Why Peyton Manning Will Lead Denver Broncos to Super Bowl
Fans and experts have vehemently debated the notion—many doubt one man's power to lead Denver to the next level.
But, he's Peyton Manning.
In a 13-year career, Manning has attained a 64.9 completion percentage and 94.9 passer rating. He averages 4,217 yards per season.
He averages 30 touchdowns per year.
He's been to the playoffs 11 times, played in two Super Bowls and won a championship.
Manning is a lock for Canton.
Let's look at the criticisms for why Manning doesn't make the Broncos instant Super Bowl contenders.
"Denver Lacks Talent Around Manning"
Does Peyton Manning make the entire roster better?
Many of the arguments surrounding Manning's inability to lead Denver to football's main event stem from the talent surrounding him.
It's less of Manning's fault and more of everyone else's.
Last season with a similar roster, Tim Tebow was able to lead the Broncos to an 8-8 record and a Wild Card win.
Tebow did it with one of the league's worst completion percentages.
Wide receivers have a hard time catching balls thrown four yards out of their reach.
Manning hits his targets.
He is the reason guys like Pierre Garcon garner five-year, $42.5 million deals. Manning is the reason fans learned the names of Jacob Tamme, Anthony Gonzalez and Austin Collie.
He's just as capable of making Eric Decker and Andre Caldwell recognizable.
Demaryius Thomas is already on his way to stardom by himself, and Manning makes him that much better.
Last season, the offensive line was forced to maintain a college-style offense against NFL defenses. It's difficult blocking for a quarterback with a tendency to hold the ball for too long and who is constantly on the move.
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Of course they looked average.
Perhaps it isn't that the offense lacks talent. Maybe it's that their former unorthodox leader didn't provide them with opportunities to become stars.
The underrated Denver Broncos offense will benefit from another season of growth together with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time as their teacher.
"The Defense is Weak"
The Broncos' defense spent 2011 hovering around the middle of nearly every defensive category.
But most agree the reason Denver had so many chances at comeback wins was due in large part to the stellar play of the defense.
Like a pitcher with no run support, Manning is the slugger they've been dying for.
Defensive tackle and linebacker will be addressed at this year's draft.
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The Broncos signed Tracy Porter at cornerback to start opposite Champ Bailey.
The team loses D.J. Williams for six games. But Williams has plateaued in talent, whereas Von Miller should continue to develop.
Brian Dawkins also returns from injury.
Outside of Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders, the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl defense wasn't filled with superstars.
"Manning Will Be Injured Early"
Of course Manning can be injured.
No one is denying last year's playoff teams as Super Bowl contenders because of hypothetical injuries.
Injuries are always a concern.
I hear you out there, "but Manning just had four neck surgeries."
After Roethlisberger's 2006 motorcycle accident, the Pittsburgh Steelers were immediately considered contenders upon his return.
The same went for the New England Patriots when Brady returned from a significant knee injury in 2008.
Manning should be no different.
He was injured, past tense.
Professional medical staff have cleared him to return to football duties. There's no reason for distrust.
"The 2012 Schedule is Too Tough"
The schedule is the most plausible argument against the Broncos appearing in the Super Bowl.
Denver plays the AFC North, NFC South, their AFC West opponents twice, the Patriots and the Houston Texans.
Tebow barely won the division—Manning should have no problems.
In 2011, the Broncos beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-22. This season should be another slug fest, but it's a game that can be won.
The Broncos have the momentum against the Pittsburgh Steelers having won their last meeting, the Wild Card matchup, and has since added an elite quarterback.
The Steelers, meanwhile, lost many team leaders as well as talented players like James Farrior. They return to Mile High, so they lose safety Ryan Clark as well due to his health issues when playing at altitude.
Manning is 8-0 against the Baltimore Ravens since 2002.
The Texans lost Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans this offseason.
The Patriots and New Orleans Saints are difficult tasks. Anything can happen, but it won't be easy.
Getting into the playoffs is anticipated. Advancing past three playoff AFC teams to represent the conference in the Super Bowl is conceivable.
The Patriots are the best team on paper, but the New York Giants recently proved New England is vulnerable.
The schedule can be overcome.
With Peyton Manning under center, the chances are pretty good.
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