Posted October 03, 2012 on AP on Fox
The Denver Broncos ended last season with a dreadful performance at Gillette Stadium, one that in part led to their pursuit of a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Having been on the winning side in recent games against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, Peyton Manning will try to deliver some redemption for the Broncos in Sunday's matchup of 2-2 teams. Denver ended a five-year playoff drought in 2011 and won its opening-round game in overtime with Tim Tebow leading the way. The Broncos, though, were shellacked 45-10 the next week in New England as Tebow went 9 of 26 for 136 yards while Brady threw for 363 and matched a career high with six touchdowns. When Manning became available following 14 years in Indianapolis, the Broncos were among the eager suitors and eventually signed him to a five-year, $96 million deal. Following some early difficulties coming off a season-long absence due to neck surgeries, Manning appeared to find his groove in last week's 37-6 rout of Oakland. After completing only half of his passes in a loss to Houston on Sept. 23, he was 30 of 38 against the Raiders for a season-high 338 yards and three touchdowns. Manning wasn't sacked for the first time this season and didn't throw an interception for the third time in four contests. "The key that I've said all along is just trying to keep making progress somehow," Manning said. "That doesn't always show on the scoreboard - you'd like to win every game as you're feeling your way and learning about your team and learning about yourself a little bit. "So, there's still a lot of that going on, for me out there as the quarterback, and for our team, sort of figuring things out." Manning will try to keep that momentum going against his longtime rival. He has won four of the past six matchups with Brady, including the AFC championship game Jan. 21, 2007, but the New England quarterback has prevailed in eight of the 12 overall between the two superstars. "We've had our fair share of meaningful games against a Peyton Manning-led offense when he was with the Colts," Brady said. "He seems like he's got this team really in the hunt as well. They lost two very close games and were in it right until the end. He's a phenomenal player, leader and quarterback and it's great watching him play out there." Brady is coming off a dominant performance of his own and a much-needed one for his team. Avoiding their first three-game losing streak in a decade, the Patriots blew out Buffalo 52-28 last week after falling behind 21-7. Brady had three touchdown passes and ran for another score while leading six consecutive touchdown drives in the second half and New England became the second team in NFL history to have two 100-yard rushers (Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley) and receivers (Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski) in the same game. The Patriots defense allowed more than 300 passing yards for the second straight week but also forced six turnovers. "We need to do a better job starting the game and that's what we're focused on," wide receiver Brandon Lloyd said, "starting the game, staying out of long-yardage situations, being more productive on second and third down. "We're not going to sit here and take any moral victories about how we performed in the second half because our first half was not what we expect to perform like on Sunday." The Patriots performed superbly in their two matchups with Denver last season, outscoring the Broncos by a combined 86-33 and gaining more than 450 yards in each game. Denver, though, has a new defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, and four new defensive starters in this game: cornerback Tracy Porter, safety Mike Adams, tackle Justin Bannan and rookie end Derek Wolfe. The Broncos are ranked in the top 10 in average points and yards allowed after ranking 24th and 20th, respectively, a year ago. "They're active. They're very fast. Their secondary is quite different than what we played back in January," said Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Denver's former head coach. "We have to do a good job of trying to defend, if you will, all the different things that they throw at you." Sunday's game will feature another reunion with Dan Koppen expected to start at center for Denver in place of the injured J.D. Walton. Koppen was signed three weeks ago after being released by New England, where he played nine seasons. Lloyd will be facing Denver for the first time since the Broncos traded him to St. Louis last season, and Gronkowski will get a chance to face his brother Chris, a fullback for Denver.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Against the spread: NFL predictions for week 5

My NFL predictions for week 5 include rivalry games and upsets. The week began Thursday night with the St. Louis Rams for knocking the Arizona Cardinals out of the ranks of the undefeated. Now is the time when we will begin to really see which teams are contenders…and which are pretenders. The tone has been set…these teams are who we thought they were…to quote former Arizona...

