NFL Rumors: 5 NFL Quarterback Matchups to Watch Sunday
Peyton Manning Denver Broncos
We hear it all of the time. The NFL is a quarterback driven league. This weekend we get 5 interesting quarterback matchups worth watching. Two of them involve quarterbacks who have led their teams since 2008 against rookies that were drafted first and second in 2012. One is a battle between the number one pick of 2011 and a third round surprise this year. One will see a quarterback going for an all-time record against his former team and the man who replaced him. And one is simply considered to be between the best of them all.
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers will travel to play the Indianapolis Colts and number one draft pick Andrew Luck. Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons goes to Washington to face number two pick Robert Griffin III.
The top draft pick of 2011, Cam Newton, and his Carolina Panthers will play host to surprise Seattle Seahawks starter Russell Wilson.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will welcome his old team, the San Diego Chargers, and his replacement there Phillip Rivers. Brees will be trying to set a record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 48th consecutive game.
And in the matchup that football fans across the country always look forward to, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will host Peyton Manning with his new team the Denver Broncos.
In these five matchups we get young and old. We get veterans who have been successful and young guns still cutting their teeth. We will see different styles from athletes who can run and throw to pocket passers with tremendous accuracy. We will see two all-time greats.
Each should be fun to watch. Here is a preview of the week 5 NFL quarterback matchups.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Andrew Luck
This is a matchup of former quarterbacks from California (Aaron Rodgers) and Stanford (Andrew Luck). Of course, Cal-Stanford is one of the biggest rivalries in college football.
Rodgers was drafted late in the first round in 2005 by Green Bay. He was expected to be a top ten pick that season, but was passed up 23 times before the Packers took him with pick number 24. He has more than made up for it with a Super Bowl ring won in 2010.
Rodgers had to bide his time behind Brett Favre for three seasons before getting a chance to start in 2008. Since then he has taken Green Bay to the playoffs three times with the Super Bowl title in 2010. Rodgers is the poster child for those who say quarterbacks should sit and watch for a few years before taking over an offense.
Luck is the opposite. He has been thrown right into the fire by Indianapolis. The team had no choice as their legendary quarterback, Peyton Manning, was released in March. Luck has one victory under his belt and almost got another in week three against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
What should stand out in this game is the poise of both men. Rodgers and Luck seem to handle the ups and downs of the game very well and make few mistakes. It will be interesting to see how Luck handles the pressure of knowing his defense will not be able to slow down Rodgers.
This is a matchup that could eventually happen in February with the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the line.
Matt Ryan vs. Robert Griffin III
The undefeated Falcons led by Ryan head to Washington to face the man known as RGIII. What both have in common are electric debuts. In 2008 Ryan threw a touchdown pass on his first NFL play and led Atlanta to a 34-21 victory over the Detroit Lions. This season Griffin III connected with Pierre Garcon for his first pro touchdown. It covered 88 yards. Washington defeated the Saints 40-32.
Both Ryan and Griffin III were immediately named starters when they were signed. Ryan was asked to revive a franchise laid low by the loss of quarterback Michael Vick to a prison sentence. Griffin III is being asked to breathe life into a Redskins franchise that has won two playoff games in 20 years. Ryan was able to take Atlanta to the playoffs in his rookie year and Griffin III hopes to do the same.
On Sunday they will duel for the first time. Ryan will use his veteran experience and accuracy to try and beat Washington's vulnerable secondary. Griffin III will try to run and pass much as Newton did last week with success against the Falcons defense.
If this game comes down to the wire both quarterbacks are capable of leading their teams to a game winning score.
There is a very good chance of this happening.
Russell Wilson vs. Cam Newton
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson returns to the home of his original college triumphs. He spent his first three season playing for North Carolina State before transferring to Wisconsin. When he left Cam Newton took over the reins of the Panthers as a number one overall pick with question marks.
While Wilson led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, Newton silenced the critics who said he could not throw accurately enough to be successful in the NFL. Newton set a rookie record with 4,051 yards passing and accounted for 35 touchdowns throwing and rushing.
This season it is Wilson who has had to silence critics. He was not drafted until the third round by Seattle then beat out free agent Matt Flynn. It was believed that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was not making the smart move in starting Wilson.
At the moment Wilson has Seattle at 2-2. Though he has not put up the numbers that Newton did last season, Wilson has given the Seahawks a chance to win every game.
Sunday will be a homecoming of sorts for Wilson. If there is one man who wants no one taking his territory it is Newton.
This matchup will be a battle of pride all of the way.
Phillip Rivers vs. Drew Brees
Rivers and the Chargers will have a front row seat to see Brees try and surpass Baltimore Colts great John Unitas for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Right now Brees and Unitas are tied at 47.
The symmetry of this matchup is not lost on anyone. Everyone who follows football knows San Diego brought Rivers in while Brees was still the starting quarterback. Like Rodgers, Rivers sat and watched for two years as Brees quarterbacked the team. After Brees suffered a shoulder injury at the end of 2005 the team did not resign him and Rivers took over.
Both men have had success with their teams. Rivers has taken San Diego to the playoffs four times with one trip to the AFC championship game. Brees has taken New Orleans to post season play four times as well winning the Super Bowl in 2009.
Since Brees left, Rivers has had to listen as people question whether San Diego let go of the wrong quarterback. This Sunday he may have to watch his mentor break a record once thought untouchable.
The bright side for Rivers is with a win his team will go to 4-1 while New Orleans drops to 0-5. The dark side is that a loss would bring up the same old questions.
Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady
It is Manning against Brady for the first time since 2010. Then Manning was leading the Colts. When the two teams met last season Manning was sidelined with a neck injury unsure if he would ever play again.
Now he's back and wearing the blue and orange of the Denver Broncos. This will be his first meeting against the Patriots while playing for Denver.
Manning and Brady have met in many meaningful games. There were the AFC championship battles of 2003 and 2006. They split those two. In 2004, the Patriots defeated the Colts in the AFC divisional round. The games which gave New England home field advantage in 2003 and '04 were big as well.
It is too early in the season to tell how big this one will be. Most fans are just happy to see Manning back on the field competing. Brady probably feels the same as well. The two have always measured themselves against each other. So have fans of football.
Thus, we will get a late afternoon national television battle between arguably the two best quarterbacks of their era.
For this alone it is nice to have Manning back.