It seems as if the reports of Peyton Manning's demise were greatly exaggerated. Sure, he doesn't have the arm strength he once did. But that doesn't mean he still isn't one of the best quarterbacks in the game, and he'll look to prove that again Sunday when the Denver Broncos host the Minnesota Vikings.
Manning lit up thein Week 3, going 31-of-42 for 324 yards and two touchdowns in the ' 24-12 win. He even exhibited some of that arm strength of old, such as when he connected with for a 34-yard completion on Denver's final drive of the game. The Broncos scored a touchdown three plays later when Manning found tight end in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Through three games this season, Manning has completed 63.8 percent of his passes and thrown for 755 yards to go along with five touchdowns and three interceptions. It's not a performance on par with how he opened last year, but he remains a big asset to the Broncos rather than a hindrance.
Given the Broncos' defensive prowess, Manning doesn't have to light up the scoreboard each week to win. Denver has the top-rated defense in the league, only allowing an average of 16.3 points per game and 259 yards. In fact, because of how well the Broncos are playing on defense, this could be their most complete club in the Manning era. Their only real weak point is the running game, which currently ranks last in the league.
The 2-1have a big challenge in front of them Sunday, though they're probably feeling confident coming off a 31-14 win over the in Week 3. stole the show for the second consecutive week, rushing for 126 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 20 carries. He's rebounded after a putrid performance in Week 1, gaining 318 yards from scrimmage over the last two contests.
Second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater didn't have to do much against the Chargers last week, completing 13 of 24 passes for 121 yards and an interception. He may have more on his shoulders in Denver, especially if the Broncos can jump out to an early lead.
The Vikings' pass rush put the pressure on San Diego quarterback, taking advantage of a depleted Chargers offensive line that lost center , left guard and left tackle King Dunlap. Rivers was hit 13 times, and also threw a pick-six to linebacker .
Bridgewater might face that kind of pressure Sunday when he'll be going up against one of the best pass rushing duos in the league,and Von Miller. The Broncos have forced 10 turnovers so far this season, and could goad the young Bridgewater to make some mistakes.
Ultimately, that's what the game may come down to. Manning remains one of the smartest quarterbacks in the game, and should take care of the football. He will be taking on a Vikings pass defense that ranks 17th overall.
This isn't the high-powered Broncos attack of seasons past, but it doesn't have to be. A suffocating defense and timely offense is a winning combination.
How to Watch:
When: 4:25 p.m. ET
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver
Commentators: Kevin Burkhardt,, Pam Oliver
Online: NFL Game Pass