NFL Power Rankings Week 3: Denver Broncos Seek to Earn Respect

Christopher Smith@MileHighMentorCorrespondent IIISeptember 21, 2011

Von Miller is ressurecting a salute the Broncos' faithful have been missing as of late.
Von Miller is ressurecting a salute the Broncos' faithful have been missing as of late.Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Week 2 is in the books and the Denver Broncos are in the 24th spot in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings.

Recently, Bleacher Report featured columnist Adam Odekirk speculated that the Denver team that barely beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 may have been snubbed by ESPN in its most recent edition of the most powerful teams in the league.

Have the Broncos really been disrespected by this position?

It may be too early to tell for sure. The Broncos have done little to impress the league at this point.

The toughest thing for Denver is that it's had little realistic opportunity to make a positive impact on its reputation.

Week 1 saw Denver fighting in the rain-filled trenches and losing the battle consistently to the Oakland Raiders. Weather was not the only factor in Week 1, and when everything was said and done the Broncos came up short in every department.

Week 2 was a challenge in its own as Denver faced adversity through injury. With almost every one of the Broncos' biggest names on the sideline, Denver managed to pull together a win. However, the play on the field was not amazing, rather, merely adequate.

Week 3 is Denver's biggest challenge yet. There's optimism in the locker room that star receiver Brandon Lloyd should return to the lineup against the Tennessee Titans for the Broncos' first road game of the year.

Denver will need all the help it can get to topple the team that just managed to pick off the Baltimore Ravens, who are currently slated at 15-1 to win the Super Bowl by Las Vegas' biggest sports books. Denver is currently at 60-1.

The question is whether or not the win against Baltimore was good luck for the Titans, bad luck for the Ravens, or an accurate depiction of the two teams and their place in the league heading into Week 3.

Baltimore started the 2011 season with a huge win over the AFC North favorites, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Titans, on the other hand, lost a less-than-exciting game to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars currently hold the 21st position on ESPN's list.

A week later, Baltimore found its fast start unraveled by Tennessee, and the Jaguars were absolutely dismantled by the New York Jets.


What might happen with a win for the Denver Broncos after Week 3?

A win for the Broncos may earn the team some much-needed respect. However, it could just mean the Week 2 upset for Tennessee was a fluke and that Denver just did what Jacksonville did already.

There's two sides to every game. Depending on which jersey you wear Sunday while you're warming up the couch, you may see the game differently and end with another conclusion.

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18:  US Air Force fighter jets perform a fly over during the national anthem as the Cincinnati Bengals face the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated th
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Broncos faithful could revel in the joy of beating the Titans two years in a row and moving themselves into a winning record—presumably keeping their position tied for the lead in the AFC West.

If the Denver passing game continues to move forward with the return of Lloyd and the emergence of second-year player Eric Decker, the Broncos should move up the list (with a win) to around the 20th spot (ahead of the Jaguars).

They'll still need some impressive wins down the road to earn a spot any higher on the power rankings on any site on the Internet, but a win against the Titans can at least get them started up the ladder.

Unfortunately, just above the Jaguars on the rankings sits the Oakland Raiders, who just happened to dismiss Denver in Week 1 before losing a close one to the Buffalo Bills (16th) in Week 2.

If Oakland keeps up its high-yardage play and continues to improve its record, the Broncos will have a struggle to leapfrog the Raiders in the rankings.

At this point, Denver's position on the rankings is as accurate as it can be. With little to base the list on after only two weeks, its difficult to rank the 32 teams with precision that would last throughout the season. Denver has earned its spot at 24th and will need to earn each and every spot ahead of that, starting with a win against the Titans this Sunday at 11 a.m. MDT.