AFC West Power Rankings after final week of preseason

Denver Broncos, Sean Payton
Denver Broncos, Sean Payton / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Denver Broncos

I am starting to buy into Sean Payton being a noticeable positive for Russell Wilson and this offense. Now, that's not to say Wilson is going to return to being a Pro Bowl player or one of the best quarterbacks in football, because I don't see that happening.

But, Payton's system is going to be good for Wilson. The Broncos really don't have a choice, either. They've mortgaged a ton of assets landing Wilson and Payton, and improvement is the only option for 2023. Payton also has too big of an ego to fail, so I'm banking on his ego being a difference-maker, which sounds a little funny.

Don't forget, though, that the Broncos still possess a great defense. Last year, lost in the shuffle, might have been just how good Denver's defense was. They might not have been able to put up a lot of points offensively, but Denver was the no. 7 overall defense in football, in terms of yards allowed.

The Broncos were second in the league on third down, allowing a conversion just 34.1 percent of the time. They were 10th against the run and 12th against the pass, and that's pretty impressive considering how often they were on the field.

Denver won't be good enough to challenge the Chiefs or Chargers, but improvement should be on the horizon.