Football fans can’t wait for the day in April when their team’s upcoming schedule is released. It’s become the event that signals that the Draft is coming, camps aren’t too far behind, and that the countdown to opening day is around the corner. Even when they don’t involve our favorite team, there are some games that football fans recognize as must-see matchups. Three of those games are on tap for the Denver Broncos this season.
Peyton and company will travel to Met Life Stadium week 2 for what the media has dubbed the “Manning Bowl.” This meeting will be the first since the Giants’ two Super Bowl wins, and since Peyton’s return to football after missing the 2011 season.
The Mannings have faced off only twice in their careers. On September 10, 2006 the Colts bested the Giants by a score of 26 – 21, and on September 19, 2010 Indy pummeled New York 38 – 14. Giants fans will tell you that the outcome will be different this year, because Eli is now a 2-time Champion whose confidence and talent have finally developed. Broncos fans will counter that Peyton’s multiple award-winning talent and additional years of experience will win out yet again.
No matter how gracious and complimentary the brothers are of each other in the media, and despite Eli’s claims that there is no sibling rivalry because he won’t let one develop, there is bound to be some truth to this.
Week 7 takes the Broncos to Lucas Oil Stadium, better known to many as the House that Peyton Built. There is no doubt that there will be much hype and sentiment surrounding this homecoming, and that the fans will welcome the man who led their team for 13 seasons with quite an ovation.
The Broncos/Colts series began way back in 1974 when the Colts were still in Baltimore. The first game between the Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts was in 1985. Denver leads the series 11-10, but since Peyton was drafted the Colts have won 8 out of 10 matchups.
Peyton will face off against fellow 1st overall draft pick Andrew Luck, who is not just the man who took his place, but had, aside from completion percentage, a much better rookie season than Peyton had with the Colts. Luck even got the Colts to the first round of the Playoffs as a rookie.
This game is not only a matter of pride for Peyton, it’s one in which he wants to drive the point home that he hasn’t lost a step. Manning had to stand by on the sidelines and watch in frustration as his team struggled through mediocrity in the 2011 season. Although he was healthy, the Colts weren’t willing to risk another losing season, and chose to release him to make room for a younger QB.
The Washington Redskins travel to Denver week 8. This game marks Mike Shanahan’s return to Sports Authority Field at Mile High since he was fired back in 2008, He’ll face the quarterback to whom his (then) Broncos lost back to back Wild Card Playoff games in 2003 and 2004.
Denver and Washington have played a total of 12 times since 1970. The series is tied 6-6, and Washington won the last game in 2009 by a score of 27-17.
For the second week in a row, Peyton will face a standout rookie who was selected high in the draft in Robert Griffin III. Griffin will be in the midst of a comeback season like Manning was the season before. If the Redskins are playing well and RGIII has improved on his already impressive rookie performance, this will be a great mid-season matchup.
Mark these three games on your calendar; they’ll offer more than great football. The first may very well be the last time we get to see the Manning Bowl, and the last two represent the official changing of the guard in the NFL at quarterback.
Find me on Twitter @dvnmsm