By Jack Lowenstein

(CBS4) – The Denver Broncos can pat themselves on the back just a little bit more heading toward Sunday’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Three major websites are moving up the Broncos in their NFL power rankings after Denver’s defeat of the Los Angeles Charges during the Week 12 bout at home. Each website — NFL.com, ESPN and CPS Sports — had the team outside the top 20, and Sunday’s 28-19 victory has them inside the top-20 mix.

No. 19 for NFL.com, No. 15 for ESPN and No. 14 for CBS Sports. Most notably, CBS Sports moved the Broncos up 10 places in its power rankings from the previous week.

Players celebrate an interception by Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II, fifth from left, at Empower Field at Mile High on November 28, 2021.

Players celebrate an interception by Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II, fifth from left, at Empower Field at Mile High on Sunday. (credit: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

NFL.com

“When the Broncos traded Von Miller to the Rams, it signaled the start of a new era for the defense. The kids were alright in Sunday’s 28-13 win over the Chargers. Denver heavily featured four rookies on defense and harassed Justin Herbert into three sacks, 10 QB hits and two interceptions. Both picks came courtesy of first-year corner Pat Surtain II; one snagged in the end zone with the Chargers looking for the tying score, the other a pick-six that effectively put the game on ice. At 6-5, the Broncos have the chance to move into a first-place tie in the AFC West with a win over the division-leading Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. This Broncos relevance snuck up on you, didn’t it?”

RELATED: Pat Surtain II Gives Football To Dad Immediately After Pick-Six During Broncos Win

ESPN

“The Broncos are now 6-0 when the quarterbacks are under center 50-50 as compared to the shotgun — as well as average just over 30 rushing attempts,” Jeff Legwold wrote for ESPN. “They also have all of their pass completions of at least 40 yards on the season in those games. The team is 0-5 when they line up in the shotgun most of the time and run the ball an average of 18 times a game.”

CBS Sports

“At 6-5, they are in the playoff hunt. The defense was outstanding against Justin Herbert. That unit could carry them to the playoffs, but they face a tough one against the Chiefs this week.”

During the Week 12 postgame interview, head coach Vic Fangio shared confidence about heading into Week 13’s matchup, despite the team’s 11-game losing streak against the Chiefs.

“Well, we’re better than the recent Broncos teams,” Fangio said. “Even the ones before I got here since the 2014 or ‘15 [season] — whenever it was. We’ve got a better team.”

The national broadcast begins at 6:20 p.m. for Sunday’s game between the Broncos and Chiefs on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

Jack Lowenstein