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NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Adjusting to the Broncos’ world of suck

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So we know the Denver Broncos are not a playoff contender. There’s still plenty to watch for.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos
Lindsay had one carry in the second half.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

My original plan was to reflect on the predictions I made about the games this weekend. I was hanging out in a coffee shop Saturday and three coffees in thought it may be fun to laugh at why I don’t gamble in Vegas.

They say Man plans so God can laugh. After the Broncos’ defense collapsed and blew a 17-3 lead, we’re veering a little bit.

The 2019 Denver Broncos are not a good football team. This isn’t a controversial point to make. Even before Jacksonville shredded them, Elway had a 44.1% chance at drafting in the top five next year. Now the Broncos have a 6.8% chance at the first pick in the draft.

So, Broncos Country now has a few options in front of them:

1. Continue to root for victory and rage about every single defeat.

2. Start calling for Elway, Fangio, Scangarello, et al. to be fired.

3. Call for the tear down, including trades of Von Miller, Emmanuel Sanders, Derek Wolfe, Chris Harris...basically every player left on the roster who helped Peyton Manning finish his career with a Lombardi trophy.

There’s a fourth option, which may be the most painful, if only because it’s pretty nuanced: accept where this team currently resides and enjoy the positive individual performances on an otherwise bad football team.

Ian St. Clair already touched on all five of the players above in his winners/losers post this week, but let me just say that Sutton has been my favorite player to watch this year. It’s been a joy to see him grow from last year to now and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.

E is ballin’ after what could have been a career ending injury last December. Justin Simmons has taken to Vic Fangio’s defense like a fish to water, and his range has been one of the few really nice things on the backend. Dalton Risner was thrown into the fire as a rookie second rounder and has quickly become one of the core players of the offense. Von Miller remains one of the best defensive players in football.

There’s a lot to like about this year’s roster, even if they aren’t winning games. So the fourth path is the one I plan to take. That means extra focus on next year’s draft and zeroing in on the core players who will be a part of the next contending team.

In the meantime, this week’s Power Rankings is a quick look at alternate teams to “root” for if you need a team to help you pass this lost 2019. As always, I rank them by how likely they look to winning Super Bowl LIV.

The World of Suck.

32. Miami Dolphins (0-4)

Reason to root: You’re a masochist.

31. Cincinnati Bengas (0-4)

Reason to root: You love redheads.

30. New York Jets (0-3)

Reason to root: You still think Gase, not Peyton Manning, is responsible for 2013.

29. Washington (0-4)

Reason to root: Dan Snyder seems like a good dude, Case Keenum got scapegoated, McVay and Shanny owe their success to Jay Gruden, and you’re mad the libs still won’t write out this team’s mascot.

28. Denver Broncos (0-4)

Reason to root: You bleed orange and blue. No team can distract you from your laser focus. Nothing comes close. It’s an addiction at this point, and even if you could figure out how to quit, you don’t think you’d want to.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)

Reason to root: Misery loves company and the Steelers have one of the biggest fan bases in the league. The blame game is fun and Kevin Colbert makes it far easier than John Elway does with his trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick after Ben Roethlisberger is done for the year.

26. Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1)

Just for giggles, was way too proud of this one:

Reason to root: It’s time for an Air Raid revolution in the NFL and Vance Joseph wasn’t that bad (and you can say that last part with a straight face).

Sort of compelling if you squint.

25. New York Giants (2-2)

Reason to root: You didn’t get why people laughed at Saquon Barkley at two in 2018, and you loved Daniel Jones at six this year. OBJ was 90% of the problem and you can’t wait for Dave Gettleman to get the last laugh.

24. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)

Reason to root: You’re convinced Matt Ryan is a top 10 quarterback and want to spend this year punishing yourself figuring out how Dan Quinn can’t win.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)

Reason to root: You’re all about the mustache rides.

22. Tennessee Titans (2-2)

Reason to root: You believe taking 17 sacks is better than throwing one interception.

21. Indianapolis Colts (2-2)

Reason to root: Watching Luck miss out on a Super Bowl because he retired gives you some sort of validation.

20. Oakland Raiders (2-2)

Reason to root: You actually hate Broncos Country.

Interesting, if nothing else.

19. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

Reason to root: Overrated quarterbacks behind patchwork offensive lines are kind of your thing.

18. Carolina Panthers (2-2)

Reason to root: You dreamed of Christian McCaffrey in orange and blue back in 2017, you had Brian Burns as ED1 this year, and you sort of feel bad for what’s happened to Cam Newton since February 7th, 2016.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)

Reason to root: Who doesn’t love crab legs?

16. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)

Reason to root: You’d throw Philip Rivers in the Hall before Eli, but know the media and QBWinz crowd don’t agree. After all, you can’t write about NFL history without Manning (and David Tyree, and Justin Tucker, and Plaxico Burress, and Osi Umenyiora, but still).

15. Chicago Bears (3-1)

Reason to root: The 2015 Broncos team was your favorite Manning season, and watching the 2016 version carry Trevor Siemian didn’t turn you off of bad quarterback play.

14. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Reason to root: You’re from Wyoming or upstate New York.

Contenders.

13. Detroit Lions (2-1-1)

Reason to root: Watching the Broncos get screwed by zebras doesn’t hurt enough.

12. Houston Texans (2-2)

Reason to root:

11. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)

Reason to root: Remember Wink Martindale? He still runs one of the more creative defenses in the league and two straight losses means you can hop on the Lamar Jackson wagon without looking like a tool.

10. Cleveland Browns (2-2)

Reason to root: You had dreams about Baker Mayfield sliding to five last year, Rex Ryan is overrated, and you’re a dog person.

9. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

Reason to root: You miss Wade Phillips, love the Scangarello offense, and wish Von Miller was a game-destroying Hall of Fame defensive tackle.

8. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)

Reason to root: Troy Aikman doesn’t make your ears bleed. You love BBQ, the 90’s, and no amount of recent history will convince you that Jason Garrett is going to break your heart.

7. Seattle Seahawks (3-1)

Reason to root: The run needs to be established, nerds be damned.

6. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)

Reason to root: Your brother is an Iggles fan. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

5. Green Bay Packers (3-1)

Reason to root: You love the Scangarello offense and wish it was paired with an aggressive defensive scheme. Aaron Rodgers still has enough magic left in him that you can get Patty Melt vibes without the icky feeling of pulling for another AFC West team.

4. San Francisco 49ers (3-0)

Reason to root: You’re still mad Elway hired Vance Joseph over Kyle Shanahan.

3. New Orleans Saints (3-1)

Reason to root: You had Teddy Bridgewater as QB1 back in 2014.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

Reason to root: Patrick Mahomes is on your fantasy team and you won’t be able to root for him once the Broncos are playoff contenders.

Laughing at the mortals.

1. New England Patriots (4-0)

Reason to root: You love the Yankees, Alabama, Golden State, AND Lebron James. You’re a front runner who has been secretly pulling for Belicheat for years and welcome this opportunity to grab a torn up grey hoodie from Goodwill.