Manning Bowl III doesn’t make Peyton or Eli — or parents Archie and Olivia — very comfortable.
However, if there is a Manning Bowl IV at MetLife Stadium next February, well, the whole family would like that just fine.
The Super Bowl.
“Obviously, every year being in two different conferences, it’s always a possibility,” Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning says. “The teams that I’ve played for in the past have always been in the hunt and been to two. And he’s always been in the hunt. So, we don’t necessarily talk about it.
“We’ve played each other twice. I don’t think either of us really enjoy it very much.”
Manning has a 2-0 edge in NFL matchups with brother Eli, the New York Giants QB, both from when Peyton was a Colt. Eli has two Super Bowl rings; Peyton has one.
“It’s still neat because it doesn’t happen very often and it is neat seeing your big brother on the sideline or seeing him before the game,” Eli says. “Those moments are the things you remember and we’ll remember for a long time. Hopefully, when I think back on these games that we played against my brother, I can think back and remember at least one win.”
Denver already savored quite a win this season, in the kickoff game at home over defending NFL champion Baltimore. Peyton threw for seven touchdowns to tie an NFL record.
New York was far less successful in its opener, falling at Dallas, with Eli picked off three times and the Giants losing three fumbles.
On Sunday, San Francisco visits Seattle; Washington is at Green Bay; Dallas at Kansas City; San Diego at Philadelphia; St. Louis at Atlanta; Minnesota at Chicago. New Orleans at Tampa Bay; Miami at Indianapolis; Tennessee at Houston; Cleveland at Baltimore; Detroit at Arizona; Carolina at Buffalo; and Jacksonville at Oakland.
Monday night, it’s Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.
San Francisco (1-0) at Seattle (1-0)
An early showdown between the top NFC West teams and perhaps the best two teams in the conference.
The Niners come off a sensational offensive performance, sparked by Colin Kaepernick’s career-best 412 yards passing, and new receiver Anquan Boldin (13 catches, 208 yards, one TD). The Seahawks were terrific on defense, yielding only 125 yards in the air to Cam Newton and Carolina.
Both teams dislike each other, and this could get nasty. It definitely will get loud as Seattle’s 12th man, the boisterous crowd, attempts to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for “loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium,” 131.76 decibels.
Washington (0-1) at Green Bay (0-1)
The Packers looked good offensively in a difficult matchup with San Francisco’s staunch defense, but were a sieve when the 49ers had the ball. Aaron Rodgers certainly is capable of leading the Packers to lots of points, but they must stop someone.
The main someones to stop this week are Robert Griffin III, who looked rusty in Washington’s opening loss, and powerhouse running back Alfred Morris, held to 45 yards rushing by Philadelphia.
Dallas (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0)
Most teams that produce six takeaways win in a romp. Not so Dallas, which had to hold off the Giants last week. Still, the Cowboys will take half as many opposition turnovers each week and be thrilled.
Everybody in Kansas City was thrilled by the Chiefs’ overall work in a 28-2 laugher at Jacksonville. The Jaguars, of course, might be the NFL’s worst team. Andy Reid’s Chiefs will get a bigger test from Dallas.
San Diego (0-1) at Philadelphia (1-0)
Forget the multitasking while watching the offense Chip Kelly brought to Philadelphia. No time for it.
Kelly actually thought the Eagles were too slow in their win over Washington, but most everyone else was left breathless by the tempo set by Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson.
The Chargers started fast, too, against Houston, then folded in the second half, blowing a 21-point lead.
St. Louis (1-0) at Atlanta (0-1)
Through nine years in St. Louis, Steven Jackson was a workhorse running back, rushing for 10,135 yards, scoring 56 touchdowns and making three trips to the Pro Bowl. He’s now 30 and in Atlanta. The Rams sure know what a presence he can be.
“Obviously, Jack was a huge part of me growing up,” Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said. “I learned most how to be a leader. I watched the way he handled himself in different situations in the locker room, on the field, in practice, during games. I learned a ton from Jack. I really couldn’t imagine having to start my career here without him.”
Minnesota (0-1) at Chicago (1-0)
A 78-yard run on his first carry for MVP Adrian Peterson was not a harbinger. Detroit slowed him after that and came back to beat the Vikings.
Minnesota needs a strong pass rush, something Cincinnati failed to manage last week, if it is to win at Soldier Field. Without it, defending Brandon Marshall (eight catches, 104 yards and a TD) could be too tough a chore.
New Orleans (1-0) at Tampa Bay (0-1)
Cleaning up their sloppy act is paramount for the Bucs, penalized 13 times for 102 yards last week. A personal foul in the final minute on LB Lavonte David for shoving Jets QB Geno Smith out of bounds moved New York into position to win on Nick Folk’s field goal with 2 seconds left.
Sean Payton’s coaching return from the bounty scandal suspension was a success, and the Saints beat Tampa Bay twice in 2012 without him.
Miami (1-0) at Indianapolis (1-0)
The two franchises that spent the most money in free agency. The Dolphins barely used their prize addition, WR Mike Wallace (one catch, 15 yards), in victory at Cleveland, then Wallace voiced his displeasure, mostly with himself.
It was much more of a lovefest in Indy, even though the Colts blew an early 14-point lead to Oakland and had to rally. The Colts have won seven consecutive home games.
Tennessee (1-0) at Houston (1-0)
If the Titans are going to contend in the AFC South, here is where they must prove themselves following an impressive opener at Pittsburgh. Tennessee’s defense seems vastly better than the unit that allowed a league-high 471 points in 2012.
Houston’s rally from a 21-point hole at San Diego showed the Texans’ moxie. They displayed all-around balance in the second half against the Chargers.
Pittsburgh (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-1)
After all four AFC North teams were beaten in their openers, the winner of this prime-time matchup will go to the head of the division. That’s often where Pittsburgh is, but the Steelers were awful when Tennessee broke their 10-game winning string in home openers last week. The Steelers showed little on defense and a lot less with the ball.
Cincinnati fell at Chicago in a game it led most of the way. The Bengals have lost three straight and 11 of the last 12 at home to Pittsburgh, including a playoff game.
Cleveland (0-1) at Baltimore (0-1)
Having stewed since Sept. 5 about their second-half collapse — and those seven TD throws by Peyton Manning — the defending champions could take out their frustrations on the division-rival Browns. They certainly need stronger defense, but Cleveland doesn’t present nearly the challenge the Broncos do.
“It was tough, especially when guys are out of character and not doing things that they normally do,” cornerback Corey Graham said. “That was unacceptable.”
A loss to lowly Cleveland would be even more unacceptable.
Detroit (1-0) at Arizona (0-1)
Now that the Cardinals seem to have found a quarterback, Carson Palmer, maybe they can hang with potent Detroit. Reggie Bush was sensational in his Lions debut, but defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh drew yet another fine, $100,000 for his low block on Vikings center John Sullivan during an interception return.
“I’m going to continue to play hard, blue-collar football,” he said.
Carolina (0-1) at Buffalo (0-1)
The Bills were on the verge of an upset over New England, only to fold late, something they always seem to do against the Patriots. They will wear throwback uniforms and honor many of their great players on Sunday.
That won’t impress the Panthers much, and they’re itching to find some offense after Seattle held them to 259 total yards and forced two fumbles.
Jacksonville (0-1) at Oakland (0-1)
Two teams fully expected to be cellar dwellers this season, but one looked pretty good in the opener. Oakland led late at Indianapolis and got a strong performance from QB Terrelle Pryor, especially on the ground with 112 yards and an 8.6 average per rush.
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