We may still be eight weeks away from the Broncos' regular-season opener, but it's not too early to try to get a sense of where the team sits among its peers, and for that we have Pro Football Focus' new power rankings.
Denver makes a good showing at No. 7, placed solidly in the "Could Be Their Year" tier.
"Denver catapulted itself into the contenders by trading for Russell Wilson, giving them their first legitimate championship-caliber passer since Peyton Manning," Sam Monson wrote. "Denver now has to craft an offense that gets the most out of Wilson while doing so without running into the same issues that the Seattle Seahawks had. Can Wilson be unleashed to be the best version of himself without eschewing too much of the quick, routine passes to make the offense among the league's best?"
The answer to that question will become clearer in the months to come, but for now, The Athletic's Nick Kosmider has identified five keys to unlocking that potential.
First on the list is something the Broncos have been missing for a while: embracing the deep ball.
"It might sound obvious," Kosmider wrote. "Let the gifted arm of Wilson lead the charge for the offense. But Seattle's success with that weapon during the first half of the 2020 season was a collaboration between a quarterback's talent, sound play calling and the emergence of one of the game's top young wide receivers in [D.K.] Metcalf, who caught touchdown passes of 38, 54 and 29 yards during that 5-0 blitz."
With that and Kosmider's four other suggested emphases, the Broncos could be in good position by the year's end, and Wilson could be in shape for consideration for the year's top individual honor.
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Wilson's success could create enormous fantasy football opportunities, too — especially for wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who is looking to have a career year after some ups and downs in his first two seasons. For that reason, Kosmider picked Jeudy to be the Broncos' breakout player in fantasy in 2022.
"The first two seasons haven't exactly gone as planned for the wide receiver who was selected by Denver with the 15th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft," Kosmider wrote. "Oh, there have been flashes, like his five-catch, 140-yard performance against the Raiders during the final game of his rookie season. But Jeudy has struggled to create consistent momentum, whether because of drops, quarterback inefficiency or injuries. With Russell Wilson now in place at quarterback, there should be no more barriers to Jeudy reaching his considerable potential."