When the Patriots face the Denver Broncos on Sunday for the AFC Championship, it could be the final showdown between two legendary quarterbacks. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have both had remarkable careers and they will be facing off for the 21st time including playoff appearances. The Brady-led teams hold a 11-5 advantage in the regular season while the playoff games have been a draw with each QB winning two games. The focus locally has been how Brady is still playing at an elite level and Manning is on a significant decline. The feeling is that Manning cannot beat the Patriots with his arm in this game. Brady, on the other hand, has everything going for him and should lead his team to another Super Bowl if he plays a typical Brady game.
The general consensus in New England is that the Patriots are on to another Super Bowl appearance. This being despite the fact that Tom Brady is 2-6 in Denver in his career. The Broncos were the best team in the regular season. They have home field advantage. So, why is there so much overconfidence? The reason is simple. Peyton Manning. Most Patriots fans don’t believe he can make the throws to win the game. They may be right. Manning is not the quarterback he was in 2014 when the Broncos dominated the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots. At least he hasn’t been this year. However, who is to say that he isn’t capable of putting something together for one game? He has elite receivers. And granted, while he didn’t look great last week, he did have several passes dropped by his receivers. Despite all of this, Patriots fans actually feel stronger about Manning losing this game than the Patriots winning it.
Here’s the deal. The Patriots are going to have a tough time winning in Denver as they always do. This game is not going to be a blowout. The Patriots have the better quarterback. The rest of the weapons on offense? There’s a slight edge to the Broncos. The Broncos have the better defense.
Like it or not, this game is about Brady and Manning once again. This isn’t a matter of one quarterback being cooked. Manning is fully capable of playing well just as he’s capable of having a poor game. Brady is much less likely to have a poor game. He has been the model of consistency throughout his career and throughout this season. Manning has not been. However, for all of the talk about how Brady has dominated Manning in the playoffs how would it look if the final tally was 3-2 in favor on Manning? If the Broncos win, that would be their record going down in history. That would not make Manning the better quarterback. However, it would give him that playoff edge anytime this debate comes up.
The Brady vs. Manning debate is over in terms of who is the better all-time quarterback for the majority of fans. Brady and the Patriots have an opportunity to make it indisputable. Manning and the Broncos have a chance to leave it open for debate.
There’s a lot on the line here in the final showdown between these two great legends. Don’t overlook Peyton Manning. He is not the better quarterback, but he is at the very least, capable of playing well on Sunday and being the better QB for one game.