Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning has definitely shook all the worries that he wasn’t ready to return to football after serveral neck surgeries during last season and the offseason. Manning has led the Broncos to a division title and possibly home field advantage and a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs.
Manning missed the entire 2011 NFL season with the Indianapolis Colts because of the neck problems and then was released by the Colts the following offseason before they had to pay a huge part of his salary. The Broncos jumped on the opportunity to sign the future Hall of Fame QB and perhaps the greatest to ever played the game.
It has paid of so far as Manning has not missed a beat and he is on his way to arguably his best season ever at age 36. If Manning finishes the last three games of this season on his current pace, he will throw for 4,700 yards (career best), 38 touchdowns (career second-best) and only 12 interceptions (career sixth-best) while completing 68.3% of his passes (career second-best) and carrying a 104.0 passer rating (career third-best).
Now how does he compare to the rest of the NFL this season? Manning is fifth in yards passing and is only 200 yards behind leader Drew Brees; second in touchdowns and only two behind the leader, Brees; third in passer rating by .2 points behind Robert Griffin III and Alex Smith; second in completion percentage behind Smith; and he leads the league in completions. In other words, Manning is in the top of every major category on a 10-3 team that would be average, at best, without him.
The other top candidates for the MVP award would be Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, but I would give the nod to Manning because of what he has done in his first year with Denver thus far with the best possibly yet to come.
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