Peyton Manning: Projecting How Broncos QB Will Fare over Season's Second Half

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 6, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 04:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 4, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos' Week 10 matchup with the Carolina Panthers will begin an eight-game stretch in which Peyton Manning will not face one opposing secondary ranked inside the Top 10.

In terms of yards allowed, the best pass defense Manning will see from Week 10 on out is Kansas City, who Denver will play twice. In terms of fewest passing touchdowns allowed, it will be Baltimore in Week 15.

Somehow, it seems that Manning's second half performance will be even better than his first. 

Here we break down Manning's final eight games into two halves and project how he will fare over the season's final stretch.


Weeks 10-13

It will certainly be a challenge for Manning to keep his streak of throwing at least three touchdowns in his last five games alive in Week 10 in Charlotte, where the Broncos will take on the Panthers. Carolina has only allowed nine passing touchdowns in eight games this year.

Therefore I predict Manning will throw for no more than two touchdowns in Week 10. Still, I don't believe Manning will have any trouble racking up at least 300 yards passing.

Manning will be back at home in Week 11 taking on division rival San Diego, who he torched in the teams' first meeting this October. He threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns against the Bolts in Week 6, so expect a similar if not better performance from the veteran at home the second time around.

Week 12 will pit Manning and the Broncos against the Chiefs in Kansas City. Romeo Crennel's squad hasn't been giving up big yards through the air in 2012, but touchdowns have come easy for its opponents. The Chiefs have given up 17 passing touchdowns in eight games. Manning should throw for three easily. 

Finally, No. 18 will have an opportunity for a record-setting passing day in Week 13 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs rank dead last in the NFL in pass defense by yardage, surrendering more than 320 per game. If Manning doesn't surpass 400 yards passing in that matchup, he won't this year. 


Weeks 14-17

The final quarter of the Denver Broncos' regular season looks to be an absolute cake walk with exception of one game, their Week 15 road trip to Baltimore. 

Denver will be in Oakland for their Week 14 showdown, taking on the Raiders, who are allowing nearly 250 passing yards per game this season. Manning lit up Oakland's secondary for 338 yards and three touchdowns in Week 4. Why would anything change in Week 14?

Following what should be another stellar outing against the Raiders, Manning will face his stiffest test on the road in Baltimore. Though the Ravens will be without some key players, John Harbaugh's club is tied with San Francisco, having allowed the fewest passing touchdowns this season, just six in eight games. Therefore Manning will once again be lucky to throw for more than one touchdown. 

After a difficult late-season matchup with the Ravens, Manning will return home for the Broncos' final two regular season matchups against the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs

That's right.

Unless Denver decides to rest him and avoid injury before the playoffs, fantasy owners will have two excellent opportunities to blow their playoff opponents out of the water. We've already discussed the Chiefs' defensive woes, and Cleveland is every bit as bad on that side of the ball. 

Given Manning's consistency through the first half of 2012, I predict that he will throw for more than 700 yards and six touchdowns combined in Weeks 16 and 17, making this season one of the best of his Hall of Fame career. 

End of Season Projection: 4,700 yards and 41 touchdowns


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