Los Angeles Times
A matchup no one will want to pass up
DENVER — There’s an epic NFL matchup here Sunday afternoon.
Oh, yes, there’s also the rest of the AFC championship game between New England and Denver.
But Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will square off for the 17th time in their illustrious careers as star quarterbacks, a marquee matchup that will never feature both of them on the field at the same time.
The Patriots’ Brady is 11-5 their head-to-head meetings, dating to Manning’s days with Indianapolis.
Brady might have the overall edge, but Manning walked away the winner the last two times they played and is 2-1 against the Patriots in conference championship games. What’s more, neither quarterback has beaten the other on the road since 2007.
“I think he’s an incredible player and any time you face that caliber of player — and there are a lot of great quarterbacks in the NFL; Peyton has been one of the best to ever play — you’ve got to be at your best,” Brady said. “You can’t play anything less than your best and expect to win, because he’s going to play well and he’s going to have that team playing well.”
beat the Broncos, it would make its ninth trip to the Super Bowl, an NFL record. Currently the Patriots are tied at eight appearances with Dallas and Pittsburgh. Denver has seven, San Francisco six.
The Patriots beat Seattle in last year’s Super Bowl. Twelve teams have gone back to the NFL’s biggest stage after winning it all the year before. Of those 12 teams that made the return trip, eight won the Super Bowl
Clearly, the Broncos weren’t concerned with the prospect of providing bulletin-board material for the Patriots.
In an interview with “ProFootballTalk Live,” Denver linebacker Malik Jackson called Brady a “whiner” who “definitely throws temper tantrums.”
That came on the heels of fellow Broncos linebacker Antonio Smith telling reporters the same thing. Asked if the Patriots quarterback is a crybaby, Smith said (via the Colorado Springs Gazette): “That would be an accurate statement. I’ve never seen any quarterback look at the referee right after he gets sacked more than Brady.
“Every time he gets sacked he looks at the ref like, ‘You see him sack me? Was that supposed to happen? He did it a little hard. Please throw a 15-yard penalty on him. Get him fined.’ ”
By the numbers
Typically, it’s not smart to bet against Manning or Brady. Thing is, Manning was only intermittently sharp against Pittsburgh in the divisional round and, although he has never been a high-velocity passer, all the zip is off his throws. With Denver cornerback Chris Harris banged up, Brady should have an easier time getting the ball out quickly and beating the Broncos pass rush. PATRIOTS 30, BRONCOS 20