Peyton Manning: QB Will Continue Past Success vs. Baltimore Ravens' Defense

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 06:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos calls an audible at the line of scrimmage during their game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Peyton Manning has enjoyed an MVP-caliber season for the Denver Broncos this season, and he's not going to slow down in Week 15 versus the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens don't boast the stalwart defense that NFL fans are accustomed to. Injuries and age have caught up to the Ravens defenders, leaving them 23rd against the pass and 25th against the run. 

Manning has thrown nine touchdowns and only four interceptions in his last four games, completing more than 70 percent of his passes in the last two contests. He hasn't missed a beat in his transition to the Mile High City, and he proves it week in and week out.

Given Manning's recent history versus the Ravens, don't expect that to change in Week 15. 

Manning's player profile on ESPN provided this interesting look at this week's matchup:

Since losing at Baltimore in 2001, Manning is 8-0 with 2,022 passing yards (253 per game), 14 TDs and six INTs. And those were Ravens defenses in much better shape than the injury-riddled 2012 version allowing the ninth-most yards in the NFL (376 per game).

That says a lot. The Ravens have struggled to defend the pass all season, and Manning is arguably the best quarterback they will face this year. He's not only extremely talented, but he's been playing with complete confidence in every game.

Manning knows what this game means. At 10-3, the Broncos still have a shot at home-field advantage in the playoffs, and the Ravens still must put away Cincinnati in the AFC North.

Baltimore has much more riding on this game, especially with two tough matchups to close the year, and Manning will feast on that. He's never had a high-caliber defense to lean on, and that has allowed him to play with more poise than ever because he knows that someone has his back.

Manning knows that the MVP trophy is on the line with each game. He also knows that momentum is important entering the postseason.

Those factors will carry him toward one of his best games of the season on Sunday, as he exploits the Ravens' below-average defense and shows Joe Flacco what an elite quarterback really looks like.