Breaking Down Peyton Manning's Toughest Games Remaining on Schedule

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 29:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos rolls out of the pocket and looks for a receiver downfield against the Philadelphia Eagles at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on September 29, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

After Peyton Manning's incredible start to the 2013 season, the biggest question on everyone's mind is whether anyone can stop him.

The Denver Broncos quarterback leads the NFL in completion percentage (75 percent), passing yards (1,470), touchdowns (16) and interceptions (0). Unsurprisingly, he is also well ahead of everyone else with a 138 quarterback rating.

At his current pace, the veteran will smash the current record of 50 touchdowns in a season. In reality, fans should not expect him to come down much from this pace.

Denver has provided him with a number of elite weapons, and his team has a relatively easy schedule throughout the season. However, a few teams remaining can slow down this attack.

Manning will not have many poor games, but these squads could cause problems during the course of the year.

Week 12: At New England Patriots 

If any coach knows exactly how to slow down this quarterback, it is Bill Belichick.

In 17 regular-season games against the Patriots, Manning has a 6-11 record as a starter, which is easily the worst mark of any team he has faced at least five times. This is in addition to a 1-2 record in the playoffs.

While the Patriots often give up plenty of yards through the air, they use a bend-not-break mentality on the field. Turnovers and toughness in the red zone prevent points from actually going on the board.

This was on display last season when the defense ranked 25th in yards allowed but ninth in points allowed. The club has posted similar statistics this year to stand sixth in points allowed per game.

With Tom Brady on the other side of the field, Manning will have to be more aggressive to keep up on the scoreboard. This could lead to mistakes, especially in the cool New England air at the end of November.

The quarterback has lost his last two regular-season games at Foxborough, and it would not be surprising to see a third one this year.

Week 13: At Kansas City Chiefs

Sep 15, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) runs for yardage after recovering a fumble from Dallas Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar (25) (not pictured) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 1
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Many expected the Broncos to run away with the AFC West this season like they did last year. However, it is clear that the Chiefs are here to stay after starting 4-0.

Denver will have to face Kansas City twice this season, but it will be tougher to get a win on the road in what could be a very loud Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs' biggest strength to this point is the ability to defend the pass. This starts with the pass rush, which leads the league with 18 sacks. This forces quarterbacks into bad decisions, and the opposing quarterback rating of 63.6 is second only to the Seattle Seahawks.

Justin Houston has been arguably the most impressive player on the roster so far, totaling 7.5 sacks in four games. The third-year player could cause havoc to a Broncos offensive line that has been devastated by injuries.

With Houston, Dontari Poe and others getting to the quarterback, the Chiefs can rely on ball-hawking safety Eric Berry to force turnovers in the secondary.

It is tough for any team to stop Manning, but Kansas City is built as well as anyone to slow him down.

Week 16: At Houston Texans

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 15: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans and the defensive line during a break at Reliant Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston will remain competitive in this contest for one reason: J.J. Watt.

The third-year defensive end has been the best player at his position over the past two years, and he is only getting better. Not only can he get to the quarterback for sacks, he also disrupts plays by swatting down passes at the line.

Watt anchors a defense that currently ranks first in the NFL in passing yards allowed. Opponents have only managed 141 yards through the air per game, a number that would lead to more wins if Matt Schaub could hold onto the ball.

Add Ed Reed to the equation, who has four career interceptions against Manning, and there is a good chance the quarterback struggles to get into the end zone.

With the Broncos possibly battling for playoff seeding and fantasy owners fighting for a championship, this game could end up being disappointing. 

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