Jussel: Guaranteed: Archie’s boys will air it out
Peyton vs. Eli.
Think Archie will be watching?
Today the Denver Broncos are in New York for a visit with the Giants. It’s a 2:25 p.m. MDT start, moved back from the morning time slot to Almost Prime Time.
Think the ball will travel more by air than land in this matchup of Manning Bros.?
Peyton and the Broncos put the ball up 42 times in the 49-27 win over Baltimore for 462 yards and seven — yes, seven — touchdown passes.
Eli and the Giants tried to keep pace, putting the ball up the same 42 times for 450 yards and four touchdowns. He, too, might have had seven TD passes had not Dallas defenders had the audacity to catch three of his tosses in the Cowboys’ 36-31 win.
The Broncos ran only to slow the pass rush against the Ravens, 23 attempts netting only 65 yards. The Giants, who fell behind early, neglected the rush to the tune of 14 attempts for 50 yards.
Next up for either or both teams? How about ignoring the running game altogether and putting a couple more offensive linemen onto the field for protective purposes. Hmm? An idea being hatched?
The teams are eerily similar in strengths: quarterbacking; receivers; pass rushers from the outside; and plenty of beef on both sides of the ball.
The big difference?
Denver has simply been more consistent. The Giants make mistakes as six turnovers against the Cowboys would suggest, while the Broncos do everything in their power not to (see Hillman, Ronnie).
Consistency has been the big difference in the decade-plus of Manning brothers action in the NFL. While Eli is ahead in Super Bowl victories 2-1, Peyton rates better in most other categories, especially when it comes to taking care of the ball.
Peyton has thrown 443 TD passes in his 14 years and only 209 interceptions, better than a 2-to-1 ratio. In Eli’s 10 years, he has thrown 215 TDs and 147 interceptions. Peyton has lost 59 fumbles, Eli 72. Peyton has a 96.0 passer rating for his career, Eli 82.9.
Peyton, most days, is better.
Today should be no exception because the Giants are hurting in a couple of spots that the Broncos certainly will test early and often.
Giant starting corner Prince Amukamara sustained a concussion in the Dallas game and is questionable.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, one of the league’s top pass rushers, had back surgery in the summer, missed most of training camp and is still playing his way back into shape. He did have a sack in limited action against the Cowboys.
The Giants also lost starting safety Stevie Brown for the year in preseason and his replacement, Ryan Mundy, also sustained a concussion Sunday and is questionable.
Peyton knows all this.
Eli and the Giants are not without weapons. Wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are one of the league’s top duos, and each had five receptions in Week 1, with Cruz scoring three times. Tight tight end Brandon Myers is in the mix often, as his seven receptions against Dallas show.
Running back David Wilson is one of the league’s fastest out of the backfield and often targeted in the passing game.
However, his two fumbles against the Cowboys put him on the bench and into Coughlin’s dog house (see Hillman, Ronnie) so deeply that Coughlin went looking for more running backs early in the week and eventually signed Brandon Jacobs, a former Giant, over Willis McGahee, the former Bronco.
The Broncos are deep enough in the secondary, even with Champ Bailey out of the lineup, to at least slow Eli and maybe come up with a turnover or two. The Giants, on the other hand, simply don’t have enough D-backs to match up with Denver’s slew of receivers.
Those matchups, a couple extra days to prepare for the Broncos thanks to that Thursday night affair, and the fact the Broncos have won 12 regular-season games in a row while the Giants have lost six of their past 10 games, would suggest Denver wins another.
High-scoring? You bet.
Being 1-0 on the season picking with or against the Broncos, I say Denver cracks 40 again, winning 41-31.
Rick Jussel is a former Daily Sentinel sports editor and Grand Junction High School journalism teacher.