Saturday, September 11, 2021

Denver Broncos Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Denver Broncos rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 20.8 (21st)
  • Best ranking: 17th (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 26th (ESPN)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Broncos in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 26

Person on the hot seat: Coach Vic Fangio

The third-year coach is respected throughout the league, and defensive coordinators routinely say how much they use what he does in certain matchup situations. His players respect him, but Fangio needs wins. He's 0-for-7 in September with the Broncos, and the team has not been able to recover from those starts. Yes, 2020 cratered with a long list of injuries to some of the team's best players, and the Broncos famously lost all their quarterbacks for a game last season due to COVID-19 protocols, but the roster has been upgraded. With first-year general manager George Paton in firm control, Fangio has to win now. -- Jeff Legwold -- Rank: 26

Teddy Bridgewater won his training camp battle against Drew Lock, and now he gets the opportunity to lead a Broncos offense with top-10 potential if it can get plus play from its quarterback. Even seven years into his career, Bridgewater remains a bankable QB mostly in theory. He couldn't make a believer out of Matt Rhule in Carolina, and triumph in a camp showdown against a future journeyman like Lock doesn't prove much. Skepticism around Bridgewater is warranted, but he has the chance to shut up a lot of people (like me!) over the next few months.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 22

The defense will carry this team, which means Teddy Bridgewater has to just manage the offense without turning it over. Denver will push for a playoff spot.

USA Today -- Rank: 20.8

Despite an arsenal of talented pass catchers, QB Teddy Bridgewater's ascension as Denver's starter could signal a heavy reliance on RBs Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams.

The Athletic -- Rank: 17

Why they're ranked here: The Broncos didn't budge from our pre-training camp rankings, a sign that our voters weren't really swayed by the outcome of the quarterback competition between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. Bridgewater came out on top, but until we see what the offense looks like with him under center, it's hard to get too excited yet about the offensive potential.

One big question: Can the Broncos get off to a hot start? Vic Fangio is 0-for-September since being hired as the Broncos' head coach in 2019, and that 0-7 record in the first month of the season is among the reasons Denver's playoff drought has now spanned five seasons. The Broncos face the Giants, Jaguars and Jets in Weeks 1-3. If the Broncos can't win then, there's a chance Fangio won't make it far into October.

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