Sunday, October the 9th marks not the beginning of a new chapter, but a whole new book in the storied Brady-Manning rivalry.
Hold your horses – this one won’t be your classic shootout that we’ve seen in years’ past. Peyton Manning’s move from the Indianapolis Colts to the Denver Broncos has him sitting atop the saddle of a whole new stallion.
Despite Manning’s efforts to thwart Brady’s success at home, the Broncos will be unable to buck the trend of the Patriots posting over 40 points against one of the better defenses in the league.
11-time Pro Bowl CB Champ Bailey will most certainly be a factor in Sunday’s matchup. In the two games against Denver last season, Tom Brady threw to Bailey only once. Bill Belichick backed up that level of respect this week, stating that Bailey was one of the best all-around corners in the league. In Friday’s press conference, Belichick lauded Bailey for his ability to matchup with bigger, physical receivers at the line, as well as containing undersized, quicker receivers in the passing game. Belichick says of Bailey, “…if he gets his hands on them and jams them, he can destroy the route right off the bat... He’s on a lot of routes just because he’s experienced and he’s smart. “
Despite Champ’s overwhelming presence in the secondary, there’s no reason to believe that Brady won’t have the type of success he’s had in the past year against Denver.
One of the cornerstones of this year’s Patriot offense is the ability to spread the ball around to all receivers in the passing game. Versatility is really the name of the game. New to this year is a solid running game. The presence of a consistent running attack has proved to be one of the aspects that allows Brady to control the pace of a game. Down 21-7 against Buffalo last week, the Patriots elected to run the ball. While any other pass-heavy offense would’ve been forced to throw the ball, Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels continued to run the ball against a spread out Buffalo defense showing nickel and dime packages.
Pay little attention to the rivalry of Manning-Brady – this one shouldn’t be too close. Expect the Patriots offense to roll, and Manning to have an above average performance.
Prediction: Patriots 42, Broncos 24. (3-2)