Peyton Manning has the Denver Broncos in high gear nearly midway through the season. Despite missing the entire 2011 season, and having to start fresh with a brand new team and offense, Manning looks like every bit of his former self, and is showing virtually no signs of wear, even at 37 years old.
To cap it all off, he's been named the October AFC Player of the Month, after throwing 951 yards and garnering an incredible 126.7 passer rating since October 1st.
Thus, if there are still lingering questions about Manning's ability to compete and throw the football, there's little reason for them to exist.
While it has always been clear that Manning improves the players around him (as evidenced by the Indianapolis Colts of last year), he's had a lot of help this season from Broncos players and staff alike.The team is coming together, starting to mesh and building chemistry as a whole. With the most difficult part of their schedule almost completely behind them, they have a real shot at storming the AFC in the second half of the season.
As Manning and the Broncos begin to hit their stride, they're truly better than their 4-3 record would indicate. That improvement is due largely in part to the supporting cast that John Elway has established around his future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Here are a few Broncos that Manning should probably take to dinner before the end of this week: