It is entirely possible that we could see Manning versus Brady, round 17, in the 2014 playoffs. The Patriots are on track and super hot. The Broncos look even better than they did in 2013 with a stout defense to help the offense out. The Steelers are the only AFC team that is on a strong enough run to stop a repeat of last year’s AFC Title game.
After a slow start that had folks talking about Tom Brady as if he were one nail short of being in a football coffin, the Patriots have looked unstoppable on offense. Their weak receiving corp now looks battle ready each week. Not to mention their surgically repaired Gronkenstein, who is running roughshod over defenders once again. I hope New England fans realize how lucky they are to have had yearly success for the past decade plus. As a Falcons fan, I am truly envious and very bitter.
The Broncos looked like the best team in the NFL, and may still be just that. But playing in Foxboro in week nine did not enhance their image. They got waxed by Brady’s crew 43-21. That game made the series between the two epic quarterbacks 11-5 in favor of Tom Brady. People love to use the boxing analogy when talking about the long history of this QB battle. But if this were a fight, Manning would have been carried out on a gurney several rounds ago. The alleged “best regular season quarterback in history” has been no match for Tom Brady over the years. If the two meet in the playoffs again this year, the home field could be the deciding factor. I would take Manning in Denver and Brady in Foxboro. The teams sit with two losses each with the tie breaker going to the Patriots via the beatdown administered to the Orange Crush last week.
Even though Brady has dominated the series with Manning, he can’t get all the credit. The series should read, “Manning five wins to Brady / Belichick 11 wins. Brady has had the benefit of a defensive genius on his sideline to stop his rival. Peyton has had good coaches, but not a guy like Belichick who crafted a defensive game plan for Super Bowl XXV that sits in the Hall OF Fame. Peyton Manning is clearly one of the best to ever call an audible, but he has been involved in a WWE-like handicap match each time he suited up against the New England Patriots. Not only does Brady have his coach building barriers to Manning, Brady also gets the Belichick insight on how to attack the defense that is wearing the same uniform as Peyton. It has been a two on one fight since the first time these two greats have met on the field.
Despite the lopsided rivalry between the Pats QB and the Broncos leader, another playoff game involving the two would be something to see. The ratings would be better than any other game besides the Super Bowl obviously. Patriots fans want to see their guy rub it in a little more to Manning. While Manning fans will be holding their breathe hoping that their guy can get a rare win against the evil Brady and Belichick combo. General football fans that don’t have a favorite get the best of both worlds without the nervousness of the outcome. We can enjoy a contest that pits two all time greats against each other. Correction….two all time greats against another all time great.