We may be witnessing the greatest modern day quarterback at or near the prime of his career. His name is Peyton Manning. Every time he steps onto the football field it truly is a work of art. From his checks at the line of scrimmage to his ability to read and dissect just about anything a defense has to throw at him: it is quarterbacking at its finest.
For my money he is the greatest quarterback to ever do it. This is the task the Philadelphia Eagles‘ defense has in store for it on Sunday in Denver no less. Manning usually finds and pinpoints whatever weakness a defense has and exploits it over and over again. In the case of the Eagles it has to be the secondary. The corners are an average group and the safety play has been sub par this year.
The Eagles will have to galvanize as a group in the back end to even have a prayer in this game. The pass rush and blitz are also going to have to get home. If you afford a quarterback like Manning time in the pocket he will find even the smallest opening in the secondary and hit on it. As we have seen in the past the best defense against Manning is an aggressive one. When he feels consistent pressure he sometimes can get rattled.
This will be a difficult chore against a solid Denver Broncos offensive line. The Broncos did recently lose their top offensive lineman and one of the better left tackles in the game in Ryan Clady. This is something the Eagles are going to have to take advantage of and fully expose if they want a chance at a major upset in Denver. Undrafted free agent tackle Chris Clark, who has been a journeyman in the league, has been filling in for Clady at left tackle. If there is a weak link on the line it is him.
Guys like Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, and Brandon Graham are going to have to pressure Manning and make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket. Inside pressure from Fletcher Cox is also a must for the Eagles to have any chance. This is an all hands on deck type of game. The Eagles need full effort on both sides of the ball and a near perfect game to pull of the upset of the season.