Denver Broncos: 5 Reasons Peyton Manning Will Win Broncos the AFC West
In his first performance in approximately 20 months, he showed why his Broncos will be a force this year.
Here's a closer look at why Manning will win the AFC West for the Broncos.
Same Old Peyton
Manning did show some early jitters on Sunday night as one would expect, but before the end of the second quarter, he silenced all doubters.
No. 18 put together a 12-play, no-huddle, 80-yard drive in 4:24 minutes. It culminated with a Knowshon Moreno seven-yard touchdown run.
As an encore to that masterful second-quarter drive, Manning came out around the six-minute mark of the third quarter and threw a quick dart to Demaryius Thomas, who then took off for a 71-yard score.
That score was Manning's 400th touchdown pass of his career.
As if that wasn't enough for his first game back in well over a year, he put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter, ending with his second touchdown pass of the night, this time to Jacob Tamme.
Peyton threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns, showing all indications that he plans on taking Denver to the top.
Manning has Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno at his disposal.
Now that Manning has a two-headed attack in Denver, the greater backfield dynamic allows him more options. It will also command more respect from defenses.
McGahee and Moreno were successful in running the ball against the Steelers defense Sunday night, and they both provided great protection for Manning.
Manning will put McGahee and Moreno in the right positions to produce for the Broncos all season long.
Thanks to Manning's ability to get a number of players involved, football fans will get to know some receivers whose talents were not utilized until this season.
Jacob Tamme and Brandon Stokley are already familiar targets for Manning from their days together in Indy.
Guys like Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Matt Willis should experience career highs in every category this season.
Based on the 71-yard touchdown romp that Thomas had late in the third quarter, look for him to benefit the most from Peyton's arrival in Denver.
The Arm Strength
A lot of the questions about Manning's return this season concerned his arm strength.
In Sunday night's performance, he answered those concerns by throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns.
Manning was throwing the ball with authority and, more importantly, was effective throwing it in the red zone.
The last time the Broncos had elite arm strength at quarterback, John Elway was taking snaps.
Based on Sunday night's game, Denver will be able to ride the right arm of Manning all the way to its second consecutive AFC West title.
Experience and Decision Making
Only Manning knows how his neck feels, but his head appears to be perfectly fine.
His decision making was precise and a welcome sight to Denver fans.
From a Sports Illustrated article by Dennis Dillon, there's a chart that outlines the quarterbacks that the Broncos have had after Elway and before Manning.
Those five quarterbacks won a combined 97 games for Denver, while Manning came into Sunday's contest with 111 wins of his own.
Sunday's 31-19 victory confirmed the idea that the Broncos were sorely missing an experienced quarterback at the helm.
Now that they have one again, fans should expect Manning to win them an AFC West title.
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