Ed Barkowitz: Brady-Manning rivalry resumes this weekend

Posted: October 05, 2012

BOXING HAD Ali-Frazier. Hockey had Gretzky-Lemieux. Philadelphia has citizens-parking authority.

When it comes to great individual NFL rivalries, Tom Brady-Peyton Manning is at the top of any recent list. On Sunday (4:25 p.m., CBS3), they will meet for the 13th time and the first since Manning traded one horse jersey (Colts) for another (Broncos).

They are this generation's top two quarterbacks. Sure, Eli Manning has more rings than his older brother, but it's hard to put Eli (or Ben Roethlisberger, for that matter) into the Brady-Peyton Manning stratosphere.

Although the two quarterbacks don't actually face each other, it's still fun to recollect and anticipate when their teams play. Brady's Patriots have won eight of the 12 meetings, including three of four in the postseason. Big advantage, Brady.

Brady, 35, is a little more than a year younger than Manning. He has two 300-yard games, 22 touchdown passes and 12 picks when he faced Manning's Colts. Manning had six 300-yarders, 24 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in the 12 games against Brady's Pats. Slight advantage, Manning.

But more relevant, especially for fantasy fans, is that Brady threw for 363 yards and six touchdowns against the Broncos in the playoffs last year. Three weeks before that, he had 320 yards and two scores in a regular-season game. While Brady was roasting Denver's secondary, Manning was recovering from a neck injury that kept him out all season.

Advantage, as usual, Mr. Bundchen.

In an odd twist, Manning's center this week is Dan Koppen, who spent his first nine seasons with the Patriots. Koppen was pressed into duty after J.D. Walton broke his ankle last week. Koppen was released by the Patriots at the end of training camp and signed with the Broncos 3 weeks ago.

"It seems like it has always come down to the end against [Manning]," Brady said. "When he was playing for the Colts, it was always close games."

This week's contest

What will be the combined total of passing yards for Peyton Manning and Tom Brady? Whichever reader comes closest wins a Daily News fantasy football T-shirt. In case of a tie, one winner will be chosen randomly.

Email guesses to FantasyFootball@phillynews.com or fax them to 215-854-5524 by 4 p.m. Sunday. Winner will be announced next Friday.

Position watch

Quarterbacks: Drew Brees, who last week tied Johnny Unitas' record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass, can set the mark Sunday. Brees has more than 4,000 passing yards during the 47-game span compared to Unitas, but Johnny U threw 593 fewer passes. Unitas won two NFL championships in the span, Brees one . . . Not that it's fair, but Michael Vick's longest career streak with either a touchdown pass or run is 10 games . . . Jay Cutler is a decent play this week at Jacksonville, which has a league-low two sacks. Like most NFL quarterbacks, Cutler will carve up defenses that can't generate pressure.

Running backs: San Fran's Brandon Jacobs is close to returning from the knee injury he suffered in training camp. He ran sprints earlier in the week and is just waiting for medical clearance. Jacobs could be a threat to Frank Gore's goal-line carries . . . Rashard Mendenhall ought to be scooped up for those with RB issues (like me). Neither Jonathan Dwyer nor Isaac Redman made much of a claim for the Steelers starting job, while Mendy was laid up with an ACL tear.

Wide receivers: Jeremy Kerley figures to get some more reps with Santonio Holmes (foot) lost for the season. But unless they bring back Joe Namath, no Jets wide receiver will have any consistent fantasy value . . . Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter says a hand injury is to blame for Julio Jones having a quiet Sunday. Jones had only one catch, but was targeted eight times . . . Green Bay's Greg Jennings (pulled groin) could be out for a few weeks, making James Jones a hot commodity again. After consecutive one-catch games, Randall Cobb had seven on Sunday and also should be on rosters of 10-team leagues or more.

Wager of the week

The Titans are missing their starting quarterback (Jake Locker), could be without their top receiver (Kenny Britt), and visit the Vikings, whose defense is tied for seventh in fewest rushing yards allowed (85.2).

If Chris Johnson follows up his 141-yard effort from last week with another 100-yard game, I will write a $50 check to Toys for Tots. Johnson, a consensus top-10 fantasy pick, had 45 rushing yards total before busting out against the Texans.

FANTASY ISLAND

Triviality

Sunday's matchup will be the first game in NFL history that the two opposing quarterbacks each have at least 300 career touchdown passes. The top five all-time: Brett Favre (508), Dan Marino (420), Peyton Manning (407), Fran Tarkenton (342) and Tom Brady (307).

FROM THE CHAT

Q: Who should I put in for flex: Britt, Hixon or McGahee?

A: Definitely not Britt, he may not play. I'd roll the dice with Hixon.

Q: Romo is on a bye this week (thank God). Should I start Schaub or drop him and add Andy Dalton vs Miami?

A: Lot of folks want to play Andy Dalton. Guess the Dolphins defense will do that. In this case, and I know Schaub isn't Facing revis, but I'd still go with Dalton. Miami is 30th against the pass.

Q: Is there going to be any fall out from the MNF disaster for Dez Bryant? Any chance Romo doesn't give him as many targets moving forward?

A: I doubt it. It's all on Dez. If he is open, Romo will throw him the ball.

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Look for the fantasy chat with Ed Barkowitz and philly.com producer Matt Mullin each Thursday at noon. For a full transcript of this week's chat, visit philly.com/FantasyChat.

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Ed Barkowitz, who is a little salty because he had Chris Johnson on his bench last week, has been writing about fantasy football since 2001. Contact him at fantasyfootball@phillynews.com.

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