ESPN is out with their preseason rankings, and they are not thinking very highly of the Broncos, a team that started red hot for Josh McDaniels last year but collapsed and missed the playoffs. They have them ranked 23 of 32 teams, read below for the Denver Posts’ take on it:
Apparently, Tebow Mania has not reached Bristol, Conn. ESPN’s 15 analysts and dot-com insiders don’t believe the Broncos will snap their four-year postseason drought in 2010.
ESPN has listed the Broncos at No. 23 in their power rankings for the 2010 season. Teams that finish that low in the overall standings generally finish with a 7-9 record. Then again, Las Vegas has placed the Broncos’ over/under win total at 7 1/2, so ESPN’s projection is safely stated.
I’ll give you two reasons why No. 23 is too low: One, look at the Broncos’ home schedule. They should go 6-2, no worse than 5-3 at home. And I think they have at least five winnable games on the road, starting with the opener at Jacksonville. Given their relatively soft schedule on paper _ much easier than last year’s schedule, anyway _ the Broncos would have to be a pretty bad team to finish 7-9.
They may have their share of flaws and question marks _ starting with their offensive line. But I do not think the Broncos are a bad team.
One other reason why No. 23 could be too low _ Kansas City is No. 27 and Oakland is No. 25. If ESPN’s experts are correct in their assessments of the Chiefs and Raiders, then it’s going to be difficult for the Broncos to finish with a 7-9 record if two other teams in their four-team AFC West Division finish 6-10 or worse. In other words, the Broncos should win three of four from Kansas City and Oakland, leaving Denver to only go 5-7 against the rest of the league to exceed expectations.
By the way, ESPN ranked Mike Shanahan’s Washington Redskins at No. 18 _ a huge jump for a team that finished 4-12 last season _ and Jay Cutler’s Chicago Bears at No. 22.