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Peyton Manning and the Worst Scoring Defenses to Support Teams with 13 or More Wins

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 3:50 PM
Since the NFL expanded to a sixteen-game schedule in 1978, a total of 64 teams have won 13 or more games in a single-season.

During that span, there have been a total of 1,013 individual seasons played by all of the NFL's franchises collectively—making the odds of winning 13 of more games a mere 64 out of 1,013—an unlikely 6.3 percent. If a team is fortunate enough to not fall within the 93.7 percent who fail to win at least 13 games, they're likely backed by a quality defense that prevents opponents from scoring points. That's been the trend decade after decade, regardless of the generation and regardless of the quarterback.

With one exception—Peyton Manning.

Prior to 2013, the NFL provided over one thousand single-season opportunities to win 13 or more games. Of the 62 instances in which teams managed to win 13 or more games, there was a 0 percent success rate for quarterbacks backed by a scoring defense ranked outside of the Top-20.

In the extremely rare instances where a team won 13 or more games with a poorly ranked scoring defense, such deficiencies were compensated for by forcing turnovers at an elite level. If a defense surrendered points at will and failed to force turnovers, there was no way a team would win 13 or more games. Manning provided the lone exception to the rule in 1999 when his Indianapolis Colts went 13-3 despite being backed by a defense that ranked 17th in points allowed and 23rd in forced turnovers.

In 2013, he tooks the quarterback position to another level. The Denver Broncos' 22nd ranked scoring defense was the worst to support a league MVP in NFL history.

They were bad when healthy, but by the time they reached Super Bowl XLVIII, five of their defensive starters were on the injured reserve—including their best defensive player, Von Miller. They started a backup at middle linebacker (Paris Lenon) and Champ Bailey was nowhere close to one hundered percent. In the end, seven of their 11 starting Super Bowl defenders were either backup players, or injured players. It should surprise no one that the Seattle Seahawks feasted upon such incompetence.

When you study the last 34 years of NFL history—it makes the magnitude of Manning's 2013 season all the more impressive.

  • 1 of the 64 teams had a scoring defense ranked outside of the Top-20.
  • 53 of the 64 teams had a scoring defense ranked in the Top-10.
  • 32 of the 64 teams had a scoring defense ranked in the Top-3.
  • Average scoring defense ranking for teams who won 13 or more games in a single season: 5.5625 (5th-6th).


Ranked From First to Worst


  • 2013 Seattle Seahawks (13-3): 1st
  • 2007 Indianapolis Colts (13-3): 1st
  • 2006 Baltimore Ravens (13-3): 1st
  • 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers (15-1): 1st
  • 2003 New England Patriots (14-2): 1st
  • 2001 Chicago Bears (13-3): 1st
  • 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (14-2): 1st
  • 1997 Kansas City Cheifs (13-3): 1st
  • 1996 Green Bay Packers (13-3): 1st
  • 1995 Kansas City Chiefs (13-3): 1st
  • 1990 New York Giants (13-3): 1st
  • 1986 Chicago Bears (14-2): 1st
  • 1985 Chicago Bears (15-1): 1st
  • 1984 San Francisco 49ers (15-1): 1st
  • 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers (14-2): 1st
  • 2011 San Francsico 49ers (13-3): 2nd
  • 2008 Tennessee Titans (13-3): 2nd
  • 2005 Indianapolis Colts (14-2): 2nd
  • 2004 Philadelphia Eagles (13-3): 2nd
  • 2004 New England Patriots (14-2): 2nd
  • 2000 Tennessee Titans (13-3): 2nd
  • 1991 Washington Redskins (14-2): 2nd
  • 1990 San Francisco 49ers (14-2): 2nd
  • 1986 New York Giants (14-2): 2nd
  • 1984 Denver Broncos (13-3): 2nd
  • 1981 San Francsico 49ers (13-3): 2nd
  • 2006 Chicago Bears (13-3): 3rd
  • 2005 Denver Broncos (13-3): 3rd
  • 2001 Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3): 3rd
  • 1997 San Francisco 49ers (13-3): 3rd
  • 1992 San Francisco 49ers (14-2): 3rd
  • 1989 San Francsico 49ers (14-2): 3rd
  • 1987 San Francsico 49ers (13-2): 3rd
  • 2012 Denver Broncos (13-3): 4th
  • 1999 St. Louis Rams (13-3): 4th
  • 1998 Atlanta Falcons (14-2): 4th
  • 2012 Atlanta Falcons (13-3): 5th
  • 2010 Atlanta Falcons (13-3): 5th
  • 1997 Green Bay Packers (13-3): 5th
  • 1992 Dallas Cowboys (13-3): 5th
  • 2007 Green Bay Packers (13-3): 6th
  • 1998 Minnesota Vikings (15-1): 6th
  • 1994 San Francisco 49ers (13-3): 6th
  • 1990 Buffalo Bills (13-3): 6th
  • 2006 San Diego Chargers (14-2): 7th
  • 2005 Seattle Seahawks (13-3): 7th
  • 2001 St. Louis Rams (14-2): 7th
  • 1996 Denver Broncos (13-3): 7th
  • 1984 Miami Dolphins (14-2): 7th
  • 2010 New England Patriots (14-2): 8th
  • 2009 Indianapolis Colts (14-2): 8th
  • 1998 Denver Broncos (14-2): 8th
  • 2009 San Diego Chargers (13-3): 11th
  • 1983 Washington Redskins (14-2): 11th
  • 2011 New Orleans Saints (13-3): 13th
  • 2007 Dallas Cowboys (13-3): 13th
  • 2011 New England Patriots (13-3): 15th
  • 1999 Indianapolis Colts (13-3): 17th
  • 2011 Green Bay Packers (15-1): 19th
  • 2003 Kansas City Chiefs (13-3): 19th
  • 1991 Buffalo Bills (13-3): 19th
  • 2009 New Orleans Saints (13-3): 20th
  • 2013 Denver Broncos (13-3): 22nd


Of the six teams to win 13 or more games and rank outside of the Top-15 in scoring defense, only two failed to force turnovers.

 

  • 2013 Denver Broncos (13-3): 22nd scoring defense -- 15th in forced turnovers
  • 2009 New Orleans Saints (13-3): 20th scoring defense -- 2nd in forced turnovers
  • 2011 Green Bay Packers (15-1): 19th scoring defense -- 1st in forced turnovers
  • 2003 Kansas City Chiefs (13-3): 19th scoring defense -- 4th in forced turnovers
  • 1991 Buffalo Bills (13-3): 19th -- 7th scoring defense in forced turnovers
  • 1999 Indianapolis Colts (13-3): 17th scoring defense -- 27th in forced turnovers

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