Friday, September 8, 2023

Denver Broncos Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Denver Broncos in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 21

On the hot seat: QB Russell Wilson

The Broncos traded three starters and five draft picks -- including two first-rounders and two seconds -- to acquire Wilson. They quickly signed him to a $245 million extension, and then he had his worst pro season. The Broncos were the lowest-scoring team in the league. Wilson has to be much better, and the Broncos have to do their part to make him better. Can they protect him? Will he get the ball out of his hands quicker like Sean Payton wants him to? Because if 2023 looks anything like last season offensively for the Broncos, there won't be an easy solution. -- Jeff Legwold -- Rank: 20

We can slice and dice the roster any way we want, but let's be honest: This season boils down to what Sean Payton and Russell Wilson do. Payton was out of the game for a year, but his offenses ranked in the top 10 in points and yards 11 times during his run in New Orleans. Wilson was on a sure-fire Hall of Fame track, a singular playmaker for a decade in Seattle before the bottom dropped out in 2022. Will this pairing work? How Wilson fares this season will go a long way toward determining his future in Denver. But it's not just Payton helping him out. I highly recommend the recent feature by colleague James Palmer, which lays out just how important a role new quarterbacks coach Davis Webb -- only months removed from his playing career -- might play in a potential Wilson rebound.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 23

The big issue here is whether Sean Payton can fix Russell Wilson. If he can't, he just might turn to Jarrett Stidham at some point. Crazy? Maybe.

USA Today -- Rank: 19

Not a great training camp with new HC Sean Payton finding the bulletin board, WR Tim Patrick finding injured reserve (again), and WR Jerry Jeudy finding himself with a bum hamstring.

The Athletic -- Rank: 23

Best-case scenario: Russell Wilson's 2022 looks like a fever dream in retrospect as Sean Payton proves himself right about last year's Broncos coaching job. Wilson regains his playmaking ability as Jerry Jeudy emerges as a true No. 1 and rookie Marvin Mims Jr. dazzles in a big-play role, but the offense hums around Javonte Williams turning into Payton's Alvin Kamara prototype. Pat Surtain II earns the reputation he deserves as the best cornerback in football, and free-agent addition Zach Allen breaks out of the anonymous Arizona shell to earn Pro Bowl status. Payton and Russell Wilson deliver an upset win in the wild-card round before falling to the Chiefs for a third time this season.

Worst-case scenario: Wilson is fully cooked, and Payton gives the job to Jarrett Stidham in Week 6. The money spent in service of upgrading the offensive line proves poorly utilized as Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey disappoint. The defense takes a step back without Ejiro Evero in charge, and the Broncos finish last place in the division but not in range to draft Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. Payton has trouble sleeping all season because of the mysterious late-night calls and voicemails of cackling from a New Jersey Zip Code.

FOX -- Rank: 21

The roster looked good on paper last summer and the Broncos turned in one of the ugliest seasons in NFL history. Even with Sean Payton calling the shots, seeing is believing for these guys. The top priority has to be determining if Russell Wilson still has gas in the tank. If Payton can't get usable football out of the $240 million man, nothing else is even relevant.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 24

We don't know the answer to whether Russell Wilson is back after the preseason. The Broncos' starting offense was up and down in its preseason reps. It doesn't help that Tim Patrick is out for the season and Jerry Jeudy is already dealing with a hamstring injury. Denver is a mystery heading into Week 1.

PFT -- Rank: 23

It's not where you start, it's where you finish. With Sean Payton, they have a chance to finish much higher.

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