NBC has decided to use Roman numerals to promote this meeting between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
"Manning-Brady XIV." Catchy.
This duel of two quarterbacks deserves that kind of billing. And we might not have many more meetings left between the two legends.
Manning and Brady are arguably the two greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, and they have one of the greatest personal rivalries ever. Your preference probably is determined by if you value Super Bowl titles or personal achievement.
Brady has three Super Bowl rings to one for Manning, albeit with much better teams around him than Manning had most years in Indianapolis. Manning has better numbers, as well as a record four MVP awards. But Brady has great numbers too. He's still the only quarterback to throw for 50 touchdowns in a single season. And Manning has won plenty. His teams have won 163 games, including 22 wins in 26 games since he became Denver's starter. His Super Bowl title came at the end of the 2006 season after a thrilling comeback win in the AFC title game against Brady and the Patriots.
The head-to-head battles are significantly in Brady's favor. Here's the breakdown of the first XIII meetings between the two:
Brady: 276-of-412, 3,059 yards, 23 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 95.3 rating, 9-4 record
Manning: 325-of-521, 3,821 yards, 27 touchdowns, 19 interceptions, 86.7 rating, 4-9 record
Manning has a chance to gain on Brady in the twilight of his career. He's on a very good Broncos team that is 9-1 and coming off an impressive win against Kansas City last week. They're currently the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, but this game is huge for the playoff picture. The Broncos are still just tied for first place in the AFC West. The Patriots are 7-3, and Denver is the last team with a winning record left on their schedule.
It's possible this game could determine if a January rematch happens in Denver or Foxboro. While the Brady-Manning dynamic is interesting and fun to track, this game has enormous implications for the Patriots and Broncos. And how the Broncos and Patriots fare in the playoffs this season will have a big impact in the Brady vs. Manning argument.
There won't be many more meetings between the two. Manning is 37. Brady is 36. Both are still very capable, but it won't be long before they retire and become teammates in Canton. Enjoy the meetings between the two while you can.
Here are the other NFL games this week, from best to worst (all times Eastern, all games Sunday unless noted otherwise):
2. San Diego at Kansas City, 1 p.m.: There was a lot of talk in the Chiefs' locker room about the Broncos rematch next week. They better not overlook the Chargers, who are better than their 4-6 record.
3. Indianapolis at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.: This game and Broncos-Patriots are the only two games in the NFL this week between two winning teams. Hooray for parity! If the Cardinals win, expect them to start getting a lot more buzz as a playoff contender.
4. Carolina at Miami, 1 p.m.: Tough spot for the Panthers, coming off two emotional wins. They have a quick turnaround for a road game against a capable Dolphins team.
5. Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 4:25 p.m.: The Giants, who started 0-6, really might be in the middle of the greatest comeback ever. But they need a win here to stay in the NFC East race.
6. Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: This rivalry hasn't produced many meaningful games the past decade, but this is one. Both teams are 4-6, a game out of the sixth seed in the AFC. The winner here stays in the race, the loser will be in some trouble.
7. N.Y. Jets at Baltimore, 1 p.m.: The Jets are 1-4 on the road, and 4-1 at home. The Ravens are 3-1 at home, and 1-5 on the road. This one is in Baltimore.
8. Tennessee at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.: Another game between 4-6 AFC teams in which the loser is probably finished.
9. Chicago at St. Louis, 1 p.m.: The Bears are still holding onto their NFC North hopes, and can't afford to lose a game like this.
10. San Francisco at Washington, 8:40 p.m. (Monday): The 49ers already have four losses, after having just seven the last two seasons combined. They have taken care of business this year against bad teams, and the Redskins are certainly bad.
11. Minnesota at Green Bay, 1 p.m.: The good news is this game should be much more competitive than it would be if Aaron Rodgers was starting for the Packers.
12. New Orleans at Atlanta, 8:25 p.m. (Thursday): Given how poorly the Falcons have played the last four weeks, don't expect a lot out of this prime-time matchup.
13. Tampa Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m.: The Buccaneers have strung together two good games in a row, but the Lions will be looking to get back on track after a tough loss at Pittsburgh.
14. Jacksonville at Houston, 1 p.m.: All Jaguars fans have to be rooting for a loss, right? A win on Sunday might cost them their choice of quarterbacks in the draft.
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