground makes them almost as dangerous on offense as Green Bay.

    Defensively, the Saints are led by Gregg Williams, of whom Denver's new defensive coordinator, Dennis Allen, worked under prior to coming to Denver. Williams defense operates on pressure and is able to gamble more regularly than Denver because they know that mistakes can be covered by their potent offense.

    In Denver, the gambling is not as advisable on defense due to the fact that Denver's offense cannot convert with points nearly as often as New Orleans.

NFC East Champs: Dallas or New York

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    Both Dallas and New York are more balanced on offense than the first two NFC playoff contenders, but since both teams boast quarterbacks who are arguably included in the upper echelon of NFL passers, they tend to pass slightly more than run.

    These teams would like to control the line of scrimmage, but cannot resist trying to utilize their weapons on the outside since they have more dynamic playmakers at those positions that anywhere else. This is a large contrast to Denver offensively. 

    On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants and Cowboys both have fearsome pass rushers like Denver, and that helps ease the pressure on their injury-depleted defensive backfields.

Detroit Lions

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    This is another team that Denver had the displeasure of running into during the season. Detroit's dominance through the air was evident, and it was their ability to score quickly and force the opposition to play from behind that was their strength.

    The connection between Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson is a tough one to match for any team, but especially the Broncos, who have yet to establish and become comfortable with any kind of passing game that even resembles Detroit's. 

    On defense, Detroit preys on teams that are forced to play from behind and pass constantly to pull themselves back into the game. This allows impact players such as Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril to impose their will. 

    Playing with the lead is not a luxury the Broncos defense usually has. 

Atlanta Falcons

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    The Atlanta Falcons are one of the few teams that can boast as dynamic a playmaker on the ground as they do through the air. Despite having All-Pro Michael Turner in the running game, Atlanta has tried to stock the passing attack as well with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.

    The Falcons try to control the game with their rushing game, but prefer to do their scoring and attacking through the air with Jones and White.

    Defensively, the Falcons can be sturdy, but outside of John Abraham, they do not boast many game changers on the defensive side of the ball. 

San Francisco 49ers

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    If there was one team in the NFC playoff picture whose game plan most resembles Denver, it would be the San Francisco 49ers

    Rush first, don't make mistakes on offense and trust in your kicker can lead to a lot of victories, and that is even more evident in San Francisco than it is in Denver. Throw in the fact that both teams are led by products of Urban Meyer collegiate spread offenses, and it's no surprise that they are both working to try and cultivate a more effective NFL passing game.

    These teams both rely heavily on their defense to limit their opponents and keep games in range for the offense of special teams to put the points on the board that might win the game. Both teams have also gotten a huge boost via the draft in the pass rush, with Aldon Smith and Von Miller combining for 25.5 sacks this season.  

    To be fair, San Francisco is better all around at executing this style of play, and it shows in their record. Denver and John Fox might be looking to try and replicate the success that Jim Harbaugh has had with the Niners.

    Only the future will tell whether either of these teams styles are effective in the playoffs. For the moment, though, San Francisco is the only team of the two who is guaranteed to have a chance to try. 

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