In my Week 1 picks, I called the game between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers the tossup of the week, thanks to Peyton Manning and his questionable health. There was doubt the man would ever play a game again a season ago, so it was certainly not a smart bet to take the Broncos over Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
Then Manning came out and completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns, with no picks. Demaryius Thomas had five grabs for 110 yards on the day, and the Broncos walked out of there with a dominating 31-19 victory. There will still be question marks surrounding Manning and his neck, but for now, he's true to his usual form.
And for the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, that's certainly not a good thing. Without the Manning factor, the Monday Night Football matchup between the Raiders and Chargers would likely be considered the first battle for the AFC West. It's always been the Broncos as a question mark, the Chargers as the favorites who might be slipping, and the Raiders who might just put everything together.
Well, the Broncos have done a lot to take away that question mark and now the pressure is on. Monday's game will not only be a test to see which of these two break out, but it will be the first look at who is going to compete with the new-look Broncos. Manning went out there on Sunday night and made a statement - which one of these two teams will do the same?