The buildup all week is to set up this Brady/Manning match-up as "Round 15", implying that the winner of this encounter decides once and for all the argument over who is the better QB. The media wants it this way because it knows that Brady holds a commanding 10-4 edge in head to head match-ups, has a much better record in playoff play than Manning (Brady is 18-7, while Peyton is 10-11), and leads in SB rings, 3-1. It sees an opportunity here, because the Broncos are perceived as a much better team than the Patriots, and are playing at home. So, the story will go as follows:
1.) Broncos Win: Whether deserved or not, Peyton will receive the lion's share of the credit for the win, and will be declared the better QB over Brady. Peyton will be hailed as the greatest, most cerebral QB of all-time. After all, Peyton was the winner of "Round 15"!!
2.) Patriots Win: If the unthinkable occurs, and the Pats somehow overcome Manning, the refs, and home field advantage, the credit will grudgingly go to BB for the win. All week long, the theme to explain away Brady's better head to head and playoff record has been that Brady played on better teams, with better defenses, had BB as his coach, with a dash of "spygate" thrown into the mix. So, the media's concocted excuse for Manning will be that once again the fatal flaw of another great Peyton team was it's defense...having to play without Von Miller, and it's top CB, Chris Harris. Further blame will be laid at the feet of head coach John Fox, who will be said to have been outcoached by the evil emperor underneath the hoodie.
Folks...the bottom line here is that the media has picked it spot for the final match-up, in which Peyton holds all of the advantages. The Broncos are pretty heavily favored (when was the last time that the Patriots took the field in a playoff game as underdogs...let alone 5.5 point dogs??). The Broncos shattered the offensive records of the 2007 Patriots...and are being perceived as a "dream team" offense.
So...my recommendation to Tom Brady and the Pats is to go old school. Harken back to what it was like in 2001, and come out and play as a team. Be physical and be determined. For Tom personally, harken back to the 2000 draft when you were the 199th overall pick. Harken back to being doubted when compared to the likes of the six QBs chosen ahead on you that year, and to Drew Henson having been "The Peoples Choice" at Michigan. Think about the QB controversy with Drew Bledsoe. Think about facing up against "The Greatest Show on Turf" which, in some ways, is similar to this Denver team. Think about having to win those tough championship games in Pittsburgh. You will never have a greater opportunity to silence the critics and haters, than today, Tom. Just sling it, young man.