Last week: 14
Teddy Bridgewater has been what a team with a potentially elite defense needed -- a calming, prepared and opportunistic passer who can close out drives and avoid turnovers. Yes, the Broncos' first three opponents are now 0-9, but the Broncos won those games by 14, 10 and 26 points. Bridgewater leads the league in completion percentage, is seventh in average length of completion and is fifth in passer rating. He already has become a leading voice in the locker room. And most importantly for a team that led the NFL in both giveaways overall as well as interceptions last season, he has not turned the ball over.
Dan Hanzus, NFL.com
Last week: 13
Sure, the Broncos' undefeated start has come at the expense of also-ran squads that are a combined 0-9 through three weeks, but let's give credit where credit is due: Vic Fangio has this team playing well on both sides of the football. The soft schedule is undeniable, but so too is the quality tape Denver has put out for three weeks. Fangio's balanced defense continued to feast on the top of the 2021 NFL Draft, shutting down No. 2 pick Zach Wilson one week after beating up on No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence. The D's dominance has put Teddy Bridgewater and the offense in good position for three weeks. A Week 4 matchup against the Ravens should present a greater challenge all around.
Last week: 14 [Note: A different SI writer constructs their power rankings each week, so change in ranking does not necessarily indicate a direct revision in previous placement]
The most surprising team that shouldn't have been all that surprising in pro football is the unbeaten Broncos. Some writers tabbed them as a playoff team—raises hand—before the season started. But few imagined this. Suddenly, the Chiefs have quite a bit of company—and, in part, from a Denver team whose coach, Fangio, spent much of the preseason sitting in an office chair that most pundits described as underneath a roaring fire pit. It's true that Denver's three opponents so far this season—NY Giants, Jacksonville, NY Jets—have yet to snag a single win between them. But the Broncos haven't just squeaked by those teams; they've soundly beaten them, including last week's dominant shutout. That's because of Bridgewater's calming influence and underrated right arm. That's because Von Miller looks to have returned to the pass-rushing perch he held a few years ago, as one of the league's most dominant sack artists. The Broncos are well-built, and despite a tough upcoming slate—Baltimore, at Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, at Cleveland—should challenge for a playoff slot this season.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
Last week: 12
At 3-0, they've beaten three teams without a win, which makes it hard to evaluate how good they are. We know how good the defense is, that's for sure.
Last week: 12
Marshmallow time is over, as three of Denver's next four opponents sport winning records. But at least one of our analysts sees a path for Denver to keep the momentum to keep going.
"I expected Denver to start hot against bad teams," [Gary] Davenport said. "And for the Broncos to play well defensively. But I did not expect Teddy Bridgewater to make it three games into the season without throwing an interception while averaging a yard more per attempt than last year in Carolina. So long as his play continues at this level, the Broncos are capable of being real contenders in the AFC West."
Frank Schwab, Yahoo Sports
Last week: 9
Teddy Bridgewater has been fantastic. But like everything else related to the Broncos, we don't know how much to believe. When you've beaten three 0-3 teams, it's hard to tell. But the good news is the Broncos are winning games they should. That's not a given in the NFL.
Mark Maske, Washington Post
Previous ranking: 19
It's difficult to know exactly what to think about the Broncos after wins over the Giants, Jaguars and Jets. If they beat the Ravens this weekend, it will be time to take notice.
Nate Davis, USA Today
Last week: 17
It's tempting to rate them higher – and they deserve credit for their 3-0 start – it's just their three opponents so far are a collective 0-9.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
Last week: 21
The Broncos didn't need much from Teddy Bridgewater to take care of the winless Jets, following their comfortable wins against the winless Giants and winless Jaguars. Denver is playing well overall and gets a nice real test vs. Baltimore next week.