Let’s see: Peyton Manning, October’s AFC offensive player of the month? Check. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard,the AFC’s defensive player of the week? Check. The Denver Broncos, back on track? Double check.

For a team that stumbled at the season’s start, no franchise was more impressive this past month than the Broncos. Winners of three of its past four games— and 4-3 on the season—Denver has climbed atop the standings in the AFC West and now finally looks to be the team everyone imagined it’d be at the season’s start.

While it’s easy to give Manning the credit—after all, he has the league’s best passer rating—Broncos fans know this revived team has put together perhaps the most impressive effort in the National Football League in the past month. And John Elway deserves enormous credit for his work.

Sure, the hall-of-famer-turned-front-office-guru is the guy who got Manning—and dumped Tim Tebow in the process—but he’s also been adept at building his team with players who don’t exactly have superstar cache. He brought in 15-year veteran linebacker Keith Brooking during the offseason, took a chance on Woodyard, and plucked former Houston Texans running back Trindon Holliday off the scrap heap earlier this month (Holliday gained 43 yards on four punt returns last week against New Orleans). On top of that, Elway’s preached building the team from within—through strong drafts—and then supplementing the team’s youth with more-experienced free agents, like Brooking.

Who knows where the Broncos will end up at the season’s end, but Denver has hit its stride. It’d be asbsurd to think this team doesn’t have enough to at least make it to the conference championship game. And a Super Bowl appearance—which seemed out of the question a month ago—now doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock