If not for a recent turn of events, Sunday would have marked seventeenth time Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have faced off since 2001. There's much that we'll miss about the Manning-Brady rivalry, but this week will perhaps mark the beginning of a new rivalry: Brady v. Brock.
Talking to the media on Wednesday, Brady had only positive things to say about Manning.
"There's nobody that has more respect for Peyton than me outside of probably his parents and his brothers. If anybody can appreciate what he's accomplished it's me, so he's just been remarkable in every part of his career. He's been a tremendous player. It's unfortunate [that he's hurt]," Brady said, according to a transcript on the Patriots' website.
Brady then alluded to Manning's replacement, Brock Osweiler, without mentioning him by name.
"They won last week with the guy that they had in there," Brady said, without making any additional references to Osweiler. He stressed that Denver's defense has been his main focus.
"I think their defense is a huge—they've been as good as any defense in the league."
On Monday, Buffalo sacked Brady only once, but he was frequently knocked down and was held to just one touchdown pass and threw an interception. The Patriots won 20-13, but the Bills may have exposed New England's venerability on offense.
Denver's defense ranks first in yards allowed per game this season (284.3), first in sacks (34), and eleventh in interceptions (10). Brady has good reason to focus on the 3-4 unit.
"It's been a short week. It's been a day and a half, and I've focused all my attention on that defense and trying to figure out a way for us to move the ball a little bit."