The first five weeks of the 2022 NFL season have been disastrous for the Denver Broncos, but one of the few bright spots has been the struggles that the rest of the division are also experiencing.

Considering those struggles, do the Broncos deserve to be in the AFC West’s cellar? Let’s look.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (-)

The Kansas City Chiefs are so clearly the class of the division.

They have the best record and the best division record of the AFC West teams, with wins over every other AFC West team but the Broncos — who are in the cellar as of now and wouldn’t serve as much of a resume booster.

Their offense is rolling once again, and the defense is setup to be the best it’s been during the Mahomes era, thanks to some young emerging talents.

2. Las Vegas Raiders (+1)

Monday night’s outcome was certainly disappointing for Raider Nation, but they should walk away from that game feeling pretty good about only losing by one, in a brutal road environment, to a team that’s the class of the AFC and has much more continuity than Vegas.

The offense is finally starting to look like one of Josh McDaniels’ Patriots offenses, and they’ve found a surprising catalyst to it all in Josh Jacobs, who is looking the best he ever has. In back-to-back weeks, Jacobs has set new career-best marks for rushing yardage, and that’s opened things up through the air.

The back seven on defense is pretty porous, but the defensive front is keeping them afloat. Maxx Crosby has been a one-man wrecking crew, and Chandler Jones is finally stirring to life.

If Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller can start clicking, and Davante Adams can avoid a lengthy suspension for pushing a cameraman following the conclusion of their loss to the Chiefs, the Raiders’ 2022 outlook will be looking pretty strong.

3. Los Angeles Chargers (-1)

Fans of the Los Angeles Chargers (if they exist) and Denver Broncos might be upset that they find themselves behind the Raiders on this list considering the teams’ respective records, but Vegas simply just looks like the better team right now.

It’s hard to puff your chest out when your last two games were narrow victories against Davis Mills and Jacoby Brissett.

The Chargers look poorly coached and appear to not be maximizing their talent, with the prime example being Joe Lombardi’s hand-cuffing of the offense. They’re also losing a lot of key players to injury.

They’re pretty much like the Broncos, except the Bolts have an otherworldly quarterback that can elevate the disaster surrounding him, while the Broncos are merely spending like they have one of those quarterbacks.

4. Denver Broncos (-)

Rather than cooking opposing defenses, the Denver Broncos quarterback looks cooked. The offensive coaching staff appears to be entirely over their skis. Injuries have removed three of the Broncos’ most valuable position players on offense for the rest of the season, with Tim Patrick, Javonte Williams and Garett Bolles tarped until 2023.

They’ve also suffered two bad losses in their last two outings.

It’s hard to not put Denver last in the west right now.

However, there are reasons for hope.

Outside of the Chiefs, who are one of the few NFL teams performing up to expectations at this point in the season, the Broncos are right in the mix of the AFC and the AFC West.

They also have a truly special unit in the form of their defense. Losing Ronald Darby and Randy Gregory could lead to some attrition setting in, but the defense should at least remain strong even if it declines a little.

If they can utilize this 11-day break to solve some of their woes on offense and get a primetime win over the division-rival Chargers on Monday night, they’ll soon be back in the mix in the AFC.