NFL Power Rankings: ESPN Drops Denver Broncos One Spot After Loss

Adam OdekirkContributor IISeptember 14, 2011

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 12:  The Denver Broncos take the field to face the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 12, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos opened the season ranked 27th in the ESPN Power Rankings for the 2011 season. After a sloppy loss to the rival Oakland Raiders, the Broncos only dropped one spot to 28th.

The good news here is that football analysts and experts were not as disgusted with the Broncos as they were with teams like the Seahawks and the Browns, who are now below the Broncos.

In fact, the Broncos are still ranked above their next opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, who actually won last week.

The Broncos are also only one spot behind the Buffalo Bills, who were infinitely more impressive in their performance against Kansas City than the Broncos were against Oakland. 

Basically, it would appear that football experts are not going to let one game tell the whole story on the Broncos season, which seems about right.

Despite numerous mistakes and a lackluster performance from both the offensive and defensive line, the Broncos are not the worst team in the league right now. They are still just as likely to start the season at 2-1 heading to Green Bay as they were two weeks ago.

Still, if they continue to regress and kill themselves with bad turnovers and costly penalties, the margin for potentially going 0-3 is razor thin.

The outside noise surrounding the Broncos, which is being over-hyped by media outlets, might be making it appear that Denver is going backwards and not forwards. However, the locker room knows who their starting quarterback is going to be until at least their bye week.

Mike McCoy and Dennis Allen should be hard at work creating a game plan to pounce on this very winnable game for the Broncos.

Cedric Benson and Chris Johnson, in Week 3, are just as capable of eclipsing 100 yards rushing if the Broncos defense doesn't find a way to at least slow down the rush and let Doom and Gloom do their stuff.

Looking at the schedule ahead, assuming the Broncos improve, they have a legitimate opportunity to find themselves ranked closer to 20 than 30 heading into week four.

Of course, the potential to be below 30 is just as real if the Broncos aren't careful.