The Denver Broncos should be happy just to have escaped with a victory against the Bengals. To be ranked 24th and have eight teams behind them should be a small victory for the Broncos at the moment.
Still, one can't help but look at the list and see a few glaring questions that must be asked. It may seem counterintuitive to be asking for more respect to be given to the Broncos after what amounts to a somewhat ugly victory, but with an 0-2 team above the Broncos it is fair to ask "What gives?"
That team is the St. Louis Rams (22nd), who looked very sloppy against the New York Giants as well as the Philadelphia Eagles. In all fairness, those are also two teams that the Broncos would likely have trouble against, but if the Rams are going to be so anemic in the red zone they won't find much success against anyone including the red-zone-challenged Broncos.
The other team above the Broncos that may be cause for criticism is the Jacksonville Jaguars at 21st. This is a team who is living off the residual impact of beating a Tennessee team that knocked out the juggernaut Baltimore Ravens.
Losing at the hands of the Jets is a fate that will befall many teams this year, but the obvious deficiencies that were unmasked (especially at QB) for the Jags are problems that will be exposed for weeks to come.
It may still be a toss-up as to whether the Broncos would beat the Jaguars, but after a victory the Broncos' stock should be rising whereas a Jaguars team in flux should be dropping.
Should the Broncos be ranked higher?
Regardless of whether fans think the Broncos were slighted or not, it should be viewed as an accomplishment to be ranked as highly as they are. Not to mention the fact that it is not completely insane to say that the Broncos could beat the Titans next week.
Let's put it another way: It is not completely insane to say that the Broncos can beat the Titan team that showed up Week 1. If that ends up happening, the Broncos will have the benefit of beating a team that also beat the Ravens.
However, that might result in having to say the same thing about the Broncos as was just said about the Jaguars.
AFC West Rankings Update
San Diego Chargers: 12th (1-1)
Oakland Raiders: 20th (1-1)
Denver Broncos: 24th (1-1)
Kansas City Chiefs: 31st (0-2)