NFL players of the week: Peyton Manning is back everyone

Peter Aiken

The Denver Broncos quarterback had a nice Thanksgiving weekend, and now he's ready to stake his claim on the MVP again.

Peyton Manning has never had a really bad game this season. That doesn't sound like a lot of praise, but even the most talented passers tend to lay a stinker once in a while. There haven't been those moments in 2013, and that's one of the many reasons he's been awesome this season.

Passer of the week: Peyton Manning, 22-for-35, 403 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions, 118.2 passer rating

For a while it looked like Peyton Manning would crumble. The Broncos quarterback threw two early interceptions, and it appeared he couldn't contend with the overwhelming Chiefs defense.

Then something happened. It wasn't that the game got considerably easier, but that Manning seemed to find another gear. Passes that looked difficult early on suddenly became simple, while receivers found gaps in soft coverage.

Manning finished with five touchdowns. It was the sixth time this season he's thrown four touchdowns or more -- and for that alone he deserves top honors.

Rusher of the week: Adrian Peterson, 35 attempts, 211 yards

The only thing Peterson didn't do on Sunday was score a touchdown, but we can't hold that against him. Running for over 200 yards is a rare feat, and he became one of the few players to reach the mark five times in his career.

It helped matters that Chicago's run defense was terrible. The Bears couldn't tackle Peterson, routinely missing tackles and watching helplessly as he ran into the second level. It was an astonishing game that saw the reigning MVP succeed not only as a volume runner, but an efficient one -- averaging over 6.0 yards per carry.

Receiver of the week: Eric Decker, eight receptions, 174 yards, four touchdowns

This category probably won't win me any fans. Truth be told, there are three players who deserve this accolade, with Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery both having amazing 200+ yard games.

Decker's four touchdowns mitigate the near 100 yards of receiving he lacked compared to his competition. He became the catalyst for Manning's turnaround, routinely finding holes in coverage and making huge plays. It was a truly remarkable day where the entire Chiefs secondary knew there was one player it had to cover, yet continually struggled to stop him.

Gordon and Jeffery will have their days soon enough.

Defender of the week: Justin Tuck, five tackles, 4.0 sacks

Robert Griffin III needed a strong game and impressive win in the worst way. The Washington Redskins quarterback had been maligned in the media and criticized for his off-field demeanor, but Giants defensive end Justin Tuck ensured he wouldn't break out.

Tuck matched his entire 2012 sack total in one game. Until the Sunday Night Football matchup, he only had 2.5 sacks on the season, but he was a standout against Washington. The four sacks in isolation are impressive, but he hurried RGIII another three times and hit him once.

A total of eight pressures is enough to cement Justin Tuck as the defensive player of the week.

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