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The next touchdown pass Peyton Manning throws will be the 400th of his brilliant career, and you can bet that he'll get that milestone out of the way early in the season opener.
With questions still lingering over whether Manning is the same elite quarterback that he was before undergoing surgical procedures on his neck, No. 18 has a lot to prove after an up-and-down preseason (16-of-23, two interceptions against Seattle, then 10-of-12, 122 yards and two TDs in the first half against San Francisco).
Manning is the consummate field general, and after his performance against the 49ers two weeks ago—which showed that he still has it in him to put up solid numbers—look for a stellar performance against the Steelers in front of the home crowd in Denver.
In the last season Manning played (2010), he threw for 4,700 yards and 33 TDs at age 34. Look for a great outing from the new Broncos QB on the national stage Sunday night, putting to rest conjecture and speculation that we aren't looking at the same player who dominated opponents with the Colts.
And while the Steelers led the NFL in pass defense in 2011, look for Manning to be efficient and exploit any opportunities he has, especially with Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison likely to miss the opener (h/t ESPN.com).
Manning Prediction for Sunday Night: 25-37, 313 yards, 3 TD.