AFC West: 2013 Week 2 QB Watch AFC

QB Watch: Broncos' Peyton Manning

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
1:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Denver Broncos' quarterback play.

Rewind: Those who know him say there is no question that Peyton Manning takes almost no joy in facing his younger brother, Eli, in a game and Sunday’s meeting was the third time it’s happened in the pair’s NFL careers. And in the end Peyton's effort was a no-frills, workmanlike affair as he finished 30-of-43 passing for 307 yards and two touchdowns. He called it "strange."

Manning
Fast-forward: Raiders coach Dennis Allen, a former Broncos defensive coordinator, has his defense tied for the league lead in sacks (nine) after two games. And while the late Al Davis was never a big fan of blitzing to get to opposing quarterbacks, half of the Raiders' sacks this season have come from defensive backs, so Manning figures to get pressure from all over the formation with backup left tackle Chris Clark set to start for the injured Ryan Clady.

Patience a virtue: The Giants were determined to take away the big play in the passing game and consistently dropped their linebackers deep and kept at least one safety well downfield -- the Giants had just six defenders in the box on Knowshon Moreno’s first touchdown run. So Manning took the short-and-sweet approach, with 18 of his completions in the game going for 10 or fewer yards. He had 11 completions of between 11 and 20 yards and just one -- a 36-yarder to Andre Caldwell on the Broncos’ first possession -- of more than 30 yards.

Prediction: Manning, with nine touchdowns in two games, has already proved he is willing to pick away at a defense if he has to, so Allen figures to be a little more aggressive, especially on Clark’s side of the formation. So the Broncos will pick up the pace on offense and test the Raiders' ability to get everybody in the right spot.

QB Watch: Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
1:30
PM ET
A weekly analysis of the Raiders’ quarterback play.

Pryor
Rewind: Terrelle Pryor was not the electric playmaker against Jacksonville he was in the Raiders’ season opener at Indianapolis. Then again, he did not have to be. Not with running back Darren McFadden taking over and rushing for 129 yards. Oh sure, Pryor broke off a 27-yard run against the Jaguars, but he was more in game-manager mode in completing 15 of 24 passes for a relatively pedestrian 126 yards. What was huge for him, though, was this: no turnovers.

Fast-forward: Against the Colts, Pryor was 1-for-7 on passes of at least 20 yards. Against the Jags, he was 2-for-6 on passes of more than 10 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. The Broncos don’t figure to let him beat them with deep passes either. They just picked off New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning four times and would love to dare Pryor to beat them downfield after Manning was just 1-for-7 on throws of more than 20 yards. Per ESPN Stats & Information, Denver is averaging twice as many passes defended or intercepted per game this season (5.0) than last year (2.5) when rushing four or fewer player. That allows the Broncos to spy on Pryor and his running game as well.

Feeling the pressure: Against Jacksonville, Pryor was pressured 12 times in his 31 drop-backs, per PFF, and he was sacked three times, took off running four times and threw five passes, with three completions and two balls thrown away.

Prediction: The bright lights of "Monday Night Football" and competing against a future Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning will have Pryor antsy. How well he handles his nerves will go a long way in determining his personal success, even if the Raiders’ fortunes ultimately reside on the defensive side of the ball.

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