Peyton Manning Enters Season as Front-Runner for 2013 NFL MVP

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Peyton Manning Enters Season as Front-Runner for 2013 NFL MVP
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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning answered his critics with gaudy numbers last season and enters the 2013 NFL season as the favorite to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award.  

Had Adrian Peterson not challenged Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record last season, Manning would have won his fifth MVP award. Unless there is another historic season by a running back, Manning should have no trouble winning the award this year.

Manning came back from multiple neck surgeries to join a new team last season. He missed the entire 2011 season and was let go by the Indianapolis Colts. The odds were stacked against him, but the veteran managed to put up numbers that were some of the best of his career.

Just check out his numbers from a season ago:

2012 400 583 68.6 4,659 37 11 105.8
Previous Best 450 679 68.8 4,700 49 9 121.1

The numbers are right there with the best of his career and he should have an even better season in 2013.

For starters, the teams on the Broncos' 2013 schedule did not defend the pass very well in 2012.

Denver Broncos' 2013 Schedule
Week Opponent 2012 Rank Against Pass
1 vs. Baltimore 17
2 at New York Giants 28
3 vs. Oakland Raiders 20
4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles 9
5 at Dallas Cowboys 19
6 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 22
7 at Indianapolis Colts 21
8 vs. Washington Redskins 30
10 at San Diego Chargers 18
11 vs. Kansas City Chiefs 12
12 at New England Patriots 29
13 at Kansas City Chiefs 12
14 vs. Tennessee Titans 26
15 vs. San Diego Chargers 18
16 at Houston Texans 16
17 at Oakland Raiders 20

Denver plays three games against teams that ranked in the top 15 in pass defense a season ago. That's a pretty lenient schedule for a team that has Manning leading the way.

Manning also has plenty of receivers to get involved in the offense. 

Demaryius Thomas turned into an elite receiver in Manning's first season with the Broncos. The 25-year-old Thomas had 1,434 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns on 94 catches. He ranked fourth in the NFL in receiving yards, eighth in receptions and tied for seventh in receiving touchdowns. 

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Having Thomas break out last season helped Eric Decker put up big numbers. The 26-year-old had 1,064 receiving yards with 13 touchdowns on 85 receptions. He ranked second among NFL receivers in touchdowns, 17th in receiving yards and tied for 13th in receptions.

Thomas made the Pro Bowl last season, but the Broncos added even more to their offense in the offseason. They signed former New England Patriot Wes Welker.

All Welker did in New England was lead the NFL in receptions on his way to five straight Pro Bowls.

The signing of Welker improves the Denver offense and weakens the rival Patriots. Tom Brady will have a much tougher time in winning the MVP award without his favorite receiver.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Manning is healthy this season and he has an even better receiving corps. Teams will have a tough time deciding on who to cover and at least one Broncos' receiver should be able to get open on most plays.

The 37-year-old Manning has always been able to put up great numbers. Now that he has three established receivers, Manning will have a good shot at putting up numbers that will shatter his previous career highs.

With the amount of talent that Denver has on offense, Manning has the ability to run away with the award. He should challenge the 5,000-yard mark for the first time and throw for more than 40 touchdowns.

Manning wants to win his second ring and will have no problem winning the weak AFC West this season. The Broncos' success will add to Manning's personal numbers as he chases another MVP award. 

*All stats are courtesy of

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