Tom Brady Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, Ties Peyton Manning's Record Mark

Tom Brady was Tom Brady on Sunday. That's enough to be named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. Brady's big performance against the Bills on Sunday netted him the honor for the 21st time, which ties Peyton Manning's mark for the most Player of the Week awards earned by a player since the accolade was instituted in 1984. Brady was in vintage form while dominating Buffalo...

Vote: Where Does Peyton Manning Rank Among the NFL's Top Quarterbacks?

When Peyton Manning returned from multiple neck surgeries this season, we didn't know what to expect from the All Pro signal caller. It's been a mixed bag so far in 2012. Manning has looked like his old self at times this season. He had great games against Pittsburgh and Oakland, picking back up where he left off with his no huddle, high-speed offense. Manning has also struggled...

Outsiders Perspective: New England Patriots

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning meet on the field for the 13th time Sunday in Foxboro. We all know this weekend is about Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, no matter what each quarterback tells you. But for one second, let’s indulge their insistent “it’s Patriots vs. Broncos” remarks and look at how the Patriots vs. Broncos fare in the eyes of Football Outsiders‘ smarter stats...

Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots: Three Bold Predictions

A rivalry is about to be renewed in the NFL as Tom Brady faces Peyton Manning for the first time as the signal caller for the Denver Broncos. It's always difficult to make bold predictions when these two first ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks meet, but let's take a look at three big, bad bold predictions for the Sunday afternoon match up at Gillette Stadium.Bold Prediction...

Vince Wilfork Believes Peyton Manning is in League With Tom Brady and Phillip Rivers as Most Competitive Quarterbacks (Video)

Peyton Manning has been known as a hard worker his entire NFL career, and Vince Wilfork understands how much work the four-time MVP puts in. Just like his own quarterback, Tom Brady. That's why Wilfork and the Patriots' defense are studying up as much as ever this week, as they prepare for Manning and the Broncos to visit Gillette Stadium on Sunday. "Once again it'...

Denver Broncos: Week 5 NFL Power Rankings (#9)

Last week: 9 (+0) Record 2-2 See, Peyton Manning wasn’t done. He just needed to face the Raiders. After 3 less than stellar performances in his first 3 games against tough defenses (Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Houston), Manning exploded for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns on 30 of 38 passing against the Raiders’ lowly defense. He’s not the player he once was, but he’s still pretty good...

Battle of the Old Heads:Broncos vs Patriots Preview

When Denver travels to New England this Sunday, will it be a match up between the Broncos and Patriots or a battle of Brady and Manning?  Well it's both in a big early season game for both teams.  They both sit at 2 - 2 and believe me, neither quarterback wants to fall under .500 and fall back in their respective divisions.  But let's get real!  The intrigue of this game...

Tom Brady and Gisele Suffer a Heart-Breaking Loss

Sad news in advance of the New England Patriots' highly anticipated show-down against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos this weekend, Tom Brady and his family suffered a big loss this week: Gisele's 15-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Vida.  Gisele Bundchen posted this message on Facebook to her fans: "Let’s never take for granted the unconditional love that...

Fantasy Football Week 5 Start em, Sit em Lineup Advice

Sorry for the absence the last few weeks. The combination of touring (yes, I’m in a couple of bands, The Twin Cats and Cosby Sweater) and moving sort of got the best of me. So let’s get right to it. Here are some players you will definitely start, and some others you will definitely want to sit, for Week 5 of the fantasy football season. Suddenly, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has fumblitis...

Game Balls: Broncos 37, Raiders 6

Broncos 37, Raiders 6 — you know what a victory means, fellas. Give out your BT Game Balls! Eric Decker: I have been hard on Eric Decker basically since he has been a rookie. Whether it was that he was a better punt/kick returner than receiver or that he was only good to catch every third pass that came his way. When I say pictures of him last off-season hanging out with Kyle...

After Week 4, New England Patriots: “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.”

The New England Patriots are now 2-2 with a 52-28 blowout victory over the Buffalo Bills. But with such an uneven start to the season, Patriots fans are left scratching their heads wondering which Pats team is going to show up each week. Here is a breakdown: The Good: After their first three games, having their first losing record since 2003, the Patriots had something to prove....
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.