It’s 2006 again. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning appear to be on a crash course. Both quarterbacked arguably the best teams in the league (the Broncos and Patriots ranked 2nd and 3rd in the NFL in DVOA, but I don’t trust #1 Seattle on the road). Both are MVP candidates. Peyton Manning is currently viewed as the favorite, but I think that’s both undeserved and beneficial to the Patriots. I’ll go into the former here and the latter in New England’s write up.
The Patriots and Broncos played back in week 5 and the Patriots got a pretty convincing 10 point win, Denver’s biggest of the season. The Broncos also lost to Atlanta and Houston early on the season and as a result they are just 2-3 on the season against playoff teams. The Broncos have won 11 in a row since the New England loss, but only 2 of them (Cincinnati and Baltimore) came against teams with a record of .500 or better. I think it’s clear that the Broncos are a better team than the one that started the season out 2-3, but I don’t think they’re as improved as people think.
Projected fate: Lose to New England in AFC Championship