After a year away due to a neck injury, Peyton Manning has taken the NFL by storm in his comeback season. There were serious doubts about how his neck would hold up and if the quarterback was past his prime, but Manning proved everyone wrong and responded with a historic season.
Through 15 games, Manning has been incredible. He's thrown for 4,355 yards, 34 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. He has a completion percentage of 68.1 percent. Already, this is the most touchdowns he's thrown since his record-breaking 49 in 2004. His completion percentage is above his career average and his passer rating of 103.7 would be the third-best of his career.
He's been, by far, the best quarterback in the NFL.
Manning is undoubtedly one of the top contenders for MVP. And he has a plum assignment against the Kansas City Chiefs to lock it up.
The Chiefs are a miserable team. At 2-13, the Chiefs are just looking to lock up the first overall pick. From a woeful offense to an inept defense, nothing has gone right.
The Chiefs defense gives up around 215 yards in the air per game—not terrible. But their run defense has been abysmal, giving up 133 yards per game. The Broncos will use that stat to their advantage. They will load up on the run early and often, and then Manning can take over to seal the deal.
With a variety of weapons—like Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker—to choose from, it really doesn't matter what defense the Broncos face. Manning will be sure to carve them up.
The only real threat to the MVP throne Manning faces is Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson, who suffered an ACL tear in December of last year, has rushed for 1,898 yards and six yards per carry. He's added 11 touchdowns.
That's a fantastic year, especially for someone recovering from an ACL tear. But Peterson rushed for only 86 yards last week and is battling abdominal soreness. He has been limited in practice. As head coach Leslie Frazier said (via the Washington Post):
Adrian is a little bit sore with his abdominal muscle. We’ll have to see how he does this week, how much work that we’ll give him as we get ready for this ballgame, which will be a huge ballgame for our team.
Even if Peterson can get fully healthy for Sunday, he'll face a Green Bay defense that is eager to stop him after he thrashed the Packers for 210 yards in their last matchup. They'll load up as much as they can to make sure Peterson doesn't beat them.
Barring a historic performance by Peterson—he needs a gaudy 208 yards to own the single-season rushing record—Manning will lock up the MVP award and cap what has been a historic and remarkable season for one of the league's all-time greats.