• Peyton Manning
  • Denver Broncos
  • Broncos 34, Saints 14
  • 22-for-30, 305 YD, 3 TD, 0 INT
  • Watch Highlights
  • Matthew Stafford
  • Detroit Lions
  • Lions 28, Seahawks 24
  • 34-for-49, 352 YD, 3 TD, 1 INT
  • Watch Highlights

The Pregame Pressure

Peyton Manning had a lot of pressure on his shoulders heading into the Denver Broncos' Sunday night clash with the New Orleans Saints. A win would put the Broncos in sole possession of first place in the AFC West, while a loss would leave them in a three-way tie with the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. Also, the Saints' explosive offense was expected to put up a lot of points in this game, meaning Manning and Co. would have to match potentially prolific production.

Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions were in desperate need of a victory against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon. A win would help stabilize the season, while a loss would drop the Lions into a very deep hole. Stafford has been heavily criticized for his poor play in 2012; he needed a solid performance to help get the Detroit offense back on track. The Seahawks' defense is very difficult to run against, putting even more pressure on the Lions' signal-caller.

The In-Game Performance

Manning played a nearly flawless game as the Broncos easily defeated the Saints, 34-14. Manning completed 73.3 percent of his passes for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. He didn't turn the ball over and didn't take a single sack. He produced four touchdown drives, two of which covered more than 90 yards. Manning was aided by a dominant Denver running game that produced 225 rushing yards.

Stafford was outstanding in the Lions' 28-24 win over the Seahawks. This was by far his best game of the 2012 season. He completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. He led the offense on an impressive 16-play, 80-yard scoring drive that culminated in the game-winning touchdown pass to Titus Young with just 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. His only blemish was a third-quarter interception.

The Post-Game Pick

It's hard to go against Manning, but I do believe Stafford had the more impressive performance. Stafford played against a defense that was far better than the Saints' unit and didn't have the benefit of a dominant running game. The Lions' season was on the line in this game, and Stafford delivered, making several key plays on their game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. -- Daniel Jeremiah