Denver Broncos  

 

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos defy logic, doubters with start

I was wrong. I was really wrong. I made a huge mistake.

It's not that I question the logic behind my preseason prediction that Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos were closer to a 10-win team than a juggernaut. My issue, my faux pas, my grotesque flub was applying logic at all.

What a silly, silly concept. I'm a silly, silly man.

Manning and the Broncos defy logic. They laugh in the face of logic. They're a flawless 4-0 while punching logic in the mouth.

I'm so foolish. I thought Denver would be in a feeling-out process because Wes Welker was nicked in the preseason and needed to get acclimated. I'm so naïve. I thought Denver would at least appear to be stuck in the mud with injuries on the offensive line. I'm so clueless. I thought Denver would at least stumble slightly with three flawed running backs and nobody to feature.

Yeah, not so much. Welker has six touchdown catches, the offensive line has allowed just five sacks and the ground attack has averaged 119.2 yards per game.

                                  

Peyton Manning

   

We're also witnessing history being made. Manning has thrown 16 touchdown passes, the most for any quarterback through the first four games of an NFL season. He hasn't thrown an interception.

Want more? Pick a nugget of domination. Any nugget of domination.

On Sunday, Manning bedeviled the Philadelphia Eagles' junior-varsity "defense" for 327 yards and four touchdowns -- also known as another day at the office. And he didn't even play in the fourth quarter of the 52-20 win.

Manning has thrown for 6,129 yards and 53 TDs in his first 20 games with the Broncos. Those count as the most by an NFL player in his first 20 games with a team.

The Broncos have won 15 consecutive regular-season games by at least seven points. That's the second-longest such streak in NFL history, trailing only the 1941-42 Chicago Bears, who did it for 16.

The 2013 Broncos are off to the greatest start ever. It's not hyperbole. It's fact. And it's even more impressive when you watch them.

The Broncos looked like they were playing against air -- or at least like they were in a glorified scrimmage -- against the Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Eagles. Manning is locked in, even by his "Mount Rushmore of Quarterbacks in NFL History" status. Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas give him the ability to pose diverse matchup problems all over the field for opposing defenders.

Here's what's scary: It's more than just the offense doing it for Denver.

I'm such a dope. I actually thought the Broncos' defense would miss suspended linebacker Von Miller, an elite pass rusher whom I called one of the nine most indispensable defenders in the league. He and 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) haven't played this season. And Denver hasn't missed a beat.

The linebackers are flying around and making key stops. The pass rush is solid. The defensive backs are far from liabilities.

Here's what's really, truly unfair: Denver has great special teams, too!

The Broncos scored two special-teams touchdowns in Sunday's bludgeoning of the Eagles. Trindon Holliday had a 105-yard kickoff return, demoralizing Philly. Steven Johnson blocked a punt and scooped it up for a TD. And what the heck: For good measure, Matt Prater nailed a field goal from 53 yards, improving to 6 of 6 this season.

Here's what's even scarier: The Broncos only will get better.

This is where I dangerously apply logic. John Madden said on our SiriusXM Radio show before the season opener that Manning, ever the perfectionist, takes a while to warm up and plays his best football in the second half of the season. Manning's old coach, Tony Dungy, said the same thing Sunday on NBC's "Football Night in America."

Scary. But true.

The Manning-Welker chemistry will be better. The 15th-ranked run game can improve. Von Miller will walk through that door in Week 7.

So now the conversation shifts to one very important question: Can Manning and the Broncos be stopped?

They have the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6. Will they win 73-0 and match the NFL record? Will they just rest their starters? Have I lost my mind?


Thousands shared stories telling us why they love football in a contest to win a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. We chose 10 finalists. Now you choose the winners.

I'm not going to put you to sleep by listing Denver's remaining opponents. You'd say "win" next to every one.

Look at the landscape in the AFC.

The Houston Texans are loaded, but as I wrote during the preseason, Matt Schaub is the single most important player in the NFL in determining whether his team will sink or swim. Sunday's collapse at home was Titanic-esque. There's a cap on how far the Cincinnati Bengals can go with Andy Dalton, who's 0-2 in the playoffs. The Ravens haven't formed an identity. The Indianapolis Colts are strong with Andrew Luck. The Tennessee Titans are a great story, although Jake Locker could be out awhile with a hip injury. The Kansas City Chiefs are legit with their new coach, quarterback and defense. The New England Patriots are the New England Patriots.

They can't beat the Broncos right now. Or down the road.

I'm done with logic. I'm done with rational thought. Manning and the Broncos are historically the best. And I believe they only will get better.

Bag it, logic.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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