Peyton Manning is already looking to have one of the best seasons of his career, and the fact that he has so many options to throw to this year easily makes him the clear favorite to win the NFL MVP award in 2013.
Even at 37 years old, Manning is still easily one of the best players in the NFL. That was showcased during the NFL season opener, when he threw seven touchdowns in a 49-27 rout of the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Back during his time in Indianapolis, Manning had two future Hall of Fame targets in Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. He also had great targets throughout the years in Dallas Clark, Marcus Pollard and even Brandon Stokley.
Still, now that he's in Denver, Manning has never had this many top-tier targets all at once.
All three of these guys put up big numbers last season, and now Manning will have the "problem" of distributing the ball to these three. This group actually has the opportunity to be the sixth team in NFL history to have three players with over 1,000 receiving yards. One of those teams was the 2004 Indianapolis Colts with, you guessed it, Manning under center.
Even Julius Thomas made a name for himself in the Week 1 opener. Thomas, who had just one career reception before this season, had five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Opposing defenses are going to have the daunting task of covering all of these guys, and even if they are able to do that, Manning will still find ways to get them the ball. Few teams have two corners that could go up against Welker and Thomas, let alone a third to take on Decker.
How many touchdowns will Manning throw this season?
At the moment, there's no way Manning isn't the leading MVP candidate. He's technically on pace to throw for 7,392 yards and 112 touchdowns this season. There's obviously no way that happens, but it shows just how big of a game he had in Week 1.
During the 2004 season, Manning had three great receivers in Wayne, Harrison and Stokley. He went on to throw for 4,557 yards and a record-breaking 49 passing touchdowns on his way to his second career MVP award. He also threw the ball just 497 times, compared to the 583 passes he threw in 2012.
Now, Manning has three great receivers once again, and if he can throw at least 400 passes this year, there's a very good chance that he breaks the single-season touchdown record once again.
And besides, even if he doesn't retake the record from Tom Brady, there's still a very good chance that he takes home a fifth MVP award, which is an entirely different, and more prestigious, record.