This NFL week marks the 17th career meeting between future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Denver vs. New England might be the Game of the Week because the teams are a combined 12-3 and seem bound for an AFC Championship Game rematch. But, really, it’s Week 9’s premier attraction because of the two men out front.
Manning vs. Brady feels like Canton. Like you’ll get your money’s worth no matter the ticket price. It’s the first meeting in NFL history between QBs with at least 150 career victories.
Brady owns a 10-6 advantage head-to-head, but Manning claimed the most recent meeting, last season’s playoff duel for a Super Bowl berth.
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Brady, 37, brings into Sunday’s game in Foxborough an 87-13 home record. Manning, 38, brings a current streak of 13 consecutive multiple-touchdown games, and can set the record with another this weekend.
Who’s greater? Manning will likely retire as the more prolific in terms of statistics, but Brady’s 3-1 lead in Super Bowl wins will echo across time.
Why must we always choose who’s greater?
Manning-Brady is, for me, like an Ali-Frazier fight was back in the day. It’s like a pitcher’s duel between two Cooperstown-bound all-time greats. Steve Carlton vs. Nolan Ryan, perhaps?
You watch, and you appreciate.
Because you know the number of times left is dwindling to see these two on the same field.
Seventeen teams have played eight games; the other 15 get there this week. So come the King Sport Halftime Awards:
▪ MVP — Peyton Manning, Broncos QB: I know, boring. Him again? But he’s the top-rated passer for the Super Bowl-favorite team. His award to lose.
▪ Offensive Player of the Year — DeMarco Murray, Cowboys RB: Has eight consecutive 100s to start the season, a record, and could challenge Eric Dickerson’s durable season mark.
▪ Defensive POY — J.J. Watt, Texans DE: This one is forgone. Nobody else is close.
▪ Other categories — Offensive Rookie of the Year: Sammy Watkins, Bills WR; Defensive Rookie of the Year: C.J. Mosley, Ravens LB; Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians, Cardinals.
▪ Dolphins MVP — Ryan Tannehill, QB. Wide-open race, but Tannehill has made big, recent strides since Joe Philbin declined to say who was starting.
▪ The four 400-yard passing games last Sunday — by Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Nick Foles and Andrew Luck — were the most on a single day in NFL history.
▪ Texan Arian Foster’s 31st career 100-yard rushing game tied retired Priest Holmes for most ever by an undrafted running back.
▪ Updated Super Bowl betting odds, via Bovada: Denver now a clear favorite at 5-2, followed by Seahawks at 8-1, Patriots 9-1 and Packers 10-1.
MVP now seen as a two-man race, with Manning 3-2, Murray 2-1 and nobody else better than 10-1.
▪ Dolphins remain a longshot for one of six AFC playoff spots, say the computers at makenflplayoffs.com. Broncos, Colts and Patriots are a clear top three.
After that, it’s a wild scrum among the Chargers (46.9 percent likelihood), Bengals (46.8), Steelers (46.6), Bills (44.6), Ravens (44.2), Chiefs (37.3) and Dolphins (34.3).