Last night, Peyton Manning was able to frustrate Kansas City’s defense and become the first team to score more than 17 points against them, as the Broncos won 27-17. You don’t have to wait very long for the next matchup of Hall of Fame quarterback versus top defense.
As a result of last night’s game, Carolina temporarily moves into the #1 spot in scoring defense, allowing 12.8 points per game. (I highlighted their win in San Francisco a week ago).
Brady, meanwhile, finally looked like the Tom Brady that we know, throwing four touchdown passes and over 400 yards against the Steelers. Getting Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back in the lineup helped, and it allowed Aaron Dobson to move into more of a supporting role as the deep threat. Tonight, New England also gets Shane Vereen back for the first time since week 1, and in that game he featured prominently in the short passing game.
Carolina cannot have what happened to Kansas City–no sacks–happen tonight. The strength of the defense is the front seven, with rushers Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, and with linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. This should be a game for Kuechly to shine, operating against the Patriots’ inside receivers and tight ends in the passing game. It should be fantastic. High fives all around.