The people over at numberFire used their nERD ratings to rank all of the teams in the NFL. The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos were put in eighth overall.
Last year, Manning owned a Passing NEP per drop back (-0.02) that was marginally worse than Johnny Manziel's, so even the messy situation that features Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian, and Paxton Lynch can't be considered an obvious step back. They did lose Brock Osweiler, who played close to, but below, league-average on a per-drop back basis, though.
Still, the pass defense denied nearly 65 points through the air after adjusting for schedule, more than twice as many as the second-ranked Panthers' pass defense eliminated. With the top overall defense, they can withstand another stagnant offense.
These power rankings are likely to see some adjustment after stat geeks realize they vastly underestimated the Broncos defense to start the 2016 season. That 22-0 blanking of the Chicago Bears on Thursday night is their first sign.
Frankly, I like seeing the Broncos ranked near the bottom of the top ten. Gives them one more reason to start the season angry.