There’s a very underreported story relating to Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and Broncos: Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will be squaring off for the 15th time.
Oh, wait. That’s just about the only thing that’s been talked about leading up to the game which decides who will represent the AFC in New York at Super Bowl XLVIII.
It’s not without warrant. The pair has perhaps the NFL’s most impressive rivalry, and for all anyone knows this may be the last time they meet. Manning will turn 38 in March, and his surgically-repaired neck may limit the time he has left in his career.
But that will be determined another day. This weekend’s focus is solely on the now, even if it’s hard not to look at the rivalry’s history.
Brady’s Patriots have owned the series, winning 10 of 14 meetings. Brady also has outplayed his counterpart, holding the edge in completion percentage (67% to 61.8%) and TD to INT ratio (26-12 to 29-20).
But every game is unique, and there’s reason to like Manning to get a rare win in this series. He posted perhaps the greatest season by a quarterback in NFL history (single-season records 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdown passes).
Take the two QBs out of the equation and it looks far better for Denver to get the win on their home turf. The Broncos have elite talent just about everywhere on offense, plus a defense that has been clicking of late (20 points or less allowed in four straight games).
In short, bank on a Broncos win.