Brady/Manning XIII is on the horizon. Does this match-up still get you excited? Is Peyton Manning still Brady's biggest rival, or does that title belong to another QB?
Stephen: There will never be another quarterback who rivals Tom on the same level as Peyton — except his younger brother. Peyton should go down as one of, if not the best, quarterback of all time. However, I think the two Super Bowl losses to the Giants gives Eli the edge right now in terms of a rivalry. Brady has beaten Peyton time and time again, but he's down 0-2 against Eli. That needs to change.
Jason: I don't think Peyton is even Brady's biggest rival among members of his own family. Eli has three straight victories over Brady and narrowly missed out on ruining New England's run at 16-0. And even though Joe Flacco is a pretty meh quarterback, you could make the case for him being a bigger rival than Peyton as well. Manning-Brady will still be a great matchup this time around, and I'm excited in that sense. But the days of this matchup deciding which team makes the Super Bowl are over.
Raj: I am very excited for this matchup. I grew up watching Brady and Manning duel it out. Recent years, Peyton has had a slight edge but it'll still be really interesting to see how he fares against the Pats with his new Broncos teammates. I am also nervous about this because Peyton has the skill to scare the Patriots despite who he plays with and Denver has a pretty good offense. He will always be Brady's rival. Matt Schaub and Joe Flacco are the other AFC Elite QBs but they don't have anything to do with Brady and any QB on the Jets isn't even worth comparing. So this should be a very very interesting match Sunday evening.
Derek: I'm excited for today's game, but moreso because the Patriots are playing a playoff-caliber team and have a shot to get a winning-streak going than the fact that Peyton Manning is returning to Foxboro. Those epic Colts/Patriots battles were whole-team affairs that went beyond the big-name QB's. There was often critical post-season positioning and championships on the line. Today's contest pales in comparison.
In terms of the rivalry though, I'm going to have to throw some cold water on this steamy Brady/Eli rivalry. The two Super Bowls aside, you simply can't have a fierce rivalry when you play a team once every four years. Just like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees aren't considered Brady's rivals, I don't think you can throw Eli in that boat either. Keep in mind that the Giants defense played a much larger role in thwarting Brady than anything Eli did. Right now, I don't think there's any true QB rival for Brady in the AFC, so the default setting goes to Manning for historic purposes. That could change though depending on how Brady's Week 10 matchup with Matt Schaub goes and if the Pats and Texans meet in the playoffs.