QB Greats Face Off In AFC Title Game

Image courtesy of sportingnews.com/AP
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady meet for the 15th time in their careers. Image courtesy of sportingnews.com/AP

Two sure-fire future Hall of Famers meet on Monday morning (AEST) for what could be the final time in the postseason as Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos host Tom Brady and the New England Patriots . For all of his regular season heroics, including his record-setting efforts this season, Manning still has just one Super Bowl ring from a stellar career. That’s one less than brother, Eli, and two less than Brady , who also has twice been named Super Bowl MVP. In any debate about who is the better quarterback, it will always come down to Super Bowl wins, and Manning is quickly running out of time to catch up.

Manning threw 55 touchdown passes this season, but had his worst game of the year against the Pats when New England came back from 24-0 down to win a thriller 34-31 at home in overtime. That match gave an insight, though, in to how Denver might attack the Pats, and it may not be through the air. Running back Knowshon Moreno tore the Patriots to shreds running for a career-best 224 yards, and given he had 23 carries last week in the 24-17 win over San Diego, expect the Broncos to turn to the New York-native, again, to keep the ball out of Brady’s hands. The Pats are effective against the pass ranking seventh in the league, but 30th against the run.

The Patriots couldn’t get their running game going in the November win over the Broncos, but LeGarrette Blount has exploded the past couple of starts rushing for 189 yards in the win over Buffalo in the final week of the regular season before racking up four TDs and 166 yards on the ground in the 43-22 belting of Indianapolis. Brady is thin when it comes to aerial targets, although wideout Julian Edelman has played out of his skin this year with a 1,000-yard season.

The stats that most people care about, though, are those involving the two QB greats. Brady is 10-4 over his career against Manning. His playoff record is a phenomenal 18-7, whereas Manning pales in comparison with a 10-11 lifetime mark. In their first meeting with Manning in Bronco colours, Brady was again triumphant with the Pats scoring a 31-21 victory. Given their struggles against the ground game this season, Brady’s best hope of making the big dance again probably lies in New England setting up a lead and forcing Denver to go to the air before Moreno can establish a foothold.

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