Throughout NFL history, there have been many quarterbacks who have transcended the game, transforming it into the spectacle that it is today. Whether it’s Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, Steve Young, Brett Farve, or Tom Brady, the number of phenomenal quarterbacks who have made their impact on the game is immense. However, arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time is Peyton Manning, and he happens to still find his home in Denver, consistently shredding opposing defenses on a weekly basis. Earlier this season, Manning broke the record for total number of touchdown passes and currently has an astronomical number of 525 at the time of this writing. The statistical success that Manning has tallied in his career is astounding, and the Buffalo Bills are faced with the daunting task of slowing down Manning and the rest of the Denver Broncos in Denver this Sunday.
The biggest question for me heading into this contest is whether the Buffalo Bills can find ways to put pressure on Peyton Manning. Sure, the Bills have feasted on quarterbacks like Geno Smith and Mike Vick this season, but Peyton Manning and this high-powered Bronco offense is a completely different animal. The Bills defense still leads the NFL in sacks (with 46 currently), but they will need to find ways to get quick pressure on Manning due to the fact that he is capable of releasing the ball so quickly. If the likes of Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes and Marcell Dareus can consistently get in Manning’s face, then the Bills may be able to keep the bronco passing game somewhat in check. The Bills secondary will also have their hands full in this one trying to slow down Denver’s receivers, including Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas, and Wes Welker.
On the offensive side for the Bills, it will be interesting to see if Kyle Orton can continue to spread the ball to both Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. Woods is coming off a recent career game against the New York Jets and will take a lot of pressure of Watkins if he can continue to produce. The recent return of one of the Bills emotional leaders, Fred Jackson, has also sparked the Bills running game. The Broncos defense has been struggling of late, giving up 36 points to the Miami Dolphins, and 22 to the St. Louis Rams in recent weeks.
This will be the Bills toughest test of the season on the road in Denver. They are still fighting for their playoff lives and need to make a profound statement against one of the league’s best teams to stay alive. Making that statement will be tough to do against Peyton Manning, but it can be done. If the Bills bring their “A” game, and perform well in all three phases of the game, they can put themselves in a position to possibly steal one from the Broncos. Go Bills!