It’s the Manning Bowl III as the 1-0 Denver Broncos travel to the Meadowlands to take on the 0-1 New York Giants. While older brother Peyton threw for seven touchdowns in the Thursday night opener, little bro Eli wasn’t so lucky—he also threw for seven—total TDs and picks (4 and 3).
But in this Week 2 battle, it’s not all about the Mannings, even though they were the two leading passers from Week 1. Both teams boast dynamic receivers as there are five players in this game who had over 100 yards receiving in Week 1, and that’s not even including Broncos wideout Wes Welker, who still had a monster game by scoring two touchdowns. So expect a Sunday afternoon shootout in this one.
Where: MetLife Stadium, New Jersey
When: September 15, 2013, 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket, Game Rewind
Broncos Player to Watch: Shaun Phillips
Without Von Miller, it is on Phillips to generate a pass rush for the Broncos. He did it against Baltimore, coming up with 2.5 sacks. The Giants O-Line is banged up, so there’s a good chance for Phillps to pressure Eli and force him into bad throws.
Giants Player to Watch: Victor Cruz
We’ll all be watching Cruz after his three touchdown explosion Sunday night. Champ Bailey’s status for Sunday is still up in the air, so it’s likely that Cruz will be covered by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The whole Giants receiving core is worth watching, since they won’t be running much with RB David Wilson unable to hold onto the football. But Cruz is Eli’s top target and Denver cannot let him make big plays out of the slot.
Matchup to Watch: Peyton Manning vs. Giants D-Line
The Ravens could not generate any semblance of pass rush and Manning picked them apart. Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Cullen Jenkins form a D-Line that was better than the one Big Blue had in 2012. The two guys to watch specifically here will be Pierre-Paul and Broncos LT Ryan Clady. These two Pro-Bowlers will be battling all game and at the very least, this Giants pass rush will not allow Manning to throw seven TDs.
I expect the Giants to contend in the NFC East and they’ll have a hard time doing that if they start 0-2. The Broncos offense is good, but no way they will roll that Thursday night performance over to Week 2. The G-Men had some bad luck against the Cowboys, but I think they will catch the breaks against Denver.
Eli is due for his first win over older bro Peyton, and I think he gets it and keeps up his tendency of winning big games.
Giants 31, Broncos 27