NFL Power Rankings: Where Each Team Stands Following Ravens vs. Broncos
Any time the reigning Super Bowl champion faces one of the league's top teams, the result is sure to shake up the NFL power rankings. That's exactly what happened in the Denver Broncos' 49-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the 2013 regular-season opener on Thursday night.
While Peyton Manning's team went in as the favorites to win at home and Baltimore's offseason departures were well documented, Thursday's result still revealed some new weapons for each team and proved what they are capable of moving forward.
Let's take a look at the NFL power rankings after Denver's win.
|Rank||Team||Week 1 Opponent|
|1||San Francisco 49ers||Green Bay|
|2||Denver Broncos||Baltimore (W)|
|4||Atlanta Falcons||New Orleans|
|5||Green Bay Packers||San Francisco|
|6||New England Patriots||Buffalo|
|7||Houston Texans||San Diego|
|9||Baltimore Ravens||Denver (L)|
|11||New Orleans Saints||Atlanta|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Arizona|
|15||Dallas Cowboys||New York Giants|
|17||New York Giants||Dallas|
|20||Kansas City Chiefs||Jacksonville|
|21||Arizona Cardinals||St. Louis|
|22||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||New York Jets|
|27||Buffalo Bills||New England|
|29||San Diego Chargers||Houston|
|30||Jacksonville Jaguars||Kansas City|
|31||New York Jets||Tampa Bay|
Schedule information courtesy of ESPN
Broncos' Flaws Prevent Them From Overtaking 49ers
There's no doubt that the historic performance from Peyton Manning and the Broncos helped them to gain ground on the San Francisco 49ers for the top spot, but there's more to prove for the defense and special teams.
San Francisco's defense is head and shoulders above Denver's unit as of now, and until the Broncos can bridge the gap just enough, the 49ers will stay on top.
Which team should top the NFL power rankings?
If Manning plays like he did Thursday, Denver might not lose a game all season—but assuming that seven-touchdown performances aren't the norm, the Broncos still have some issues to work out.
Experienced punt returner Wes Welker dropped an easy kick that he shouldn't have fielded at his own 4-yard line, quickly leading to a Baltimore touchdown. Just as well, linebacker Danny Trevathan's goal-line gaffe could've cost the Broncos the game, had it come at a less ideal time.
The secondary still let up 362 yards through the air by Joe Flacco, though the Denver pass rush looked dominant, with four sacks, despite Von Miller's absence and the departure of Elvis Dumervil—who had a sack of his own for Baltimore.
If Manning stays ridiculously efficient—there's no reason at all to think he won't—and the Broncos prove that their secondary won't give up big games, they'll overtake San Francisco in no time.
Ravens Slip 1 Spot to 9th
Baltimore's defense was carved up in the second half by Manning, but his other-worldly performance makes you wonder how much the Ravens really were to blame.
Are the Ravens a top-10 NFL team?
The four-time MVP couldn't miss and clearly looked better than he ever has in his 15-year career. And it won't be very often—or ever—that the Ravens face that hot of a quarterback again.
Plus, the Ravens won the first half, 17-14, and stifled Denver's drives for much of that half.
Joe Flacco still had a solid game—362 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions—but Baltimore couldn't get the ground game going and had to completely abandon it when Manning started clicking with his receivers early in the third quarter.
The loss was enough to drop Baltimore below Cincinnati in the power rankings, but that's ground that the Ravens will easily make up if the reigning champs focus on their positives from Thursday night and bounce back.
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