Peyton Manning: 2012 Broncos Are One of Legendary QB's Most Talented Teams

David DanielsSenior Writer IDecember 30, 2012

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 30:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos warms up prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

During his time with the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning rarely had an elite defense to watch when he was on the sideline.

He has one to enjoy on the Denver Broncos.

Because of that, this year’s Broncos are one of the most talented teams that Manning has ever played on. The combination of the future Hall of Famer and a top-notch stop unit is why they’re the favorite to win Super Bowl XLVII. And if Denver fulfills those expectations, it may just be the greatest team No. 18 ever generaled.

For the vast majority of the Colts' reign over the AFC (in the regular season), they embarrassed teams with a seemingly unstoppable offense and had a defense that was usually just good enough to win.

When Indianapolis went 12-4 in 2004, it had the 29th-ranked defense in the NFL. In 2005 and 2009, the defense was ranked in the bottom half of the league. They had defenses ranked just outside the top 10 in 2003, 2006 (the Colts’ Super Bowl-winning year) and 2008.

Only in 2007 when Bob Sanders won Defensive Player of the Year did they finish with a top-five stop unit.

In just his first season in Denver, the Broncos boast the second-best defense Manning has ever had with fifth-ranked Von Miller and company.

And while an arsenal of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Jacob Tamme and Knowshon Moreno may not stack up on paper to one of Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Edgerrin James, you couldn’t tell on the field by Manning’s play.

By recording the second-best statistical season of his career, Manning has elevated the play of everyone around him. If it weren’t for Adrian Peterson carrying the Minnesota Vikings on his back to the playoffs, he’d be a shoo-in for his fifth MVP award.

But it’s safe to say that Manning would much rather earn another Super Bowl MVP. And on an absolutely stacked Broncos team that hasn’t lost since October 7, he’s in perfect position to do so.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.