The game also reminded us a little of the early themes to the Brady-Manning rivalry. Manning had the better fantasy stats with 345 yards and three touchdown throws. But a series of punts during the middle of the game let the Patriots run a fast-break offense, grab a big lead and ultimately hold on for dear life during a wild fourth quarter.
This Patriots squad is more complete than their No. 1 seeds of the last two years. Their defense isn't great, but the pass rush exists. The running game is improved. Brady doesn't have to carry the team every snap, but he has hit all the key third-down plays when needed.
Manning looks better than we expected early this season, but Brady is the one with a championship-level team around him.