The 2012 NFL regular season gets underway on Wednesday night with a contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, which means it's time to get in a set of pre-rankings before the play on the field tells us how good (or bad) these teams are. SB Nation's Joel Thorman has released his NFL power rankings on Tuesday morning and the Denver Broncos fall two spots to No. 11 before the season starts.
11. Denver Broncos (LW: 9): The big Peyton Manning question. If he's healthy, this is is a top five team. If he's not, it can be in the bottom third of the league. If he plays like a former elite quarterback who hasn't played in over a year, then it will be the 11th best team in the league.
This seems like a fair assessment of the state of the team. The Broncos defense should be solid again, but the team revolves around Manning being healthy. Even if he plays like a "former elite quarterback" making his way back in the league, being the 11th best team in the league isn't bad. It's significantly better than the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders, all ranked in the 20s.