Championship Sunday is only two days away and once again we’re privileged to another heavyweight fight between Tom Brady & Peyton Manning. These two are the Magic + Bird of our era; displaying greatness and memorable moments within every match they’ve played. However, this year’s game will be very different from all the rest; for one, this will be the final battle between the two [assuming Manning does the smart thing and retires at the end of the season] and secondly, the Patriots are facing a skill depleted Peyton Manning who is practically playing on one leg.
Anyone who’s watched [or listened to] Manning’s play this season will admit that he’s not what he used to be; not even close. The old adage of Father Time being undefeated has once again proven true and it’s been very painful to watch. Manning has never had a ‘strong’ arm (like Elway or Marino) but he’s always been able to get the ball where it needed to go with pinpoint accuracy. Now when you watch him, his throws flutter and in some cases, are up for grabs to anyone in their vicinity.
Yes, Manning’s career is nearing it’s inevitable end; but will it end on the highest of highs or will he once again succumb to the playoff demons that have haunted him throughout his illustrious career?
Manning’s my favorite football player and I’ve followed his career since his rookie season. Living in New England hasn’t been easy being one of the few [if not only] Manning fan in the area; especially given the unprecedented success that Brady and the Patriots have had against Manning along with the rest of the league. Even still, I don’t regret my fandom for a second and I’m hoping [and praying] that Manning can turn the corner and defeat Brady one last time.
Unfortunately, I don’t see Manning being able to pull off the miracle and beat Brady this weekend. As great as the Broncos defense is, you have to be able to score whenever you’re facing Brady; and I don’t think Manning’s going to be able to do that. I hope like hell I’m wrong, but if last weekend’s game is any indication, the Broncos offense is going to have to rely heavily on a running game that has been anything but consistent; not to mention their facing the best coach in the league at taking away your best offensive weapon(s). I’m taking the Patriots 21-17.
The Brady vs. Manning matchups (rooting interests aside) have been exciting to watch. As football fans, we’ve had the opportunity to witness two of the best who have ever played, go head-to-head (so to speak); and it’s been an honor and a pleasure to go along for the ride.