Even after the Broncos' heart wrenching loss to the Chiefs in Week 10, they are still number five in the NFL, number three in the AFC, and number one in the AFC West according to their record. However, it seems many fans and critics have the opinion that because the Chiefs beat the Broncos by two scores the week after they narrowly lost to the Colts, they should be out of the top 10 in power rankings. I'm here to tell those of you with that opinion to R-E-L-A-X, in the words of the 2014 NFL MVP who the Broncos smothered just two games prior. Here are five reasons the Broncos are still a top five team in my Power Rankings.
1. For the record
Here's the obvious one: the Broncos are 7-2, with wins against the 7-2 Vikings, 6-3 Packers, and a bunch of 4-5 teams that make up 1/3 of the entire NFL right now. Two losses don't mean that we somehow drop below two of the teams we beat. The brilliance we witnessed against the Packers isn't lost. More below.
2. Week 10 was a perfect storm
The Chiefs are a division rival. I will say this for what feels like the 4786239890th time. Never bet on a division game. Especially the second one of the season. Especially when the other team is fresh off of a bye week, and pissed off about how the first game went. Especially when the Broncos are playing without two of our pro-bowl defenders, and one of our pro-bowl wide receivers, and let's just say it - without our pro-bowl quarterback. Manning shouldn't have played at 39 years old with three separate injuries. I'm disappointed that Elway let this happen after he literally went through the same thing in his last season and sat four games because he was 38 and injured. If Manning hadn't played, the Broncos may have won. If Manning hadn't started the second half, they may have come back. And most importantly, if Manning hadn't started, he may not have torn his plantar fascia and forced himself to be out even longer.
3. Dat defense doe
Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr., TJ Ward, Bradley Roby, Shaquil Barrett, and the list goes on. Our defense only allowed 2 touchdowns after the Chiefs were gifted 5 possessions by interceptions. They started at an average field position of their own 48 yard line. Do you know how insane that is? That was without Aqib Talib or DeMarcus Ware! The Broncos are still leading the NFL in yards allowed/game. If defensive scores are negated, they also still lead the NFL in points allowed per game, which leads me to my next point.
4. Has quarterback play mattered so far?
Yes, our situation on quarterback isn't ideal. No matter if you think Manning should be the starter when healthy or you think Brock will be better, the fact is that this season quarterback play and offensive play in general hasn't been the reason the Broncos are leading the division. As long as the Broncos can limit their turnovers, they should be able to continue to win games.
5. Peyton Manning: Coach on (and off) the field
Even if Peyton isn't on the field, he's still helping the Broncos win. Peyton Manning has made himself a legend because of his huge football forehead... errr, I mean, brain. Even if he isn't playing under center, he is still going to help Brock read defenses, and help Rick Dennison and Kubiak make the correct play calls. Brock has been studying under one of the best game managers in history, which makes me more confident that he will play smarter than an average quarterback starting in his first game. Plus it's his birthday on Sunday, so maybe that will give him a little extra fire.
No matter your opinion on Manning this season, remember that we are still lucky to have him helping the Broncos, even if he isn't the one taking snaps. Remember when Kyle Orton got benched and wouldn't even speak to Tim Tebow the whole season? That is a dysfunctional team. Manning is a leader, respected by other players and coaches. He is smart, he is experienced, and he wants the Broncos to succeed. He will do everything he can to help the Broncos win games. That is one thing I am sure of.