The easiest path for the Patriots to advance to Super Bowl 50 involves Peyton Manning playing all 60 minutes of football this coming Sunday. So, Patriots fans should want Manning to show a little bit of life early. Complete five or six passes to DeMaryius Thomas on those dreaded eight-yard out patterns. Maybe even cross mid-field a few times in the first half. One field goal and one touchdown for the Broncos in the first half should do the trick to make it impossible for Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak to remove “The Legend” without Jim Nantz acting like Joe Buck did the time Randy Moss rubbed his butt on a Lambeau Field goalpost (that is a disgusting act!).
The Pats really can’t be too good early on this Sunday. So someone had better tell Malcolm Butler to take it easy from around 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.. Patience is a virtue.
Because, if the Patriots do humiliate Manning in the first half like they are capable of, Brock Osweiler will enter the game and the game will change. No matter what the score, an Osweiler entry will give that stadium life, just as Manning’s re-entry into the lineup gave the Broncos life back on Jan. 3 against San Diego.
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Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise this week. Manning has been putrid this season and his time as an elite, even-above-average QB in the NFL, is over. If the Broncos are to somehow advance and win the Super Bowl with Manning taking all the snaps, it should be viewed as a Trent Dilfer 2.0 situation. Because Manning is, at best, a game-manager at this stage of his career. He is not throwing for 400 yards in a game this Sunday or any Sunday ever again.
Consider this. Manning has played in 11 games this season. In just one game -against the Lions, indoors, way back on Sept. 27, 2015 - has he had a passer rating of over 100 (101.7 – so, barely).
In 19 games played two years ago, Manning (likely with a little help from Ashley Manning’s section of the Manning family medicine cabinet) had a whopping 11 games in which he had an above 100.0 passer rating.
In 17 games played so far this season, Tom Brady has nine games in which he’s eclipsed the passer rating century mark.
In other words, it’s not a fair fight anymore. Manning is Michael Jordan with the Wizards in 2003 … only much, much worse.
Brady will easily be the best quarterback wandering around the new Mile High stadium this Sunday. The dirty little secret is that Osweiler will be the clear No. 2 (sorry, Jimmy G.).
Patriots fans should really hope that the secret doesn’t get out.