Denver Broncos are underrated

Peyton Manning's play has greatly improved the Denver Broncos' offense. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

For some teams it's a missed field goal; for others it's a dropped pass; and for one team it's even a blown call by the infamous replacement officials.

Such are the slim margins in the NFL that in one second the perception of a team is altered. Is it a .500 team in contention in its division, or a 1-3 team that already is staring a season of disappointment squarely in the face?

While the record of each team is obviously important, keep in mind that the majority of teams have played only four games. Have the analysts paid them too much -- or too little -- respect when you consider the differing levels of opposition to date? Let's audit them to find out.

Let's look at the most overrated and underrated team this week in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings.

Underrated -- Denver Broncos

Before they trounced the Oakland Raiders, you would have been hard-pressed to find a harder schedule to start the year than the one Denver has faced. A hard-fought win over the Pittsburgh Steelers was followed up with losses to the consensus top two teams in the league right now in the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. Indeed, but for one quarter where Peyton Manning tried to shake off the rust against Atlanta, it's very possible the Broncos could've been walking into Week 5 with a winning record.

Given how they've played, they are certainly deserving.