|Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images|
Over the first few weeks of the 2012 NFL regular season, the New England Patriots and revamped Denver Broncos haven’t exactly lived up to expectations. The Patriots were considered legitimate Super Bowl title contenders with virtually the same team intact led by Tom Brady under center and the Broncos received a major upgrade in the form of four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning.
The addition of Manning in the Mile High City has greatly increased the Broncos’ chances of competing for a Super Bowl title with favorable odds. Click to here view odds.
The combination of Manning under center in Denver along with a formidable defense led by Von Miller was thought to be a step in the right direction this season and for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the Broncos have gotten off to a rocky start with only two wins in three games.
There’s no question that the AFC West division title is still within reach with the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers nowhere near elite status this season, but the Broncos must find a way to turn it around before it becomes impossible to dig themselves out of their current hole.
As for the Patriots, Brady and company were able to bounce back in Week 4 with a huge win over the division rival Buffalo Bills, 52-28. The offense was firing on all cylinders and the Patriots of old started to emerge.
Heading into Week 5, the head-to-head matchup of Manning and Brady took center stage. These two future Hall of Famers have been in epic battles over the last decade, but this was the first time Brady faced Manning in a Broncos’ uniform.
In the first half, New England continued to light up the scoreboard with two touchdowns and a field goal heading into halftime. Manning countered the 17 points scored by the Patriots with a touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen.
Once the second half got underway, Bill Belichick’s squad continued keep the offense flowing with a one-yard touchdown run by Brady and an eight-yard run by Stevan Ridley. Despite seemingly having the game in the bag, the Patriots witnessed Manning driving down the field to score two more touchdowns with throws to Eric Decker and Brandon Stokley.
Unfortunately for Denver, New England’s lead was too much to overcome with the Patriots pulling off the victory, 31-21.