The stat you’ll see over and over again. 9-11. Not the number you call if there is trouble. No, that is Peyton Manning’s playoff record. 9 wins, 11 losses. One more loss, and it will be the most in the NFL playoff history.
I believe we should ignore that. Or if you can’t, let’s present it in a different light. I think 11 is actually somewhat of a compliment. Hear me out.
Brett Favre and Manning have lost 11 playoff games. Dan Marino has lost 10. Jim Kelly 8. Brady, Montana, Elway, Moon, and McNabb 7 each.
Is that a bad group to be a part of? Of course not. You have to be damn good to keep getting your team to the playoffs, even in years where they aren’t good enough to win the Super Bowl.
Okay, so I think that is a check-mark in favor of Manning making the case to be the best quarterback ever.
So what doesn’t work for him?
8 of the 11 games he lost, his team was favored. 5 were at home. 1 was a neutral site Super Bowl. One road game they were a slight favorite at Miami early in his career and lost in OT, and the other was a 13-3 Colts team playing at a 8-8 Chargers team where they also lost in OT.
That hurts. Maybe you didn’t have the best team in the league, but you were supposed to win those games. Or at least not go 3-8.
8 times, Manning’s team has been knocked out in their first game. 4 of those times they lost after having a first round bye.
9 of his 11 playoff losses his team was held to 18 points or less.
Can’t lie, those numbers blur the picture on Manning’s greatness quite a bit. At least as he compares to Montana, Brady, and others that won more in the postseason. He has only a few chances left to change some of those perceptions about his and his team’s performances on the playoff stage.
SAN DIEGO +10 @ DENVER
The Chargers are red-hot. Are they? 5 straight wins. Okay. But they beat the Giants, the Raiders, and a Chiefs team that sat out their stars. They did win at Denver though in that streak. Of course the Broncos were without some of their players on a short week. Rivers might be 6-2 at Denver in his career, but he is 1-1 against Manning. These Broncos are different. Their antennas are up. Not only did they lose to the Chargers, but they lost last year in this same spot at the top seed. They’ll be ready.
INDIANAPOLIS +7.5 @ NEW ENGLAND
All the talk this week is usually about the teams that won in Wild Card Weekend. It’s fresh on the mind. Let me point out a few things about the team that didn’t play. The Pats were 8-0 at home this year. They lost 4 games total. They lost them all on the final possession of the game. Their rushing totals the last 2 weeks: 267 and 142. Oh, and they have Tom Brady. Andrew Luck is going to have an amazing career, but he doesn’t have the team around him to win this week.
NEW ORLEANS +9 @ SEATTLE
When they met a month ago the Seahawks held Drew Brees to his lowest passing yardage total (147) since 2006! Seattle won 34-7. So what would make anyone think the Seahawks aren’t at least a touchdown better? Great question. Shouldn’t this spread be bigger? I like Seattle a lot, but really think we are looking at a close game in the 4th quarter that the Saints will have a chance to win. Vegas is begging me to give the points. I’ll pass.
SAN FRANCISCO -1 @ CAROLINA
Love both defenses. Both quarterbacks are going to take a beating, but should make plays with their legs. I just think the difference is the Niners will have Crabtree and Davis for the entire game against the Panthers unlike last time they met. Over/Under on this game is set at 41. Panthers point totals counting backward: 41, 30, 50, 44, 33, 36, 44, 19, 44, 44, 45, 28, 38, 47, and 19. You can see why. It seems square to go low, but in their toughest games, that is what happened. Carolina meanwhile may not have anybody to throw to for Newton on top of it. They’ll get to address that in the offseason.
Straight up 3-1
Against the spread 2-1-1