This will be Manning's second consecutive favorable matchup after facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, who have the very worst pass defense in all of football.
It wasn't the most eye-popping stat line from Manning, but SportsCenter's official Twitter page pointed to a couple of distinguishing accolades the legendary future Hall of Fame quarterback notched this past weekend:
Peyton Manning passed Dan Marino today for the 2nd-most completions (4,968) in NFL history.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 2, 2012
Broncos clinch AFC West w/ 31-23 over Bucs. Peyton Manning joins Brett Favre as only QBs in NFL history w/ at least 150 wins.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 3, 2012
All of these accomplishments define how great Manning is. He may not have the arm strength he once had, but he continues to put the ball where it has to be, and just wins football games. Manning has led his team to yet another division title, and made all of those around him better players.
Third-year receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas have both benefited from Manning's presence immensely, and have emerged as one of the better wide receiver duos in the league. Familiar faces in TE Jacob Tamme and reliable wideout Brandon Stokley, who played with Manning on the Indianapolis Colts, round out the stellar supporting cast.
The franchise is officially headed to the playoffs for the second year in a row, but the offense is much different than when Tim Tebow ran a predominantly run-oriented, sometimes frustratingly unproductive offense.
But Manning has been his typical, consistently great self throughout a stunning comeback campaign after missing all of 2011 due to multiple neck surgeries. He has the Broncos on a league-best, seven-game winning streak, making a strong case for his fifth NFL MVP award in the process.
Meanwhile, Oakland is headed in the completely opposite direction in losing five straight.
Not many quarterbacks in the history of the game are better at preparing for an opponent. Even though the Oakland-Almeda County Coliseum is one of the more hostile environments in the NFL, Manning is built to handle it, even for a funky Thursday game.
The Raiders give up a league-high 31.2 points per game, and can't stop the run or the pass very effectively. In other words, there's no fooling Manning.
These two teams met for the first time in Week 4, with the Broncos in the midst of a two-game losing streak and Oakland trying to climb back to .500 on the road. Manning's line: 30-of-38, 338 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
It's pretty safe to say he has the Raiders' number, and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver will have to formulate a sensational game plan just to limit Manning at all.
Don't count on it. The Sheriff is in town, ready to punish an inferior AFC West foe for a defense that should be illegal for Raider fans to view.
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