Patriots QB Tom Brady came out on top for the second straight year in the regular season meetup between him and Broncos QB Peyton Manning.
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It was only in September when the Patriots were counted out of being a legitimate Superbowl contender after getting walloped by the Kansas City Chiefs, but 5 straight wins (including a dominating victory over the Denver Broncos) later and the Patriots once again look like a Superbowl contender – as they have for every single year since 2001 since Tom Brady took over. There is no doubt that the Patriots (much like the Broncos admittedly) live and die by the play of their QB. But when Tom Brady is playing at his ceiling he is virtually unbeatable.
A franchise QB trumps all in the NFL and when you have not only one of the best QBs of this generation, but arguably the best winner of all-time starting for you, even the appearance of hitting rock bottom becomes only a mirage until the team wins again.
Here are the five best teams in the NFL heading into Week 10:
5. Indianapolis Colts – There are less than 10 teams in the NFL, let alone the AFC, that can stop the Colts when Andrew Luck gets going. If the defense can play as well against their remaining opponents as they did against the Giants, we are looking at a Superbowl contender.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Nick Foles may be out for the season, but the Eagles are in very capable hands with QB Mark Sanchez. Of all the backup QBs in football, Sanchez has had undoubtedly more success (and has a higher winning percentage) than any other in football.
3. Arizona Cardinals – Beating the Dallas Cowboys without Tony Romo certainly gave Arizona the win, but not one convincing enough to make them a top 2 team. This team is a Superbowl contender, but it still has to beat the Seahawks to win the division title.
2. New England Patriots – Tom Brady is a better QB than Peyton Manning and may even win the MVP this year, but the Patriots don’t have enough supporting talent to be the best team in the NFL just yet. There are still games to be played against the Chargers, Packers, Lions, and Colts before the only-slightly easier stretch of games against their AFC East rivals in December.
1. Denver Broncos – Just because Peyton Manning can’t beat Tom Brady in the regular season doesn’t mean that the Broncos aren’t still the best team in the NFL. With two more games against the winless Raiders and only two more games against Pro Bowl QBs, the Broncos could easily go undefeated the rest of the way and find themselves at home throughout the playoffs.