Peyton Manning, Tom Brady going head-to-head

Tom Brady and the Patriots face Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Sunday night. (Getty Images/AFP)

Tom Brady and the Patriots face Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Sunday night. (Getty Images/AFP)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:43 PM ET

Tom Brady must have a new appreciation for the challenge that his Patriots team posed for all those years when Peyton Manning was in Indianapolis.

The Pats have been to five Super Bowls, winning three of them, since 2002. For most of those years they had as many weapons on the defensive side of the ball as they did on offence. It was that balance that allowed Brady such freedom on offence, knowing he had a stout defence behind him.

The road to the Super Bowl always seemed to pass through Foxborough and as often as not, it was Manning who had to figure out a way to compete with fewer weapons on offence compensating always for a defence that could never measure up to the one that Bill Belichick could put on the field. It was like trying to knit a Mercedes Benz out of a ball of steel wool.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. With the Broncos, Manning not only has a system and a group of players that are meshing perfectly with him, but he has a defence that can be relied upon in the big moments. And the Patriots? Brady is still an offensive genius, working with fewer Pro Bowl receivers than before but his defence is not a unit that can be relied upon.


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