Mannings will achieve milestone just by showing up
The brothers thing is getting old.
Eli and Peyton Manning already have faced each other twice, so this hardly is unique. And seven months ago we witnessed siblings as head coaches in the Super Bowl, a far more intense atmosphere than Sunday's home opener for the Giants. In fact, there will be at least 10 other NFL games this season in which there will be a fraternal bond between opposing players or coaches.
But something else very special is happening in this game. For the first time in the history of the league, opposing quarterbacks are facing each other a week after each passed for more than 400 yards.
They just happen to have the same last name.
Peyton Manning's performance in the season opener (462 yards, seven TDs, no interceptions) may have been more impressive statistically, but in some ways, the Giants' offense was the better despite a loss to the Cowboys. Eli Manning's 450 passing yards and four touchdown passes came despite six team turnovers. The Broncos may have had the most yardage and points in Week 1, but it was the Giants who had the most yards per play (8.1). Only one other team had more than 7.0, and that was the Broncos (7.5).
All of which is to say that there should be some offense going on when these teams get together late Sunday afternoon. Even the defensive players seem to be bracing for it.
"I don't care if they score 50 points and we score 51. As long as we win, that's all that matters,'' Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas said. "If the challenge is to stop a great offense, which the Broncos are, then we're looking forward to it.''
Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph said with these offenses, the game could come down to who has the ball last. "I think it's going to be a four-quarter game, no doubt,'' he said.
Of course the offensive players and coaches are excited to show their skills. The Giants are coming off the first game in their 79-year history in which three receivers caught more than 100 yards worth of passes.
"I think we've got some good players,'' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "I think we have a hell of a scheme. I think we've got one hell of a quarterback, and if we can protect and do the things that we need to do, where we can get them into the flow of the game, then I think they'll be a difficult matchup for anyone.''
"There are a lot of opportunities for us,'' Victor Cruz said of the Broncos' defense. "We like when guys play bump-and-run, play a little bit of man coverage as well as some zone . . . Having some one-on-one opportunities, we want to be able to exploit that.''
Eventually, though, it will come back to the quarterbacks. The ones with the three Super Bowl MVPs between them. The brothers.
"He's probably deceivingly athletic,'' Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said of Eli Manning. "He's not like some of the quarterbacks out there that are going to win a foot race. But he's mobile enough and obviously he's very smart. He's got a great, live arm. He's got a terrific cast of characters that he distributes the ball to.''
And the other guy?
"Peyton is Peyton,'' Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "He goes for the jugular every time he's on the field. I think that's what makes him an outstanding quarterback because he's relentless in his pursuit of perfection.''