The last time we saw Peyton Manning in action when it really counted was January 8, 2011 in a playoff loss to the New York Jets.
Twenty months later he returns in another matchup against a physical defense. This time it is the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football.
That’s not exactly an ideal scenario for the four-time MVP to return to. You can rest assured that the Steelers are going to test Peyton’s ability to take a hit.
It’s not the same Broncos team that shocked Pittsburgh last year in the playoffs, but you know the Steelers have a bitter taste in their mouths.
Manning has faced the Steelers three times, posting a mediocre (especially by his standards) 84.3 passer rating with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also averaged 263.2 yards against Pittsburgh.
Those numbers were with his familiar Colts team. For a player that has always thrived on preparation and familiarity, these are uncharted waters for Manning.
We won’t know if he’ll have his typical comfort level with his receivers until the game gets underway. That makes Manning a risky fantasy play for the first time in forever.
Pittsburgh led the NFL last season by allowing the fewest passing yards per game (171.9 ypg). They also finished tied for second with just 15 passing touchdowns allowed, which is less than a score per game.
Pittsburgh finished No. 5 with a 54.5 completion percentage allowed and No. 4 with a 71.7 passer rating allowed.
I know how hard to could be to leave Manning sitting on your bench, but if you have a solid alternative, it should at least be considered.
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