Ben Swanson The Lead
The Broncos might just be on a new trajectory.
After starting off 0-3, Denver has rebounded by reeling off two consecutive wins. The first, which came against the Jets, may not be considered all that impressive because of their now 0-6 record, but the 18-12 road win over the Patriots certainly has earned the Broncos some more respect from around the NFL.
"No team under .500 has a higher ceiling than the 2-3 Denver Broncos," NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal wrote in his column noting six teams that have lifted their season after Week 6's results.
The shift in perspective from Rosenthal and other analysts also was reflected in power rankings from several outlets, as the Broncos rose in every one we catalogued.
"My optimism around the Broncos starts with the baseline that they have a top-10 defense and builds with a return to health of their offense," Rosenthal added. "It should be no surprise they looked better Sunday with quarterback Drew Lock (out with a shoulder injury since Week 2), running back Phillip Lindsay (out with a toe injury since Week 1) and dynamic rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam (making his first appearance) on the field. Despite Lock's two late interceptions, he had time to make five to six dazzling throws, because left tackle Garett Bolles has Made The Leap in Year 4. (Drops didn't help Lock's box score Sunday.)
"When tight end Noah Fant (ankle), running back Melvin Gordon (illness) and wideout K.J. Hamler (hamstring) return, this offense will have as much speed as any team outside of Kansas City, even with Courtland Sutton lost for the year to injured reserve."
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Adam Schein, also of NFL.com, was impressed by the Broncos' win - particularly by Denver's head coach. Schein picked "Vic Fangio's fortitude" as one of the most impressive performances of the week and wrote, "This result was a legit stunner to me. Fangio outdueled Bill Belichick. Very, very impressive stuff."
Four Broncos players earned recognition from Pro Football Focus, as Anthony Treash picked Garett Bolles, Graham Glasgow, Shelby Harris and Bradley Chubb for the PFF Team of the Week. No franchise had more selections to the Week 6 all-star team.