Broncos turn focus to Manning Bowl after crushing Ravens

I wonder what Peyton Manning will do for an encore after throwing for 462 yards and seven touchdowns against the defending Super Bowl champions last week

Let’s revisit the first half, where the Bronco offense was sporadic at best. Manning appeared out of sync with his receivers other than Julius Thomas and was getting pressured more often than a typical 2012 regular season game.

Courtesy of a Wes Welker muffed punt inside the Denver five yard line, the Ravens somehow held a 17-14 at intermission. Could the Broncos really lose another home game to Flacco’s wackos?

PFM had other ideas, tossing five (FIVE!) touchdowns in the second half alone. He was like a machine as he fit passes into the tightest of windows. He turned a three point deficit into an absolute blowout, prompting his team to outscore the Ravens 35-10 in the second half.

Now the Broncos can breathe a bit. They beat the team that knocked them out of the playoffs the year before on a fluke play. And maybe more importantly for Bronco Country is that giant banners of Joe Flacco no longer decorate the outside of Sports Authority Field.

The week one jitters might be gone, but the drama won’t leave the Broncos as week two approaches. Chapter three of the Manning Bowl takes place Sunday afternoon as younger brother Eli hosts older brother Peyton in East Rutherford.

The Giants will be coming off a 36-31 loss to the Cowboys, the first time they lost in the house that Jerry Jones built. Eli threw for a whopping 450 yards and four touchdowns, but also had three interceptions.

Any casual fan could sum up how the G-Men lost in one word: turnovers. They had six of them, two of which came off fumbles from running back David Wilson.

Not much good came out of the Giants’ side in week one. Tony Romo had very little pressure to deal with most of the night and completed passes to eight different receivers. Dallas running back Demarco Murray also had a productive night against the New York defense, rushing for 86 yards on 20 carries.

If you’re looking for something the Broncos might struggle with, it has to be keeping the quartet of the Giants’ receivers in check. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle each surpassed the 100-yard mark against the Cowboy defense, while tight end Brandon Myers led all

English: Julius Thomas, a National Football Le...
English: Julius Thomas, a National Football League player. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

receivers with seven receptions.

One of the things to follow this week is how Champ Bailey progresses from a foot injury that kept him from playing against the Ravens. If Bailey is 100 percent, it will be interesting to see if his performance is that of a perennial Pro Bowler or an aging veteran.

Three keys to the game for Denver:

  1. Get Decker more involved. The one guy that didn’t reap the benefits of PFM’s record-setting game was Eric Decker, who had several drops and a mediocre 37 yards receiving. Look for Peyton to get him more involved against a porous Giant secondary.
  2. Slow Cruz. Victor Cruz made the Cowboy defense look inept last week, totaling 118 yards and three touchdowns. One of the best matchups to watch in all of football this weekend is Cruz, the best slot receiver in the NFC, against Chris Harris, one of the up-and-coming quality cornerbacks in the NFL.
  3. Avoid a fourth quarter letdown. Unless you’re up by four scores, no lead is safe against Eli. He is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL at playing from behind (he nearly did it again last week against Dallas). Peyton will have to keep his foot on the gas pedal to prevent baby brother from getting any ideas late in the game.

My prediction: Broncos-34, Giants-28