So who called that one? Certainly not me- as my fantasy football score this week will attest. Far from dropping bombs on the Broncos, the Jets got one of the most thorough introductions to the No Fly Zone that we’ve enjoyed so far.
And coming up next are the Colts. It’s a weird matchup for both teams because its the first time the first time this matchup hasn’t included one of John Elway, Peyton Manning, or Andrew Luck on the field since 1981. And if you throw in Craig Morton, it’s the first time the franchises have met with neither fielding a true franchise QB since November 10, 1974: Charley Johnson vs Marty Domres. That game was also the very first played between the Broncos and Colts.
The win feels good, and snapping the losing streak feels even better. But were the power rankers impressed?
24. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 30)
Per usual: Note that these are “hope” rankings based on the outcome of the most recent game, not power rankings and certainly not standings.
Nice little bump.
28. Denver Broncos
Last Week's Ranking: 29
Well, for the first time in 10 weeks, the Denver Broncos were able to play a game through their defense. Their tilt against the New York Jets showed what Denver can be when offense and special teams don't ruin the game.
The Broncos defense was still good enough to carry the team into the playoffs. It's been the other phases that have cost Denver. That defense was dominant against the Jets, pitching a shutout and allowing just 100 yards of offense.
Trevor Siemian played smart football, made an occasional big throw and limited his mistakes. This was the formula the Broncos needed in order to win all season.
The Broncos are going to end up with a high draft pick, but no one should be shocked if they're right back in the playoff conversation next year. A lot of key pieces—like a championship-caliber pass rush, top-tier cover men and playmaking receivers—are already in place.
The question is how many of those pieces will still be in place in 2018.
24. Denver Broncos
2017 record: 4-9
Week 14 ranking: No. 27
This season has been a letdown for Denver, but the best thing to come out of it is the emergence of rookie left tackle Garett Bolles. He has played the most snaps of any left tackle this season, and the Broncos are averaging more yards per rush and allowing less pressure than they did last season.
ESPN highlights Garett Bolles for the second week in a row. While he’s getting there, I’m not sure he’s the best thing to come out of this season. Justin Simmons’ emergence as a high-quality full time starter is a step above.
23. Denver Broncos (4-9, LW: 27)
I’m not going to say Vance Joseph saved his job with that win, but it couldn’t have hurt. Finally the Broncos looked like a competent NFL team, and have another winnable game this week at Indianapolis. It’s not too late to get some positive momentum toward 2018.
The plebes at USA Today haven’t updated their power rankings this week. Normally I’d just note it and repost their ranking & commentary from last week, but it was too stupid to include a second time.
27. 4-9 BRONCOS
After eight straight Denver losses, the Broncos' defense delivered on Sunday. Following three quarterback switches, Trevor Siemian did enough against the Jets to stay in the saddle for now. That included a quick start in the first quarter, in which Siemian and the offense took advantage of gracious field position, driving the ball into field-goal range. Siemian then made an absolutely ridiculous back-shoulder throw off the back foot (Jay Cutler style) to Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown. Denver would climb into field-goal range yet again in the opening period, only to see Brandon McManus hook it from 29 yards out to start the second quarter. Well, maybe the botched kick was important -- it confirmed these guys were the Broncos after all, and not imposters.
I want to snark back at that parting shot, but it’s just too accurate to this year’s Broncos team.
26. Denver Broncos (4-9)
Last Week’s Rank: 29
Points in MMQB Power Poll: 80
Highest-Place Vote: 23rd
Lowest-Place Vote: 29th
Last Week’s Result: Win vs. N.Y. Jets, 23-0
Week 15 Opponent: at Indianapolis (Thursday)
Well, they accomplished last week’s challenge of not having two safeties again. So that’s good.
22. Denver Broncos (4-9) | Last Week’s Rank: 31
Either the Broncos haven’t quite given up, or the Jets are truly awful. Maybe both.
Man, that’s a big jump. At least someone’s impressed by a shutout. Whether the team can build on that or not remains to be seen.
Give them credit for breaking the 10-game losing streak. At least they showed up with nothing on the line against the Jets.
8 game losing streak. Man, that’s some quality reporting & analysis from CBS.
#24 Denver Broncos
A 3 spot bump for the shutout victory.
#19 Denver Broncos
25. DENVER (4-9)
Last week: 27
In addition to leading the league in total defense, the Broncos have forced the highest percentage of drives that end without a first down and rank second in net yards and first downs allowed per series.
The Broncos shut out the Jets on Sunday, and may have become the first NFL team to get eliminated from playoff contention on the same day they won a shutout victory. They’re certainly the first since at least the 2003 Jaguars. Unfortunately, tracking of playoff elimination timing gets dodgy when you back before 2005 or so, and I couldn’t nail down the Jag’s elimination date.
The Colts are very beatable, but it’s a road game and the Colts have been a stumbling block to much better Broncos teams in recent history. So it’ll be interesting. After Indy, the Redskins and Chiefs pose a greater challenge but are by no means unbeatable.