Peyton Manning takes Broncos to top of NFL power rankings
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Peyton Manning takes Broncos to top of NFL power rankings

Denver : CO : USA | Dec 17, 2012 at 6:24 AM PST
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Knowshon Moreno hurdles Ravens tackler

Three NFL power rankings put the Denver Broncos at the top on Monday. To get to the Super Bowl, however, the Broncos may have to win a playoff game on the road in Houston, just about everyone’s choice for No. 4 or 5.

Maiya Hayes of the Detroit Free Press, Danny O’Neill of the Seattle Times and Pete Schauer rank the Broncos No. 1. So far, as he has become accustomed to his new team, Manning has paid off the $96 million they risk on him. The team, helped by a ferocious defense led by Von Miller, has won nine in a row.

Hayes has the Alanta Falcons in the second position, followed by the 49ers.

Schauer ranks the Patriots second and the 49ers third, even after New England came close but was unable to pull off a comeback Sunday night.

O’Neill ranks the 49ers second and the Patriots third.

Matt Miller ranks the 49ers first, the Broncos second and the Patriots third.

Early in the season the Broncos lost to the Patriots and the Falcons on the road, and Texans in Denver. In all three games Denver mounted comebacks, and even with Manning just getting himself adjusted to his new team could have won.

The Broncos’ defense showed how tough it was when the once-powerful but now limping Baltimore Ravens moved into the red zone. Chris Harris stepped in front of wide receive Anquan Bouldin and ran an interception back 98 yards.

Knowshon Moreno, a No. 1 pick in 2009 from Georgia had been banished to the practice squad for a lack of performance and one critical fumble. He also was recovering from an injury.

So he got one more chance when Willis McGahee was sidelined, and he has taken advantage of it. On Sunday he rushed for 118 yards.

The Broncos have the easiest schedule with their last two games at home against Cleveland and Kansas City. The Browns have the ability to beat anyone in the league, but it is unlikely they will get by the Broncos in Mile High field. The Chiefs are in the running for the No. 1 pick in the draft, and even a proud defense couldn’t stop Denver in Arrowhead.

Hayes ranks the Falcons second and the 49ers, who have a tough stop ahead in Seattle. A good Seahawk team needs a win to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.

The Patriots go to Jacksonville, almost always capable of springing an upset, and then end the season hosting Miami. No fear of the sprinklers coming on in late December.

The Falcons go on the road against the Detroit Lions, where an upset isn’t out of the question, and then return home to end the season hosting Tampa Bay.

The Texans, who were at the top of the football world until Tom Brady and the Patriots whipped them, finish the season at home hosting Minnesota and the Colts. They are coached by John Elway’s understudy, Gary Kubiak and beat Denver early in the season in Mile High Stadium, though the Broncos almost came back and won.

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Robert Weller is based in Denver, Colorado, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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