Broncos star quarterback to go up against his old team in NFL week eight clash.
Peyton Manning, who has thrown 22 touchdowns in leading Denver to a 6-0 start, takes the Broncos to Indianapolis Sunday in what promises to be an emotional return to his former NFL home.
The quarterback himself, whose 14-season tenure in Indianapolis yielded four Most Valuable Player awards and a Super Bowl title in 2007, says he honestly doesn’t know how he’ll feel.
“Football is certainly an emotional game, but to predict how you will feel? I just don’t know.”
But the game — which will pit Manning against the young quarterback the Colts drafted as his successor in 2012, Andrew Luck — has already sparked plenty of feeling.
Broncos coach John Fox took Colts owner Jim Irsay to task for comments made to USA Today, in which Irsay said the decision to release Manning was an effort to build a team that could win more Super Bowls.
Irsay told the newspaper that seeing New England, Pittsburgh and the New York Giants rack up multiple Super Bowl wins as the Colts managed just one in Manning’s tenure “leaves you frustrated”.
Fox called the remarks “disappointing and inappropriate” but he wasn’t surprised that Manning opted not to comment.
“Peyton would never say anything, he’s too classy for that,” Fox said. “But they sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me for a guy that has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won division titles, won four MVP awards. I’d be thankful with that one Super Bowl ring because there’s a lot of people that don’t have one.”
Despite his ire, Fox said the pre-game hype would be meaningless on Sunday, when he expected Manning to be — as usual — at his best.
“He’s the most prepared player I think I’ve ever been around,” Fox said of Manning. “He’s going to stay focused. He’s not going to get involved in the circus.”
The Broncos can’t afford any letdown, with AFC West rivals Kansas City also off to a 6-0 start. It’s only the second time since the divisional structure was introduced in 1933 that two teams in the same division have started 6-0.
“Every win is a big win,” said Kansas City coach Andy Reid, whose chiefs host Houston on Sunday.
The Texans will be without injured quarterback Matt Schaub, who hurt his right ankle and departed in the third quarter of a loss to St. Louis last week.
Week seven opened Thursday night with NFC West leaders Seattle handing division foes Arizona a 34-22 defeat.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns, completing 18-of-29 passes and adding 29 rushing yards in the victory.
Marshawn Lynch racked up 91 yards and a score on 21 carries for the Seahawks, whose 6-1 start is a first in club history.
Other key matchups this week include the Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia in a duel for first place in the NFC East.
“The division games are big,” said Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, whose team notched a 31-16 win over division foes Washington last week.
“It’s a tough place to play,” he said of Philadelphia. “They’re playing tough football, so it’ll be a good test for us.”
The Eagles have won two straight after a 31-20 victory at Tampa Bay last week.
But they’ll be without quarterback Michael Vick, who Thursday ruled himself out as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
Nick Foles will get the starting nod, having completed 22 of 31 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns against Tampa Bay.
AFC North-leading Cincinnati face a tough test at Detroit.
The Lions are tied with Chicago atop the NFC North and will be aiming to beat an AFC opponent for the second straight week.
Other games this week see Tampa Bay at Atlanta, Chicago at Washington, New England at the New York Jets, Buffalo at Miami, St. Louis at Carolina, San Diego at Jacksonville, San Francisco at Tennessee, Cleveland at Green Bay, Baltimore at Pittsburgh and, on Monday, Minnesota at the New York Giants.