Peyton Manning: Steelers Will Offer QB Ultimate Litmus Test to Open Season
Over at the NFL scheduling office though, well—and you're just going to laugh and laugh at this, I know it—they got you a bit of a welcome-back gift. Well, a gag gift really. See, when the scheduling was done, it turned out that the Pittsburgh Steelers came up as the first opponent for your Denver Broncos.
Yes, the same Steelers that had the best passing defense in the NFL last year, allowing just 171.9 yards per game. Yes, the same Steelers that sacked opposing quarterbacks 35 times last year (and it was down year in that regard for them).
Talk about getting thrown into the fire upon your return.
But hey, look at it like this—if you can put points up on the Steelers, well, things should be looking up for you and the Broncos' offense this season. If you can stick it to the Steelers, you can definitively answer "yes" to the question that remains on the minds of football fans everywhere: Will the same Peyton Manning who dominated the NFL for the past decade return to form in 2012 despite missing an entire season?
You have some advantages in this one, of course. It's a home game, for one, and Ryan Clark won't be playing. This team beat the Steelers in the playoffs last year with Tim Tebow at the helm—I know, I know, I thought it was hilarious too—so they will be confident they can repeat the feat.
And c'mon, you're still Peyton freaking Manning—this is what you do.
No matter how the game turns out, we'll all get a very good idea of where you stand on Sunday. The Steelers will reveal whether the Manning of old is coming back or not. If there is rust, they will expose it. If you are at all tentative in the pocket, they will punish you for it.
I'm confident you'll do well. I watched you carve too many defenses apart to doubt you now. You don't just forget over night how to play the game.
But may I make one suggestion?
After the game, be sure to send over a fruit cake or something to the league office. Maybe one that's a bit moldy. You know, just to say thanks for the welcome-back gift they gave you.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets would never deprive you of key features like franchise fantasy drafts.
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