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Power Rankings Around The Web: Broncos creeping into the top 10

After their fifth straight victory, the Denver Broncos are on the rise once again in the power rankings.

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Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos did it again! They won their fifth straight game, this time, defeating the Cleveland Browns by the score of 29-12. This was their best all-around performance of the year and moved the team above .500 and firmly in the AFC postseason conversation.

As for the power rankings, the Broncos have gone from the basement when they were 1-5 to creeping into the top 10 of some rankings at their current 6-5 record. So, here is where the Denver Broncos rank in the power rankings around the web according to the experts.

NFL.com - 15th

The Broncos forced only one turnover in their first three outings — and now, incredibly, they lead the NFL in takeaways with 22. Twenty-one of them have come in their past eight games, and a stunning 15 have been in the past four. Not shockingly, Denver’s 0-3 start coincided with a turnover differential of minus-4 — since then, the Broncos have gone 6-2, with five straight wins, while logging a turnover differential of plus-12. The defense has allowed nine scores in the past six games combined, looking unrecognizable next to the unit that gave up 10 TDs to Miami in Week 3. Pair that with Russell Wilson’s excellent ball security (he’s recorded zero picks in five straight games, with just eight turnovers on the season), and we can reasonably talk playoffs now. Four of Denver’s final six games are on the road, including the next three, so this is no time for parades. But Sean Payton’s first season already has been a success, thanks to the massive turnaround.

ESPN - 13th

The quirky side of the numbers is the Broncos’ defense — which has labored at, or near, the bottom of most of the major statistical categories for much of the year thanks to the team’s 1-5 start that included the 50-point loss to Miami in Week 3. But it is also the defense that has fueled the team’s current five-game win streak. The Broncos have 16 takeaways during the win streak, 15 in the past four games, and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s group has surrendered fewer touchdowns in the past six games combined (nine) than it did to the Dolphins. If the offense, which has flashed some quality work when it muscles up a little more in the run game and play-action pass game, can continue to find a rhythm, the Broncos will stay in the playoff chase. — Jeff Legwold

The Athletic - 13th

Denver won its fifth straight Sunday, giving it the longest active winning streak in the league. In that stretch, the Broncos are third in the league in scoring defense (16.8 ppg allowed). Prior to the winning streak, Denver was giving up 33.3 points per game, which ranked last in the league. Russell Wilson threw for only 134 yards Sunday, but he’s fifth in the league in passer rating (103.4). The Broncos only play two more teams with a winning record — the Lions and Texans. They are a very real playoff contender, but it’s hard to forecast much more considering all the energy it will take to get there.

Sporting News - 10th

Sean Payton and Russell Wilson have led a remarkable turnaround, not just from last season’s mess, but from where they were this season, 1-5 before the Broncos’ current five-game winning streak. The schemes and personnel are meshing as expected now.

Pro Football Talk - 10th

10. Broncos (6-5, No. 15): Remember that stuff Sean Payton said to Jarrett Bell? Payton was right about all of it.

USA Today - 13th

13. Broncos (15): With two rushing TDs in Sunday’s win over Cleveland, Denver tripled its season total. Now, the AFC’s hottest team (5 straight wins) embarks on a three-game road trip to Houston, at the Chargers and Detroit – which could well be its defining stretch of the regular season.

Bleacher Report - 11th

Not that long ago, it appeared that the Denver Broncos had a better chance of earning a top-five draft pick in 2024 than making the postseason in 2023. It looked like the Sean Payton trade was every bit the boondoggle that the Russell Wilson deal appeared to be the season before.

Five weeks (and wins) later, the Broncos are above .500 and on the fringes of the AFC playoff picture. Denver’s winning streak may have surprised a lot of people, but Wilson told reporters he never doubted for a moment that the Broncos were capable of turning things around.

“I’ve never doubted. I’ve never doubted our football team [and] where we could go,” Wilson said. “I think the biggest thing is just understanding that we’ve lost some close games, and we lost some tough games early but that helps you prepare and understand that it’s a long journey. We have a lot more ahead of us—lots more football. A lot more great teams ahead of us. We have to stay focused on us. The biggest thing that Broncos Country is feeling us as players organizationally, inside that building, and most importantly inside that locker room is a relentless belief in each other. A relentless belief in the coaches and who we are and where we’re going—and what it takes to win. I think that we’re starting to learn what it takes to win. That’s a good thing in this building and we need that. We have to stay the course there.”

The Broncos haven’t just been beating tomato cans, either—four of the five wins during the streak have come against teams that are .500 or better. More tests await at Houston next week and in Detroit two weeks after that.

But the Broncos have gone from easy out to the team no one wants to play.

New York Post - 10th

Left for dead after losing five of their first six games, the Broncos earned their fifth straight win by beating the Browns, 29-12, in a game that could have AFC playoffs tiebreaker ramifications. Their last similar longer streak was a 7-0 start in 2015. Denver recovered three fumbles and four sacks on third-string quarterback P.J. Walker.

CBS Sports - 11th

It’s hard to believe they are up this high in the rankings after their horrible start. The next three games, all on the road, will decide their fate.

Pro Football Network - 12th

The Broncos are officially putting us all on blast. They were left for dead at 1-5, and rightfully so. However, they’ve rattled off five consecutive wins, including against the Chiefs, Bills, scorching-hot Vikings, and Browns. Those aren’t only wins, but quality wins.

Russell Wilson isn’t setting the world on fire, but he’s avoiding mistakes, and he’s using his legs as a weapon as both a passer and a runner. But it’s been their defensive revolution that’s created such an impressive turnaround.

The Ringer - 16th

The Broncos allowed a humiliating 70 points to the Dolphins in Week 3 amid their 1-5 start, but after beating the Browns this week, Denver is on a five-game winning streak, in which it has allowed 80 points total. Russell Wilson is not impressive statistically but had perhaps his best game as a Bronco on Sunday, with multiple scrambles and eyebrow-raising touchdowns that invoked the old Wilson. Denver may have a playoff push left in it, especially with just two games remaining against teams with winning records. —Danny Heifetz

Fox Sports - 11th

It hasn’t looked pretty any step of the way, but five-straight wins are five-straight wins. Denver’s defense is a unit transformed, and Sean Payton has Russell Wilson playing clean, if not exciting, football. Clearly, it’s a hard formula to beat, because the Broncos have won against some strong teams during this streak.

FanSided - 14th

The Broncos were riding a four-game winning streak, their longest since 2016, when they hosted the Browns on Sunday. Make it five in a row for Sean Payton’s club, which exploited the Cleveland defense. Samaje Perine and Russell Wilson had first-half touchdown runs as Denver built a 14-0 lead and totaled 101 yards rushing by halftime.

Payton’s team finished with 169 yards on the ground. The Browns closed the gap to two points midway through the third quarter but the Denver defense closed the door the rest of the way. The Broncos are gaining momentum.