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Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Rivers preparing for first duel with Manning

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

For the first time in their NFL careers, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning will face each other Sunday in New York.

The two quarterbacks were the centerpieces of a draft-day trade in 2004 in which Rivers ended up in San Diego and Manning, who didn’t want to be in San Diego, was sent to the Giants. Rivers wasn’t starting when the two teams played in 2005 in San Diego.

Rivers will be on the field Sunday in one of the most anticipated individual matchups of the season. Rivers is looking forward to the meeting.

"The one thing I know and I know Eli knows, all the quarterbacks know, we're not playing one another out there,” Rivers told reporters this week. We’ve got plenty of other things to worry about on the defensive side of the ball we have to go against.

"But it is fun competing against another team led by a quarterback that you are linked to in many ways, especially being the same draft class."

This season, Rivers has thrown for 2,036 yards and 11 TDs, with four interceptions and a 95.9 rating. Manning has thrown for 1,855 yards and 13 TDs. He has thrown eight interceptions and has an 86.4 rating.

Rivers has become the face of the organization and become one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL. San Diego also acquired linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding, two key cogs, as a result of the trade.

The Chargers are clearly thrilled with the outcome of the trade that began with Manning’s reluctance of coming to Southern California. The Giants, though, aren’t complaining, either. Even though he has been inconsistent at time Manning was a major reason why the team won the Super Bowl after the 2007 season.

This trade has truly been truly a win-win for the teams. But Sunday one team will get the edge, at least, for the day.

Rivers and Manning are two thirds of a terrific draft class that includes Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. Manning was taken No. 1. Rivers was taken No. 4 and Roethlisberger was taken 11th.