Wake up Billie Joe Armstrong, September is just about over, and the NFL season is picking up momentum. It’s still far too early to crown any contenders or dismiss the pretenders, but that’s not to say the standings aren’t a little bit surprising. Who would’ve predicted the Super Bowl favorite Kansas City Chiefs would be dead last in the AFC West? Sam Darnold’s Carolina Panthers are the NFC South’s lone undefeated squad? The Denver Broncos are 3-0 as well, but nobody’s taking it seriously because the three teams they beat are a combined 0-9 to this point in the season… but maybe they should be.
Don’t Sleep on the Denver Broncos
There’s no denying it, Denver has had a cakewalk of a schedule to this point in the season. Their three opponents are 32nd, 31st, and 30th on most power rankings. Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars went 1-15, the New York Jets went 2-14, and the New York Giants went 6-10, and as I said, none of them have won a game yet this year. If people are hesitant to crown them just yet, I understand. I personally think this squad is untested, and could very well fade away as the season goes along, however, there are a few important things to note.
How, Not Who
While Denver’s opponents to this point have been aggressively terrible to this point in the season, it’s not like the Broncos have been sneaking by. They’ve handled their business against all three teams, winning a combined 76-26, holding the squads to an average of 222 yards total yards and nine points a game, while forcing two turnovers and three sacks. Considering the Baltimore Ravens needed a 66 yard field goal to beat the hapless Detroit Lions and the Las Vegas Raiders have gone to overtime in two of their three games, there’s something to be said for the Denver dominance.
And it’s not like this is college football, and the Broncos carved out a cakewalk schedule. The league assigned them this schedule, and all they’ve done is handle their business. A lot of people are quick to write the team off, but I think that’s dangerous. This is a squad that has a respectable game manager at quarterback, a productive running game, and a defense that has allowed the second fewest yards and the fewest points in the league through three weeks.
If Denver should knock off the Ravens this week, I think the rest of the league will have to start taking Elway’s boys seriously.
As a Raiders fan, I hope they never win another game for the rest of eternity, but I do think we should stop pretending three dominant wins over bad opponents are better than nail-biters versus supposedly superior opponents.