The battles that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have had over the years have been some of the best in NFL history.
Sunday in New England, the rivalry between the two takes on a twist, as Manning will have a new uniform on when he enters Brady’s home as the Broncos take on the Patriots in a late afternoon affair.
The battle between the 2-2 teams looks a lot different than last seasons playoff game when Brady threw six TD’s and the Broncos were dominated by the Pats as they headed home for the year after the loss.
Now with Manning, the Broncos are coming off a huge home win over the Raiders, and they will try to keep up the momentum, which won’t be easy after Brady and company came out of nowhere to put up 45 second half points in a win over the Bills.
Manning appeared to find his groove in last week’s 37-6 rout of Oakland. After completing only half of his passes in a loss to Houston on Sept. 23, he was 30 of 38 against the Raiders for a season-high 338 yards and three touchdowns.
“The key that I’ve said all along is just trying to keep making progress somehow,” Manning said. “That doesn’t always show on the scoreboard – you’d like to win every game as you’re feeling your way and learning about your team and learning about yourself a little bit.”
Brady vs the Bills had three touchdown passes and ran for another score while leading six consecutive touchdown drives in the second half and New England became the second team in NFL history to have two 100-yard rushers (Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley) and receivers (Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski) in the same game.
The Patriots defense allowed more than 300 passing yards for the second straight week but also forced six turnovers, and will try to force old pal Manning into mistakes.
“We need to do a better job starting the game and that’s what we’re focused on,” wide receiver Brandon Lloyd said, “starting the game, staying out of long-yardage situations, being more productive on second and third down.
The Patriots performed superbly in their two matchups with Denver last season, outscoring the Broncos by a combined 86-33 and gaining more than 450 yards in each game, but it won’t be as easy this time, as with Jack Del Rio running the defense in Denver, the Broncos D is playing a lot better.
If there’s one thing that Bill Belichick gets up for, it’s to play Manning, as does Brady.
Look for a fun game between the two Hall of Famers, but for Brady to out sling Manning and for the Pats to send the Broncos to 2-3 on the season.
New England 27 Denver 20