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Manning Bowl II: Upper hand for Eli?

9/17/2010

On Sunday night, it's Manning Bowl II as Peyton welcomes Eli to Indianapolis. The first time they met on the field was in 2006, the first game in NFL history that two quarterback brothers started for opposing teams.

So has little brother learned from big brother? Since then, Eli has gone on to win a Super Bowl -- a year after big brother Peyton won it, of course -- so the obvious answer is yes.

The numbers don't really agree. Since the two met that mid-September night four years ago, Eli hasn't been able to "keep up" with Peyton statistically. Starting with games that were played in the week after the Indianapolis Colts beat the New York Giants in 2006, Eli has matched Jay Cutler for the most interceptions in the NFL in that span with 64.

Eli Manning Career by Month

In Regular Season

Conversely, no quarterback has thrown for more touchdown passes in that same span than Peyton Manning (124). However Tom Brady might have something to say about that; he did miss almost all of the 2008 season and has only 21 fewer touchdown passes than Peyton over that time.

But here's why Eli might come out on top Sunday night. He has won nine consecutive starts in the month of September. That's the longest active win streak by a quarterback in the month -- four more than the next highest, which belongs to the current Super Bowl champion, Drew Brees.

It's no surprise that Eli has the September win streak. His numbers in that month are the best of any month in his career. Just two more TD passes and he'll have the most in any month in his career. And this Sunday night will be only his 19th career game in September. He's played in at least 21 games in the other months on the schedule.

Peyton Manning Comp Pct by Month

In Regular Season

For Peyton, September isn't necessarily his strongest time. It's his least prolific in terms of completion percentage and passing touchdowns. So that is just another feather in Eli's cap for when the brothers meet on the field, again on a Sunday night, but this time indoors in Indianapolis.

But winning is what matters most. A win by Eli Manning and the Giants will be off to their third straight 2-0 start. A loss by Peyton and the Colts and they will be 0-2 for the first time since 1998, Peyton's rookie season. Eli was just 17 years old that year and starring at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans. That year, Peyton would finish 3-13 as a rookie in the NFL while Eli would make his verbal commitment to Ole Miss.

The rest is and still is, history.