DENVER BRONCOS (1-0) AT NEW YORK GIANTS (0-1) – CBS featured game of the week @ 4:25 PM ET
Broadcast Team: Phil Simms and Jim Nance
CBS’ top afternoon game of the week will feature the NFL’s Top Sibling Set, brothers Peyton and Eli Manning. I guess former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and his wife, Olivia, will be wearing ½ Giants and ½ Broncos jerseys this week in MetLife Stadium. There will be some serious in-fighting within the NFL’s first family as younger brother Eli’s NY Giants host big brother Peyton Manning’s Broncos. For only the third time, the two poster boy quarterbacks will meet as pros. America love’s to talk about these two and their sibling rivalry, which has even extended to commercials – checkout their hilarious latest one for DirectTV Football on Your Phone.
In 2006, the Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts defeated the Giants 26-21 in, Manning Bowl I, the first game in NFL history that two quarterback brothers started for opposing teams. In Week 2 of 2010, Manning Bowl II, the rematch once again ended with similar “noogie” worthy results for Eli with Peyton’s Colts thumping the G-Men 38-14. “It is rare that you get to face your brother,” said Eli Manning (32). “You kind of appreciate that when the National Anthem is being sung and you look over and see your big brother. That’s pretty special. You have to try and enjoy it and have fun with it and understand it’s something that doesn’t happen often.” The Giants are coming off a disappointing opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys, where they turned it over six times – much to the dismay of HC Tom Coughlin — so I fully expect No. 10 to be an in formidable host to older brother Peyton.
Let’s jump in the hot-tub time machine and go back to August 16, 2011. Appearing on ESPN 1050 Radio, New York Giants QB Eli Manning was asked if he considered himself a top-five quarterback in the NFL, basically on the level of a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Which Eli strongly responded, “Yeah, I think I am… I definitely consider myself in that class”. Well you know the snickers among NFL fans and media were heard from Maine to California as many have always viewed Eli as the “other” Manning quarterback.
Former United States Attorney General Robert Kennedy must’ve heard it over one million times during his political career, “You will never be as good as your brother”. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, that was the road that Robert had to follow in walking in the footsteps of his older brother, former President John F. Kennedy. And those are similar footsteps that other less famous brothers Ken Brett (George), Eddie Payton (Walter), Patrick McEnroe (John), and others have had to walk in on “Comparison Road”.
Certainly you know that Eli has heard the same refrain just as many times in being compared to his older brother and surefire future Hall of Famer, Peyton – NFL’s only 4-time MVP. Despite leading the Giants to two Super Bowl victories (XLII and XLVI), both over Brady and the Patriots, and winning one more MVP Award than Peyton (2 to 1). There are still some stalwarts who question if “Awe Shucks” babyfaced Eli can ever possess the steely tough-guy quarterback leadership mentality of Peyton and their Father, Archie, a former NFL quarterback himself.
Former Giants teammate Tiki Barber once said of Eli, “His personality hasn’t been so that he can step up, make a strong statement and have people believe that it’s coming from his heart”. But in fairness to Eli, ever since the start of the 2011 season, which ended in his second Super Bowl MVP winning performance, he has shown on the big stage an innate ability to “out-Manning” Peyton, when it matters most.
If Eli continues to perform on an elite level in the playoffs, pretty soon Peyton (37) may soon be answering to calls of “Hey Eli’s Brother”. As the older Manning’s playoff tally now stands at 2 Super Bowls played in, 1 Super Bowl win, 1 SB MVP, 1 playoff game-winning drive, and a postseason record of 9-12. Compared to Eli’s 2 Super Bowls played in, 2 Super Bowl wins, 2 SB MVPs, 3 playoff game-winning drives and a postseason record of 8-3
Now onto looking at this game from the on the field analysis standpoint. We can expect a ton of scoring as these two teams finished No. 2 and 6 respectively Broncos 481 points; Giants 429 points) in the NFL’s team scoring category last season. Though the quarterbacks are the marquee players, I do believe the team that can run the ball more effectively and gets the most defensive pressure is going to win this game.
A big key for the Broncos will be their defense’s ability to beat-up and hit Eli Manning. But the Broncos can’t just focus on the Super Bowl XLII and XLVI MVP, as there is more to the Giants than their talented passer. Offensively, the G-Men love leaning on Eli throwing the football to his bevy of receivers including Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and emerging talent Ruben Randle. But I think one of the biggest keys on Sunday will be New York’s ability to establish the run with talented, but fumble-prone, RB David Wilson. Getting a running game going against the Broncos would allow the G-Men to tire-out Denver’s attacking defense while keeping Peyton Manning and his many offensive weapons on the sidelines.
I am sure Eli’s team will try to control the clock by running the ball and letting their defense attack the Broncos’ banged-up offensive line (brand-new center in Manny Ramirez). So watch for Giants DC Perry Fewell’s group, led by passer-rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, to try and harass Peyton Manning with constant pressure to get his high flying spread offense out of sync. It will be interesting to see how the Giants’ defense fares against Broncos’ new quarterback coach Greg Knapp’s many weapons. But you can expect to see a lot of New York’s secondary in press coverage with corners Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas, leading the way in stopping Denver’s multitude of weapons.
Offensively for the Broncos, I fully expect Peyton Manning, WR Eric Decker, and WR DeMaryius Thomas to pick right up where they left off in Week 1 – NFL leaders with 49 points scored and piled-up 517 total yards. And you can expect a ton of targets for Peyton’s favorite new “Main Man”, former Patriots slot superstar Wes Welker (9 catches for 67 yards and 2 TDs in win over Baltimore). But the Broncoss must find balance in this game and that means running the football with their new three-headed monster of 2013 draftee Montee Ball, veteran Knowshon Moreno, and Ronnie Hillman.
Simply put the Broncos have to do better in stopping the run defensively and running the football offensively (only averaged 2.8 yards per carry). Last week with the way Peyton was throwing the football – NFL record-tying 7 touchdowns in a 49-27 Opening Night win over the Baltimore Ravens – there wasn’t a need for establishing the run, but they will against the G-Men. Balance will allow Peyton Manning to then go play-action to his receivers and emerging TE Julius Thomas.
Defensively for New York, it will be incumbent on the Giants’ defense led by Pierre-Paul to force pressure and create turnovers – Denver had no turnovers in Week 1. Of course, the number one player Fewell will be targeting is Super Bowl XLI MVP Peyton Manning. But Denver also has a physical offensive line led by Pro Bowl LT Ryan Clady. The Giants will need to get to Manning so that the he can’t get the ball to Thomas, Decker, and Welker.
The Giants will also need to keep an eye on my X-factor, the explosive downfield threat WR DeMaryius Thomas (averagin 32 yards per catch in 2013). To combat the Giants anticipated attacking scheme, the Broncos will need for their offensive weapons to get their touches early. In the 2012 season, Broncos were a different team when playing with an early lead. However you can count on Tuck and his fellow D-linemen to bring their A-games.
Turnovers are going to be “huge” in this game and you know Coughlin has been preaching all week about ball security – are you listening David Wilson — after 6 turnovers in a Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
You can expect lots of offense in this game, but in the end how can you go against Peyton Manning with how red-hot he is playing right. However even though I am picking Peyton over Eli, which would make it 3-0 for Big Bro, we most assuredly will be seeing two Manning’s in Canton one day.
LV’s Pick: Broncos 34, Giants 27