Everyone seems to enjoy NFL power rankings; even though they really do not mean that much. Unlike college football; there is a playoff system and where a team ranks at any point during the season just doesn’t matter. For what it is worth, though, the Denver Broncos are now ranked number two in most power rankings. The New England Patriots are ranked number one and deservedly so. While power rankings mean little in terms of the eventual Super Bowl champion, they do tell us something.
The power rankings tell us that, in the AFC, there are two teams who have separated themselves from everyone else. No one is going to argue that the Patriots are the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, but the eye test and the power rankings also tell us that the Broncos are the only team that has a shot to knock them off. There’s always a chance that the Houston Texans could regain their early season form and be a threat to both the Broncos and the Patriots. However based on current form, it’s hard to argue with the fact that the Broncos and Patriots have separated themselves in the AFC.
The critics of the Broncos would say that they haven’t beaten anybody any good during their winning streak and they are barely beating bad teams. I’ll concede the first argument to a point. The Cincinnati Bengals are currently tied for the last playoff spot in the AFC and the Broncos beat them by eight in Cincinnati. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the hottest offensive team in the league when they went to Denver three weeks ago, and the Broncos handle them easily. The final score was only a seven point margin but the game was never that close in the second half. I will grant you, however, that the Broncos schedule has not been great over the past few weeks.
As far as the Broncos not winning by enough over the past few weeks; that’s just not true. In their eight game winning streak, the Broncos are winning by an average of 12 points per game. No team has come within a touchdown of the Broncos and in this day and age of parity, that’s impressive. The Broncos are not playing at the same level of the Patriots, I’d be a fool to say that, but I am saying that the Broncos are the second best team in the AFC as we sit here today.
Can the Broncos beat the Patriots; that’s a question for a day in January. For now this much is clear and the power rankings reflect it; the Patriots are the best team in the AFC and the Broncos are clearly number two.
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