Greeson: Peyton Manning's play has Broncos near the top

Greeson: Peyton Manning's play has Broncos near the top

September 25th, 2013 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, 18, directs running back Knowshon Moreno, 27, at the line of scrimmage against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter of an NFL football game in Denver.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

You know what, that Peyton Manning, he's pretty good at this tackle football stuff.

Wow, Manning was 32-of-37 in Denver's Monday night win over Oakland, and according to the stats gurus, even the five incompletions were either defended passes or drops. That means, all 37 of Manning's throws were on target. Here's saying maybe a third of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL could not throw 37 consecutive on-target passes in 11-on-0 drills.

Not surprisingly, with Manning playing as well as ever - which is pretty amazing considering he's 37 and not too far removed from missing an entire season while recovering from neck surgery - the Denver Broncos are among the best teams in the league.

NFL's top five teams

1. .Seattle: The Seahawks have the league's best defense, the league's best home-field advantage and the league's best scoring differential. Add that up and you're staring at a team that's going to be tough to keep out of the Super Bowl.

2. Denver: Tuesday night ESPN debuted its documentary on the Manning family, football's first family. Through the first three weeks of the season, Peyton Manning has been putting on a weekly clinic, throwing for 12 TDs and leading the Broncos to a perfect start.

3. New Orleans: This bunch looks motivated after last year's wasted season because of BountyGate. The Saints welcome Miami to the Superdome for a Monday night game that looked like a stinker before the season but is a match-up of 3-0 teams.

4. New England: Tom Brady's band of merry receivers and collection of can-you-name-that-guy is staggering. OK, let's see if you can recall the colleges of New England's top four receivers, the unimpressive quartet of Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins? If you guessed Kent State, Marshall, Texas Tech and Cincinnati, respectively, you were correct. (And you looked it up.)

5. Chicago: The Bears have a top-10 defense against the run but will have to do without defensive tackle Henry Melton, who tore his ACL against the Steelers on Sunday night. Side note: There has not been a lot of Jay Cutler belly-aching lately, which tells us the uniform baseline truth in sports - winning cures everything.

Bottom five

28. Pittsburgh: Let the record show that the Steelers are bad. And, while we are quick to say you can't win in the NFL without a good quarterback, you can't win in the NFL with only a good quarterback, either. That's magnified by the Steelers and the Giants - teams with multiple-Super-Bowl-winning QBs - being among the league's dregs.

29. Tampa Bay: This is like the Yankees and the Celtics being good. Sports just seems more in balance when the Tampa Bay Bucs stink.

30. Giants: The debut of the Manning documentary shows all three of the Manning brothers growing up in New Orleans. We know that Peyton is putting on a clinic. Well, little brother Eli's play so far ranks somewhere between a noogie and a wet willie on the enjoyment scale. He's one more stink bomb from getting into wedgie territory.

31. Minnesota: Granted, the Jags are the worst team in the league, but the Vikings are not going down without a fight. Consider the following: The Vikings lost at home to a Cleveland team that was reeling after management pulled a Rachel Phelps and dealt their best player. Also, how bad must Christian Ponder be if he is completing less than 60 percent of his throws with five picks and only two TDs through three games, considering he is throwing with every defensive player in the building looking at stud duck running back Adrian Peterson? Seriously, can we practice a play-action pass?

32. Jacksonville: Want to know the most misleading team stat in the NFL? How about passing yards allowed? The Jags are in the top 10 against the pass because they are 0-3 and have lost by an average of 21.3 points per game. So teams do not need to pass against the Jags, a fact made even clearer because the Jags are dead last against the run.