So much for all the pre- and early-season concern regarding Peyton Manning. Turns out the old man has still got a few kicks left.
And he's been planting his foot firmly on the backside of each defense he's faced.
However, ten games isn't enough to begin engraving his name onto the MVP trophy just yet. He's the surefire leader, but he isn't a dead-set lock.
At least, not yet.
The Season Isn't Over
Manning has looked better with each passing week. It's great to see one of the league's all-timers back in action and excelling.
But should the worry about his neck just be completely forgotten?
In absolutely no sense am I advocating, or hoping, for an injury to Manning. That's barbaric.
However, the possibility has to be discussed. We are talking about a 36-year-old quarterback who had multiple neck surgeries.
Is his neck now strong enough to withstand every hit? Does it need to be?
Additionally, the Denver Broncos defense has progressed just as quickly, if not more so, than their signal-caller. The unit now ranks No. 6 against the rush and has a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Von Miller (13 sacks).
That type of unit backing up Manning could draw some of the attention away from the most famous Broncos quarterback of the past few months.
There Are a Few Other Candidates
Matt Ryan was neck and neck (sorry, couldn't help it) with Manning heading into Week 11. After tossing five interceptions without a recording a touchdown pass, any dreams he has of taking home this year's trophy have probably evaporated.
Next, Manning's competition for Comeback Player of the Year is the same player he has to be concerned with for the MVP. That would be Adrian Peterson.
Peterson never believed that his knee injury was going to slow him down. He wasn't kidding. Through ten games, he has 1,128 yards (a 5.8-yard average!) with seven touchdowns. And his team is 6-4.
That's an MVP candidate.
Plus, there's always Aaron Rodgers. The incumbent king is not going to go softly into the night. After the Green Bay Packers' eulogy had been read, Rodgers reminded everyone why he has the MVP belt.
Thus far, he has 27 passing touchdowns against only six interceptions and a quarterback rating of 107.3. That's scary for someone who wasn't "rolling" to begin the year.
So while Old Man Manning has a serious claim to the crown, there are a few challengers, including his own defense, that might dethrone him.