It is that time of the year again. The NFL season kicks off tomorrow night and we are getting our week one power rankings released. Now, these rankings do not mean much of anything in the grand scheme of things, but for conversational sake, let us talk about them.
The Broncos enter the season as a bit of a mystery. New coach, Russell Wilson under center, first-time coaches all over the board, and in a rather tough AFC West. So, entering the season, some are high on the Broncos while others are cautiously optimistic or even pessimistic about them. As you can tell below, there are wide-ranging opinions on the Broncos as they head into week one.
Yahoo’s Frank Schwab - 11th
The Broncos didn’t play any starters in the preseason and had some rough moments, which caused a freakout with some of the fanbase. The Broncos will be fine. But if Denver starts slow in its opener at Seattle, new coach Nathaniel Hackett will be answering a lot of questions about his preseason strategy.
NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus - 8th
Will the Broncos let Russ cook?: Russell Wilson now stands as the centerpiece of the Denver Broncos. Consider the $245 million contract extension signed last week as the final hint you (hopefully) did not need. My question is whether Wilson — flush with both cash and organizational juice — will air it out with more frequency than we saw for most of his Seattle run. Pete Carroll’s stubborn reliance on running the football didn’t always sit well with Wilson, and there’s logic to the idea of Wilson’s offensive philosophies having more traction with new Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett. That said, a Denver running game led by Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon has serious potential. This is an offense where balance makes sense.
The Athletic’s Bo Wulf - 12th
The good news: Entering Year 11, Russell Wilson has only had one season with a losing record.
The bad news: That one losing season was last year, when he also missed games for the first time. The Broncos are counting on that being a blip rather than a sign of things to come.
Nugget to remember: Of the 10 teams with new head coaches this season, the Broncos are the only one to pair a first-time head coach with first-time coordinators on both sides of the ball. Maybe this is Wilson’s team more than it is Nathaniel Hackett’s, but it might be reasonable to expect some growing pains.
Bleacher Report - 9th
You may not have heard, but the Denver Broncos have a new quarterback.
In Russell Wilson, the Broncos hope to have added the final piece in the playoff puzzle—the best quarterback the team has had since Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset after winning Super Bowl 50.
The Broncos certainly believe in Wilson, as evidenced by the five-year, $245 million extension the team just gave the 33-year-old. Wilson has already made a believer of his receivers as well, with Courtland Sutton remarking that he and Jerry Jeudy are ready to start running the patented Russell Wilson scramble deal in games that count.
“We know to be where we’re supposed to be on our routes because he expects us to be in the right place,” Sutton said to reporters. “And we know if it breaks down, we have to help him, be there for him, get to a spot where he can get us the ball. Because we know he isn’t going to believe a play is ever over in those situations.”
In Sutton and Jeudy and running backs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III, Wilson has no shortage of weapons at his disposal. But Davenport thinks the Denver defense will be every bit as important if the Broncos are going to make it back to the playoffs.
“In cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Patrick Surtain II and veteran safeties Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons, the Broncos may well have the best secondary in the AFC West,” he said.
“That’s most assuredly going to matter in a division that is loaded with big-name receivers and star quarterbacks. To win the West, you’re going to have to win shootouts. And to win shootouts, you need to make a timely stop here and there.”
ESPN - 12th
Luckily for the Broncos, the guy who faces the most heat this season is the guy most equipped to handle it. The locker room, the city, the state and the region expect Wilson can take the Broncos where Peyton Manning did. Wilson embraces pressure, but the Broncos acquired him in a franchise-changing trade. A slow start for him or a first-year coaching staff would certainly bring about grumbling from the team’s faithful — as there was in 2012, when Manning opened his first season with the team 2-3. But the Broncos didn’t lose for the remainder of that regular season. Wilson has met expectations so far, but he had better get used to carrying them in a place where more than one quarterback has buckled under them. — Jeff Legwold
Sports Illustrated - 10th
Brady and Matthew Stafford both won Super Bowls in their first season after leaving their longtime teams. No pressure, Russell Wilson.
Pro Football Talk - 19th
More proof that football is back. pic.twitter.com/dxt5axm1l4— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 6, 2022
CBS Sports Pete Prisco - 17th