In a matchup of two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time as well as two of the best teams in the league we have a fantastic game in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos had a tough overtime loss to the Seahawks this season and have won every other game. The 4 games after the bye week have been convincing blowout wins and the team has never looked better. They faced a tough Chargers opponent last week and combined for 28 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters in the 35-21 win. While new wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has been a consistent performer this season, he had not found his way into the end zone during the seasons first 6 weeks. He made up for lost time last week with 3 touchdown catches while catching all 9 passes thrown his way for 120 yards. Running back Ronnie Hillman had his best game filling in for injured starter Montee Ball and his backup; Juwan Thompson was the beneficiary of his hard work with two short touchdown runs. The Patriots were completely dominant throughout their blow out 51-23 win over the Bears last week. Tom Brady nearly hit every one of his intended targets. He eneded up going 30-35 passing with 4 of those passes being drops so there was only one errant pass thrown all night long en route to his 354 yards and 5 touchdown performance. At one point the patriots scored 3 touchdowns in 53 seconds. All of this leads to what could be a classic game in New England this Sunday.
Despite what the hype around the game may insinuate, Manning is not going up against Tom Brady this weekend. It is in fact a team game featuring the Broncos and the 49ers. Manning’s 22 touchdown passes are tied for the lead league with Andrew Luck. The fact that Sanders caught his first touchdown pass last week is an example of how much he spreads the ball around to different receivers. Don’t be surprised if veteran wide receiver Wes Welker gets a few more passes thrown his way against his former team on Sunday. He has found his targets reduced but is still capable of having a big day. They will again be without Ball so they will be counting on Hillman to be productive against a tough Patriot defensive line.
The Patriots bring a 13 game home winning streak into this game. They have improved every week and seem to be rounding into elite shape. The defense has evolved into more of a man-to-man system to take maximum advantage of cornerback Darrelle Revis and his ability to take away one side of the field. Tight End Rob Gronkowski started off playing limited snaps in his return from injury, however he is now all the way back and his production is again amongst the elite in the league. Brady has 14 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his last 4 games.
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