All eyes have been on Peyton Manning this season after his incredible season-opener game against the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, in which he threw seven TD’s in a rout. The comparisons to Tom Brady’s 2007 campaign to an undefeated regular season were drawn almost immediately, but can Peyton match Brady’s record year? Peyton has thrown for over 500 yards more than Brady through the first 10 games of the season, but Brady usually isn’t on the top when it comes to passing yards. This year, the Broncos 3.6 yards-per-rush average ranks 28th in the league while the 2007 Patriots ranked 10th in the league with 4.6 yards-per-rush. This has forced Peyton to account for over 78% of his teams total yards while Brady only accounted for 70%.
Yardage aside, the main statistic that people are curious about is Brady’s 2007 record of 50 TD passes. To reach this, Peyton has to throw an average of over 3 TD passes each game. He has 34 TDs as of week 11, and is 16 shy of Brady’s record. In the remaining six games he needs to throw an average of 2.6 TD’s, which seems reasonable for him. On the other hand, the remaining teams that he will face have only surrendered an average of 1.4 passing TD’s per game. He only threw one passing TD against the Chiefs this past week and will play them again in two weeks, but this time in Kansas City. This rematch setting and the potential loss of Wes Welker could impact Peyton’s TD production.
Another key fact to recognize is that Tom Brady played in all 16 games, and completed the full final game against the New York Giants to seal the perfect season. Peyton does not have a perfect season to play for in the final week and he has already shown in the past that he is not motivated by statistics. If the Broncos have already locked up the #1 seed, then he may be inclined to sit for some, if not all, of the final game against Oakland and heal up for the playoffs. If this is the case, it would make the task of reaching 50 TD’s even harder with a shorter season. Then again, if the Broncos and Chiefs are still in a tight competition for the #1 seed where the loser would fall to the #5 seed (assuming another division leader doesn’t overtake them), you can guarantee Peyton will play the full 60 minutes to give his team every change to win and lock up the bye week. This would obviously give him added incentive to keep throwing and potentially beat Brady’s record.
In conclusion, he has a good chance to beat Brady’s record, but based on the remaining defenses he will face and the past history of Peyton resting in the final game, it seems unlikely he will break it. He may come very close and even tie the record, but unless he has another monster game, it looks like Brady’s record will stay intact for at least another year.