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2021 NFL Power Rankings: Denver Broncos

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Denver Broncos rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 14 roundup for the Broncos in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 20

Player who must step up: QB Teddy Bridgewater

Look, the Broncos do Bridgewater no favors when they stick him in the shotgun, because they don't protect in it very well and he is already limping again with another leg injury this season. When he is under center and working play-action, the Broncos have pushed the ball down the field in the passing game. But beyond that, if this team is going to hang around in the playoff race, Bridgewater has to overcome any and all dilemmas and throw with the confidence he had before his first lower-body injury earlier this season. -- Jeff Legwold

NFL.com -- Rank: 23

Sunday night's crucial showdown with the Chiefs represented an audition of sorts for Teddy Bridgewater. The veteran quarterback has led a nomadic NFL career, and the SNF stage was a golden opportunity for Bridgewater to announce to this franchise that he can be more than a stopgap option under center in Denver. Unfortunately for Bridgewater, the outcome likely produced the opposite effect. Bridgewater struggled against a stout Kansas City defense, throwing two crucial second-half interceptions -- including a game-sealing pick-six -- in a 22-9 loss. Denver's offense couldn't deliver in the critical moments on a day the defense all but shut down Patrick Mahomes, and even a 20-play drive in the third quarter failed to produce points. The Broncos are still looking for their difference-maker at QB.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 18

They didn't do enough on offense at Kansas City, which has been a theme this year. They just don't throw it well enough.

USA Today -- Rank: 20

Perhaps no team better exemplifies how condensed the AFC playoff race is. Denver entered Sunday night in eighth place in the conference, would have moved up to fourth (and first place in the AFC West) with a win at Kansas City but fell to 12th in defeat.

The Athletic -- Rank: 19

Best-case scenario: The Broncos ideally would discover their offense this week against Detroit -- and not lose it. A lack of scoring has been Denver's downfall this year, and that was no different against the Chiefs on Sunday night. If the Broncos can score in the mid-to-high 20s in their final four games, they'll stay in the playoff hunt until they play Kansas City again in Week 18. In this best-case scenario, Denver would likely feel better about Teddy Bridgewater heading into an offseason in which a quality new quarterback might be difficult to acquire (even though Denver should probably try).

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